by Greg Mayer
To show I don’t hold a grudge against birds, I’d like to point out that the New York Times today has a fine article by Cornelia Dean on the Nuttall Ornithological Club, the oldest ornithological society in the country, based at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. Theodore Roosevelt, one of the few (only?) presidents to publish scientific papers, was a member.
The Club’s journal, the Bulletin of the Nuttall Ornithological Club began publishing in 1876, and in 1884 was taken over by the American Ornithologist’s Union as The Auk, which is to this day arguably the world’s premier bird journal, rivaled only by the British Ornithological Union‘s Ibis.
Volume 1 of the Bulletin is available at the Biodiversity Heritage Library here, and the other volumes, also at BHL, are available here. (The BHL is a great resource for older biological literature. Its coverage is hit and miss, and its searches a bit clunky, but items it has are in high quality pdf scans. Whole volumes are scanned as single documents, so they have to be electronically ‘cut up’ to get single articles or numbers as pdfs.) The Auk is available through 2001 on another fabulous website, the Searchable Ornithological Research Archive (SORA), which contains pdfs of most North American ornithological journals up to about 1999-2008 (varying by journal).
The Club currently publishes two monograph series, Publications of the Nuttall Ornithological Club, and the Memoirs of the Nuttall Ornithological Club; several issues of both are on the shelf to my right as I type this.