On Her Own Terms: Annie Montague Alexander and the Rise of Science in the American West

By Barbara R. Stein | Go to book overview

22
Fieldwork–The Later Years

Alexander and Kellogg's trip to central Nevada in the winter of 1926–27 was the first in a series of extended collecting expeditions that continued until Grinnell's death in 1939. The trips varied in length from one to six months and in the types of specimens that the women sought to collect. At Grinnell's suggestion Alexander and Kellogg now focused on building up the museum's collection of topotypes—specimens from localities from which new taxa had been previously described—based on the belief that such material contributed to the MVZ's independence and resourcefulness as a research institution. Those trips were of inestimable value in strengthening the museum's collections. Succeeding years saw ever-increasing habitat destruction throughout the western United States and, with it, loss of access to historical patterns of species' distributions and natural history. Coupled with the women's field notes and photographs, each specimen collected documented the occurrence of a given taxon and added insight into its habits. 1

At the outset, neither Alexander nor Grinnell quite anticipated the difficulty involved in such a quest. Much of the land in the western United States had come under cultivation in the twenty to thirty years since the animals they sought had first been described. How were they to find suitable habitats in which to place their traps? Alexander was both disturbed and astounded at the almost complete lack of natural vegetation in some regions they visited, particularly in northern Utah. Other areas exhibited perturbation as a result of grazing by sheep and cattle, or by humans. In 1931 she and Kellogg wrote to Edna from El Paso, Texas: “Types [type specimens] of a number of the specimens we have collected were named from here so we thought it quite important to get the topotypes for comparison, although we hate collecting in a big city where the original territory is covered with

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On Her Own Terms: Annie Montague Alexander and the Rise of Science in the American West
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • On Her Own Terms *
  • 1 - Samuel Alexander and Henry Baldwin 3
  • 2 - Life in Oakland 13
  • 3 - A Passion for Paleontology 22
  • 4 - Africa, 1904 35
  • 5 - Meeting C. Hart Merriam 48
  • 6 - Alaska, 1906 58
  • 7 - Meeting Joseph Grinnell 63
  • 8 - Founding a Museum of Vertebrate Zoology 76
  • 9 - An Unusual Collaboration 88
  • 10 - Louise and Prince William Sound 97
  • 11 - Support for Paleontology 107
  • 12 - Hearst, Sather, Flood 114
  • 13 - Innisfail Ranch 120
  • 14 - Vancouver Island and the Trinity Alps 138
  • 15 - The Team of Alexander and Kellogg 148
  • 16 - From “a Friend of the University” 155
  • 17 - Founding a Museum of Paleontology 165
  • 18 - A Restless Decade 181
  • 19 - Europe, 1923 190
  • 20 - The Temple Tour 203
  • 21 - The “amoeba Treatment” 214
  • 22 - Fieldwork–the Later Years 224
  • 23 - Saline Valley 244
  • 24 - The End of an Era 253
  • 25 - Hawaii–“my Only Real Home” 261
  • 26 - The Switch to Botany 274
  • 27 - Baja California–tres Mujeres Sin Miedo 290
  • 28 - Investing in the Future 299
  • 29 - An Enduring Legacy 308
  • Epilogue 315
  • Appendix 317
  • Notes 321
  • Index 359
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