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New biography of Robert Ridgway


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Hi all – I’m glad to announce the publication of a new book I’ve written on the historic study of birds. It’s a biography of Robert Ridgway, the Smithsonian's first Curator of Birds. It's just out this week, from Yale Univ. Press. The book is called "The Feathery Tribe: Robert Ridgway and the Modern Study of Birds." It's available from Amazon as of this week:




Or from Yale:




It hope it will contain much of interest to professional ornithologists, and in fact, one of the book's central elements is the teasing out of distinctions between amateurs and professionals at the end of the nineteenth century -- and why those categorizations mattered. It also contains elements of neotropical interest. For instance, the Costa Rican ornithologist José Zeledón shows up frequently in its pages, as he was a good friend of Ridgway’s. I also scrutinize why British ornithologists were considerably slower to adopt trinomials; what the founders of the AOU thought of their membership and their new Auk; and lots more. I'll be especially interested in feedback about the book.


Feel free to contact me offline if any questions –




Dan Lewis




Daniel Lewis, Ph.D.

Dibner Senior Curator, History of Science & Technology

& Head, Manuscripts Dept.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens

1151 Oxford Road

San Marino, CA 91108



626-405-2206 (direct)

626-449-5720 (fax)

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