Frederic Augustus Lucas Papers (PP)

Archives, The LuEsther T. Mertz Library
The New York Botanical Garden
200th Street and Kazimiroff Boulevard
Bronx, New York 10458-5126
Phone: 718-817-8604

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This finding aid was produced in English.

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Collectors: Lucas, Frederic A. (Frederic Augustus), 1852-1929. Rosenheim, Alfred F. (Alfred Faist), 1859-1943.
Title: Frederic Augustus Lucas Papers (PP)
Dates: 1883-1927
Abstract: Documents Lucas' career as a museum administrator. Includes correspondence, contracts, blueprints, photographs, postcards, newspaper clippings, and internal memoranda.
Quantity: 3 boxes; 2.25 linear feet.
Call Phrase: Frederic Augustus Lucas (PP)

Biography of Frederic Augustus Lucas

Frederic Augustus Lucas was a curator and naturalist born in Plymouth, Massachusetts on March 25, 1852. He received and honorary D.Sc. degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1909. In 1871 Lucas entered Ward's Natural Science Establishment in Rochester, New York, where he remained for eleven years working in taxidermy, osteology, and museum technique. He began his curatorial career at the United States National Museum in 1882. From 1904 to 1911 he was the curator-in-chief of the Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences. In 1911, Lucas became the director of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where he remained until 1923, and served as the honorary director from 1924 to 1929.

Lucas' work was mainly in the field of museum administration, the preparation of museum materials, and osteology. Throughout his career, he belonged to numerous professional societies and published many works on the anatomy of birds, fossil vertebrates, and museum methods. He was the author of two books, Animals of the Past (1901), and Animals Before Man in North America (1902).

In 1933, the American Museum of Natural History published his biography, Fifty Years of Museum Work which includes a bibliography of his writings.

Scope and Content

The collection includes correspondence, memoranda, postcards and photographs on administrative operations, building construction and design, display techniques and devices, museum training, and charter guidance for natural history institutions throughout the United States, most notably the United States National Museum.


The collection is organized into five series:
Series 1: Correspondence. 1902-1927. Arranged chronologically.
Series 2: Subject Files. 1908-1924. Arranged chronologically.
Series 3: United States National Museum. 1883-1923. Arranged chronologically.
Series 4: Photographs. 1915-1920 and undated. Arranged by subject.
Series 5: Postcards. Undated. Arranged alphabetically by subject.


Access restrictions

This collection is open for research with permission from Mertz Library staff.


Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be submitted in writing to the LuEsther T. Mertz Library of the New York Botanical Garden.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Lucas, Frederic A. (Frederic Augustus), 1852-1929.
Rosenheim, Alfred F. (Alfred Faist), 1859-1943.
Natural history museum directors.
Natural history museums Administration.
Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
Washington (D.C.)
Brooklyn institute of arts and sciences. Museum.
United States National Museum. Museum of Natural History
Document Types

Related Material

Brooklyn Museum Archives

Office of the Director, records, 1986-[ongoing] Franklin W. Hooper correspondence, 1904-1906

American Museum of Natural History, Department of Library Services

Administrative Files, 1969-1978 Expeditions and Scientific Staff Records, Department of Mammalogy, 1885-[ca. 1970]

New York Zoological Society Archives

Records of the Department of Tropical research. Office of the Director and General Associate, 1909-1947

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Frederic Augustus Lucas (PP), Archives, The New York Botanical Garden.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to the New York Botanical Garden.

Processing Information

Originally processed April 2000. Reprocessed March 2005 by Kathleene Konkle under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) PA-50678-04.

Container List


Series 1. Correspondence.

Scope and Content:

Correspondence with similar institutions regarding museum operations, instituting charters, building and display design, museum training, children's education, the role of the museum to the public, and job descriptions. In several instances, there is correspondence for the exchange of institutional promotional materials.

Folder Title Date
1.1 Reprint: The American Naturalist Vol. XXXVI, No. 421 January 1902
1.2 Milwaukee Public Museum 1902-1918
1.3 Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences 1902-1915
1.4 Corcoran Gallery of Art 1903-1907
1.5 Philadelphia Commercial Museum 1903/1914/n.d.
1.6 British Museum 1904-1922
1.7 Cold Spring Harbor Biological Laboratory (Brooklyn Institute) 1905/1915
1.8 Peabody Museum (Salem, Mass.) 1907
1.9 Princeton University, National Science Laboratory 1908
1.10 Detroit Museum of Art 1908
1.11 Southwest Museum, Los Angeles 1909
1.12 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 1909
1.13 Museum of Wales 1909/1922
1.14 US National Zoological Park (re: Specimen Documentation) 1911
1.15 American Museum of Natural History 1911-1924
1.16 Leicester Museum and Art Gallery 1913
1.17 Newark Museum Association 1913/1914/1925
1.18 State University of Iowa (re: Museum Training) 1914/1916/1925
1.19 The Standard Union 1915
1.20 Brooklyn Botanic Garden 1914-1915
1.21 Children's Museum of Boston 1915/1924
1.22 California Academy of Sciences 1918
1.23 Warrington Municipal Museum (re: Museum Closings) 1918
1.24 US Army Medical Museum 1918
1.25 Deseret Museum 1919
1.26 Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art (re: architectural drawings, A.F. Rosenheim) 1920-1921
1.27 San Diego Society of Natural History 1920/1924
1.28 Cleveland Museum of Natural History 1920/1922/1925
1.29 San Francisco Memorial Museum 1921
1.30 Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 1921
1.31 Field Museum of Natural History 1922/1924
1.32 Hull Historical Museum 1923
1.33 Museum of Montreal, Deaf and Dumb Institute 1925
1.34 Steinhart Aquarium, San Francisco (California Academy of Sciences) 1925
1.35 Reading Public Museum and Art Gallery 1926
1.36 Australian Museum, Sydney 1926
1.37 National Museum of Engineering and Industry 1927
1.38 Haslemere Museum, Surrey 1927

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Series 2. Subject Files.

Scope and Content:

Subject files include commentary on visits to other institutions, docent and general museum training, prospectus examples, and technical display techniques.

Folder Title Date
1.39 American Association of Museums, Museum Directory 1908
1.40 Los Angeles Fine Arts League, Prospectus 1911-1912
1.41 "Museums of Natural History and their Relation to the Public", Matilda Solomon 1912
1.42 Non-actinic glass 1914
1.43 Docents 1917
1.44 Museum classification 1921
1.45 Habitat groupings 1921
1.46 European museum visits 1924
1.47 Kansas University, Museum of Natural History n.d.
1.48 Card stock samples, Bristol Museum n.d.

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Series 3. United States National Museum.

Scope and Content:

Material related to the management of the United States National Museum includes administrative correspondence, sample cataloging documents, internal memoranda, accessions, the internal transfer of specimens, and taxidermy.

Folder Title Date
2.1 USNM Accessions 1883-1907
2.2 USNM Administrative Memoranda 1884-1904
2.3 USNM General Correspondence 1896-1909/1922
2.4 USNM Stegosaurus Restoration Agreement 1903-1904
2.5 USNM Taxidermists News Clippings 1923

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Series 4. Photographs.

Scope and Content:

Black and white photographs. Some are mounted on board depicting display cases and building features at various institutions; includes handwritten notes and descriptions; some dated.

Folder Title Date
2.6 Photographs, Museums (#1) n.d.
2.7 Photographs, Museums (#2) n.d.
2.8 Photographs, Museums (#3) n.d.
2.9 Photographs, U.S. Department of Agriculture 1920

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Series 5. Postcards.

Scope and Content:

Various postcard samples from international and national institutions. Most are loose and have not been written on, while others are bound and enclosed in envelopes.

Folder Title Date
3.1 Berlin n.d.
3.2 Berlin n.d.
3.3 Brighton n.d.
3.4 Bristol n.d.
3.5 Bristol n.d.
3.6 Bristol n.d.
3.7 Bristol n.d.
3.8 Bristol n.d.
3.9 Bristol n.d.
3.10 Bristol n.d.
3.11 Bristol n.d.
3.12 Bristol n.d.
3.13 Bristol n.d.
3.14 Bristol n.d.
3.15 Bristol n.d.
3.16 Bristol n.d.
3.17 Bristol n.d.
3.18 Bristol n.d.
3.19 Brooklyn n.d.
3.20 Brooklyn n.d.
3.21 Buenos Aires n.d.
3.22 Buenos Aires n.d.
3.23 Cardiff n.d.
3.24 Castine n.d.
3.25 Charleston n.d.
3.26 Chicago n.d.
3.27 Columbus, Ohio n.d.
3.28 Durban, Natal n.d.
3.29 Edinburgh n.d.
3.30 Geneva n.d.
3.31 Geneva n.d.
3.32 Liverpool n.d.
3.33 Liverpool n.d.
3.34 Monte Carlo n.d.
3.35 New Haven n.d.
3.36 Manhattan n.d.
3.37 Paris n.d.
3.38 Philadelphia n.d.
3.39 Poughkeepsie n.d.
3.40 Prague n.d.
3.41 Rochester n.d.
3.42 San Francisco n.d.
3.43 Santa Fe n.d.
3.44 Seattle n.d.
3.45 Tubingen n.d.
3.46 Washington DC n.d.
3.47 Washington DC n.d.
3.48 Wolfboro, New Hampshire n.d.

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