Assistant Director's correspondence file

Held by the New York State Archives

Overview of the Records


New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

This series consists of correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, drafts of scientific publications, manuals/ bulletins on state parks, research notes, field work expenses and results, and clippings. The records document the public and private activities of the assistant directors.
79 cubic feet
Inclusive Dates:
Series Number:


Alphabetic by name of correspondent, then reverse chronological order. General correspondence (A-Z) follows major subject headings.

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence and occasional meeting minutes, reports, and clippings document the public and private activities of assistant director Victor H. Cahalane (1955-1966).

Included are a few documents dated 1953-1954 when Cahalane was Chief of the Biology Branch of the U.S. National Park Service. These records contain very little information about the State Museum or Cahalane's administrative responsibilities. Most of the correspondence is with private organizations of which he was a member or officer, such as the Adirondack Mountain Club, Inc., American Committee for International Wildlife Protection, Defenders of Wildlife, Inc., International Union for the Protection of Nature, the Nature Conservancy, and the Sierra Club. Other correspondence is with conservationists in the U.S. and other countries, especially African nations, and reflects Cahalane's activities as a promoter and advocate of conservation activities.

Also included is one folder of field workers' travel and expense records from Assistant Director Alvin G. Whitney. These show travel dates and itineraries for field work in geology and biology conducted during 1931.

B0584-92: This accretion consists of correspondence, research notes, background materials, clippings, scattered publications, and other research related records spanning the working life of Alvin Goodnow Whitney. Whitney worked for the State Museum from 1929-1953 and ended his career as the assistant director of the State Museum.

The records reflect many facets of Whitney's public and private life, and include academic and collegiate bulletins (many from the New York State College of Forestry at Syracuse, and Dartmouth College, of which he was an alumnus), lecture notes, and correspondence with professional societies, largely focused on forestry, ornithology, and botany. A small number of photographs, some dating from 1914, apparently show views of surroundings taken during early field trips. A portion of the records (primarily publications) apparently were carried over from Whitney's work at the School of Forestry and Conservation of the University of Michigan, prior to his employment at the State Museum.

Also include are drafts of scientific publications (including photographs of State Museum exhibit halls), results of field work, lists of specimens, and other materials used to produce museum bulletins or in the conduct of research to which he contributed, especially relating to the state's flora and fauna. There are also many examples of manuals/bulletins on national parks in the west. Interspersed are some administrative records and internal memoranda to/from museum staff (especially director Charles C. Adams and State Botanist Homer House). Whitney corresponded widely among the natural history community, and even transmittal letters and routine correspondence (e.g. requesting museum bulletins) often contain informative notes on local natural history.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of the material.

Custodial History

Originally accessioned as part of accession 82-13. The 1931 material was originally accessioned as part of old series 234, accession number -280.

B0584-92: Whitney's extensive collection of State Museum bulletins and other scientific publications was weeded by Archives staff at the time of accessioning and transferred to to custody of the Museum's Science Service.

Access Terms

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