William Brewster Papers
William Brewster (1851-1919) was a renowned American amateur ornithologist, first president of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and a president of the American Ornithologists' Union. He was an avid collector of birds and their nests and eggs, and collected over forty thousand specimens from 1861 until his death in 1919. His collection, bequeathed to the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, is considered one of the finest private collections of North American birds ever assembled. Though Brewster collected throughout North America, his collection is especially comprehensive in its coverage of the birds of New England.
The Brewster Papers include his diaries (1865-1919), journals (1871-1919), and notebooks, in which Brewster recorded observations of birds, their habitats and seasonal behavior, while traveling through New England and other areas of the United States; correspondence (1862-1919) with ornithologists, collectors, museum curators, journal editors and ornithological associations; and records relating to his study of birds at Lake Umbagog, Maine. Also included are photographs (1851-1919), consisting of about 300 images including portraits of Brewster, his family and friends, views of the Brattle Street household, bird habitats, and Lake Umbagog.