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HUGFP 14 and HUGFP 74

Mayr, Ernst, 1904- Papers of Ernst Mayr : an inventory

Harvard University Archives


Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: HUGFP 14 and HUGFP 74
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Mayr, Ernst, 1904-
Title: Papers of Ernst Mayr, 1931-1993
Date(s): 1931-1993
Quantity: 45 cubic feet (51 boxes and 3 folders)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: Ernst Mayr was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology at Harvard University from 1953-1975 and Director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology from 1961-1970. These papers document his public and professional life.

Acquisition Information:

  • Accession number: 8232 ; received September 27, 1977 from Prof. Mayr
  • Accession number: 8349 ; received April 28, 1978 from Prof. Mayr
  • Accession number: 8523 ; received November 21, 1978 from Prof. Mayr
  • Accession number: 10279 ; received October 30, 1984 from Prof. Mayr
  • Accession number: 11200 ; received August 26, 1987 from Prof. Mayr
  • Accession number: 11338 ; received Febrary 19, 1988 from Prof. Mayr
  • Accession number: 11703 ; received May 31, 1989 from Prof. Mayr
  • Accession number: 11776 ; received August 2, 1989 from Prof. Mayr
  • Accession number: 12133 ; received February 13, 1991 from The Museum of Comparative Zoology
  • Conditions on Use and Access:

    Permission is required for access to, and photocopying or publication of, these papers. Contact the Reference staff in the Harvard University Archives for details.

    Biography of Ernst Mayr

    Ernst Mayr, German-born American Zoologist, is credited with modernizing the theory of evolution, a development sometimes called "the modern synthesis". This is a synthesis of genetic, systematic, paleontological and ecological research integrated to form a coherent theory of evolution.
    Born in Kempten, Germany in 1904, Mayr studied at Berlin. He was Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology at Harvard University from 1953-1975. His early work was on the ornithology of the Pacific, leading three scientific expeditions to New Guinea and the Solomon Islands from 1928 to 1930. In his later career he was best known for his neo-Darwinian views on evolution, published in his books Animal Species and Evolution in 1963, and Evolution and the Diversity of Life in 1976.


    The collection is arranged in four series:

    Scope and Contents

    These papers cover Mayr's public and professional life. Topics include research into ornithology, taxonomy, and biological evolution and systematics, evolution topics such as speciation, genetics, geographical isolation and environmentalism, phenotypes and genotypes, natural selection, and morphology. Correspondence is with many individuals and also with professional organizations such as American Ornithologists' Union and American Museum of Natural History. The collection also includes the writings and correspondence related to the publication of scientific books, papers, and periodicals. Principal correspondents include Margaret Nice, Konrad Lorenz, N. Tinbergen, David Lack, D.L. Serventy, Josselyn Van Tyne, and Julian Huxley.

    Inventory update

    This document last updated 2018 April 6.

    Index to the Correspondence

    This index provides access to the names of people and of corporate bodies in the following subseries: General Correspondence, 1931-1952 (HUGFP 14.7), General Correspondence, 1952-1987 (HUGFP 74.7), and Miscellaneous or Anonymous Correspondence, ca. 1920-1993 (HUGFP 74.10)
    The index is arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent. Letters with unidentified correspondents and documents that are not letters preceed the alphabetical listing. If there are multiple entries under single name, they are sub-arranged by date of correspondence.
    A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Unidentified