William L. Finley Papers, 1899-1946

Wild ducks conservation Observation of birds at a pond near Sunnyside The witches' garden The chickadee A family of grosbeaks The weaver of the west The weaver of the west The eagle of Mission Ridge Two studies in blue Plume hunting La Prath Lakes and rivers exploration Notes on grebe skin traffic After heron The American egret Herons Phoebe Wild life restoration Study of sea birds The trail of the plume hunters Grebe hunting Rearing a wren family Black-headed grosbeak Yellow throat Gull habits The witches' garden Pelican rookery The hummingbird at home
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Identity elements

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MSS Finley

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William L. Finley Papers, 1899-1946


  • 1899 - 1946 (Creation)


11.0 Cubic Feet; 277 photographs; 18 boxes, including 1 oversize box and 1 map folder

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Biographical history

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

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 The collection consists of published and unpublished manuscripts, lecture and field notes, reports, correspondence, photographs and motion picture films.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."

System of arrangement

The collection is arranged into ten series: I. Manuscripts; II. Publications; III. Correspondence; IV. Lectures; V. Trip Notes; VI. Organizations and Issues; VII. Personal Materials; VIII. Motion Picture Films; IX. Photographs and Painting; and X. Oversize Materials.

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Conditions governing access

Collection is open for research. Original motion picture films are restricted; researchers are to use VHS or DVD reference copies.

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Languages of the material

  • English

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Specialized notes

  • Citation: William L. Finley Papers (MSS Finley), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

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