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William L. Finley Papers, 1899-1946
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William L. Finley Papers, 1899-1946

  • MSS Finley
  • Collection
  • 1899 - 1946

William L. Finley's papers primarily document his work as a wildlife conservationist, author, lecturer, photographer, and filmmaker from about 1900 to 1940. The collection also documents the work his wife Irene Finley and photography partner Herman Bohlman. The collection consists of published and unpublished manuscripts, lecture and field notes, reports, correspondence, photographs and motion picture films.

An addition to the collection (Accession 2014:062) is made up of correspondence and newspaper clippings documenting the wildlife conservation work of William and Irene Finley. Among the topics addressed in the correspondence include: song bird protection laws in Oregon, requests to Finley for use of his photographs, the forming of an Oregon Fish and Game Commission, biological surveys conducted by Finley, legislation in California repealing meadowlark protection, and letters by Finley to various organizations regarding the presentation of one of his lectures. A highlight among the correspondence is a thank you letter from Finley to President Theodore Roosevelt for his establishment of wild bird reservations. The clippings are newspaper articles written by Irene and William Finley about encounters with wildlife, nocturnal bird sounds, and their filming of wildlife at Paulina Lake. The four articles all appeared in editions of the "Oregon Sunday Journal."

Finley, William L. (William Lovell), 1876-1953

Series 7: Personal Materials, 1899-circa 1920

This series consists of personal materials and includes academic materials and ephemera from William Finley's student days at the University of California, William and Irene Finley's 1906 wedding book, and Phoebe Finley's notebook on costume design from the 1920s.

Series 9: Photographs and Painting, circa 1900-circa 1940

This series consists of photographs and a painting. The bulk of the photographs are prints used in or similar to those in Finley's American Birds, taken by Finley and/or Herman Bohlman. Other photographs depict wildlife, including bears, mountain goats, birds and wolves; fish ladders at Bonneville Dam; and the Finleys and their children and grandchildren.

Series 2: Publications, 1905-1945

This series consists of publications, including typescripts and newspaper clippings of articles written by William and Irene Finley and Ed Averill for the Oregon Journal and the Sunday Oregonianbetween 1935 and 1945 The articles describe bird, fish and mammal species, wildlife refuges, and trips taken by the Finleys. Some are editorial in nature, such as advocating for a new Portland zoo or calling for certain limits on hunting. The series also includes articles written for Nature, National Geographic, and other publications.

Series 3: Correspondence, 1909-1911, 1926-1940

This series consists of correspondence between William Finley and individuals in agencies, associations, commissions, academic institutions, and societies such as the National Association of Audubon Societies, state and federal Departments of Fish and Game, and the State of Oregon, as well as individuals, including Theodore Roosevelt and Oregon Governor Oswald West. It also includes correspondence related to the drafting of a bill proposal for a new State Fish and Game Commission for Oregon, and Finley’s subsequent appointment as Chairman, as well as bills for wild bird protection that led to the establishment of Oregon’s first wildlife refuges and private land reserves. Also included is correspondence between William and Irene Finley, between the Finleys and Campbell Church, pertaining to the Finleys' 1926 Alaska trip. Other topics addressed in the correspondence are exchanges with journal editors concerning Finley’s articles and photographs; Finley’s inquiries about providing lectures for a planned Midwest and East Coast trip that was later cancelled due to illness; requests for his photographs and requests for lectures. Also represented is the issue of illegal sale of hats using wild bird feathers at millineries in San Francisco and Los Angeles leading to the loss of species; Finley’s concerns regarding the attempted removal of meadowlark protection in California, due to a public perception that they negatively impact agriculture; arrangement and negotiation of a traveling demonstration train for the purpose of wild bird educational exhibits (activism).

Series 6: Organizations and Issues, 1909-1946

This series consists of files pertaining to various organization and issues. Organizations represented include the Isaac Walton League, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Bureau of Biological Survey, and the Oregon State Planning Board. Issues include reclamation in the Klamath and Malheur basins, salmon and Bonnevile Dam, stream pollution, and mountain lions. Also included is a 1915 report by Stanley Jewett, "Report on Birds Seen at Netarts Bay."

Nothing a duck hunter likes better than ducks

This appears to be a rough draft of "Nothing a duck hunter likes better than ducks." Small differences include the additional sentences and above the title in faint pencil 'Consider the poor old duck hunter'.

Finley, William L. (William Lovell), 1876-1953

The gull bread line

Manuscript that describes a conversation between the author and a young man who is a member of the Audubon Society. The author and man observe how many people do not take the time to feed the birds. The author later reflects that people such as naturalists and Audubon members do not need endless amounts of free time, they are just as busy and productive as other members of society. It is that they desire to enjoy their lives and take pleasure in taking time to experience life.

Finley, William L. (William Lovell), 1876-1953

The storehouse of the red squirrel

In this manuscript we see the return of Piney the squirrel and the author observes that Piney and his fellow squirrels differ from other squirrels. They are different because unlike the other species of squirrels, they are vigilant in up keeping their supply of food. Piney took over a bird house near the author's property and it was discovered that Piney had collected one hundred and forty-six nuts. The author wonders if this store of food will be utilized and emptied by the time the birds arrive to occupy the bird house.

Finley, William L. (William Lovell), 1876-1953

Family cares divided by grosbeaks

A manuscript that comments on the peculiarity of the divided workload between a pair of grosbeaks in feeding their offspring. The author noticed that both parents took care of the nestlings, but on alternate days. Generally, other species of birds the parents feed side by side, but not in the case of the grosbeak.

Finley, William L. (William Lovell), 1876-1953

California or valley quail

The subject of this manuscript is the Valley or California quail, which can be found in California, Oregon, and now Washington. The document lists the bird's call, how it defends itself against enemies, and its physical appearance. The document ends with a comparison of the bird to the mountain quail.

Finley, William L. (William Lovell), 1876-1953

Murre multitudes

This manuscript describes the California murre, including a physical description and the commercialization of murre eggs.

Finley, William L. (William Lovell), 1876-1953

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