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Walter Bradford Barrows papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-17.2

Scope and Content

The Walter Bradford Barrows papers consists of letterpress copies of correspondence (3 volumes, 1896-1900, 1904-1906, 1905-1910), correspondence (1893-1915), bird lists (1850-1914, undated), migration records (1903-1908), advertisements, newspaper articles, Michigan Bird Life (1912), and photographs.


  • Creation: 1850 - 1961


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

Walter Bradford Barrows was born January 10, 1855 in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. Barrows graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1876, and from 1879 to 1881 was an instructor in Chemistry and Physics in the Colegio Nacional at Concepción del Uruguay in Argentina. After his return to the United States, he served as instructor in Science from 1881 to 1882 at the State Normal School at Westfield, Massachusetts, followed by four years as instructor in Biology at Wesleyan University. On July 1, 1886, Barrows was appointed first assistant ornithologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in the Biological Survey, then known as the Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy. He resigned on March 15, 1894 to accept the professorship of Zoology and Physiology at Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) in East Lansing, Michigan. He was also the curator of the General Museum. He remained in that position until his death on February 26, 1923.

"Professor Barrows was well known as an ornithologist. The results of his work in Argentina appeared in a series of papers on the 'Birds of the Lower Uruguay' in the 'Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club' for 1883 and in ‘The Auk’ for 1884. He also contributed a chapter on the 'Accipitres' to the volume on 'Birds' in the 'Standard Natural History’, 1885. While connected with the Department of Agriculture his most notable publications were his bulletins on the 'English Sparrow' and the 'Common Crow.' In 1912 his magnum opus appeared under the title 'Bird Life of Michigan' an excellent report accompanied by a voluminous bibliography. He was particularly interested in the distribution and life history of the birds of Michigan and especially in the local distribution and breeding habits of Kirtland's Warbler. Recently he became interested in bird banding and at the time of his death was making plans for active work in this field." - T. S. Palmer. From Auk, Vol. 40, October, 1923, pp. 376-377.


6 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Walter Bradford Barrows Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
S. Brown
February 1986
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US