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(Above: Museum Director Clinton G. Abbott photographing floral display in the early 1920s.)

Photographic materials held in the San Diego Natural History Museum Research LIbrary include prints, 35 mm slides, lantern slides, glass negatives, and videos, mostly from the time period 1918–1980. A small but significant number of prints are collected in photograph albums.

Historic Photo Albums Collection

The research library holds a collection of photo albums prepared by museum staff. Most of the photographs in the albums date from the 1920s.   The albums contain black and white or sepia prints, with an average of four prints per page, richly captioned, describing the work of the museum's naturalists throughout the region.  Following are titles and brief descriptions of some of these captioned albums. Note that the photo albums constitute only a fraction of the library's collection of photographs.

(Left: Clinton G. Abbott standing on Laurence M. Huey's back while he photographs the nest of a Desert Thrasher.)



Scenes in Lower California, Mexico

(135 pages) 1923–1926, 1936.

Includes trips by Laurence M. HueyClinton G. Abbott, and others, to Sierra San Pedro Martir, Sierra Juarez, Santo Domingo, San Felipe, and Scammon Lagoon.

Guadalupe Island and scenes en route

(45 pages) 1923–1926

Includes July 1923, August 1924 and June 1926 trips to Guadalupe Island. The August 1924 trip is particularly well-documented.

1924 A Trip to Guadalupe, the Isle of My Boyhood Dreams. Natural History, 24:5: Sept-Oct., 1924, pp. 578-588.
1924 Recent Observations on the Northern Elephant Seal. Jour. Mamm. 5:4: Nov. 1924, pp. 237-242.
1925 Guadalupe Island–An Object Lesson in Man-caused Devastation. Science, 61:1581, Apr. 17, 1925, pp. 405-407.
1925 Late Information of the Guadalupe Island Elephant Seal Herd. Jour. Mamm. 6:2: May 1925, pp. 126-127.
1927 The Latest Northern Elephant Seal Census. Jour. Mamm.8:2: May, 1927, pp. 160-161.
1930 Past and Present Status of the Northern Elephant Seal, with a note on the Guadalupe Fur Seal. Jour. Mamm., 11:2: May, 1930, pp. 188-194.
1930 Capture of an Elephant Seal off San Diego, California, with notes on Stomach Contents. Jour. Mamm., 11:2: May, 1930, pp. 229-231.
1930 Digging their Graves with their Teeth. How the Goats introduced by Whalers on Guadalupe Island are eating their way toward extermination. [Popular account of conditions on Island] Touring Topics, 22:6: June, 1930, p. 30.

Scenes on Coronado Islands, Mexico

(22 pages) 1924–1925

Includes  trips to the Coronado Islands in 1924 and a trip to San Clemente Island, California, 1925.

Whaling scenes

(17 pages) 1926

A trip to Trinidad Whaling Station, Humboldt County, California. July 12–Aug 31, 1926. Includes pictures of the Trinidad coast, the whaling boat and activities, black-footed albatross, fin-backed whale, and California gray whale.

Scenes in country other than Lower California, including plant studies, scenes showing Museum's truck and staff collecting specimens

(84 pages) 1923–1926

Includes Bard, California; Laguna Dam, Colorado River and Picacho, Imperial County, California; mountains, bridges, dams, Thousand Palm Canyon, San Diego County.

Museum truck on San Felipe Trail at the edge of the desert and Mr. Fleming with a century plant. May 6-7, 1922.

Guy L. Fleming loading Museum truck with plants. April, 1923.

William J. Gillette, Billy Gillette and Guy L. Fleming, with the Museum truck, collecting accessories on Palomar Mountain for the Elk group. September, 1923.

Preparing specimens near Bard, California. From left to right: Professor Gallegos, Mrs. May Canfield and Laurence M. Huey. May, 1924.

Image Collection on Flickr

The Research Library's collection of digital images on is a selection from our collection, representing a fraction of our total holdings. Our goal is to introduce the public to the Museum's photograph collection by making low-resolution images available for research, education, and public re-use. High-resolution images may be ordered for personal and commercial use for a small fee. Please contact the Research Library for more information or download the digital image order form (PDF).