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Dr. C. Hart Merriam of the Smithsonian to Claude Tidd at Ross River. Nov. 7, 1930
Dr. C. Hart Merriam of the Smithsonian to Claude Tidd at Ross River. Nov. 7, 1930
Yukon Archives: 91/112 f. 3 MSS 365
Wildlife photography mailbox

November 7, 1930

[Hand note “held till Dec. 29, 1930 ”]

Sergeant C.B. Tidd

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Ross River , Yukon Territory

My dear Sir:

Your letter dated June 29, 1930 was forwarded from Washington to my California home at Lagunitas, which for about 20 years has been my base for field work every summer.

To say that I was greatly interested in your letter is putting it very mildly.

While I have been in Alaska twice at an interval of about 10 years and have been on White Pass , I have not been on the Yukon . At the same time I have read Charles Sheldon's book on his work on the Pelly , Ross, and Macmillan, and have edited the manuscript of his larger book entitled “THE WILDERNESS OF DENALI”, which unfortunately he did not live to see completed. I therefore have a general idea of the region in which you are located.

While isolated from the outside world, you have an excellent opportunity to obtain worthwhile information not only about the birds and mammals of the region, but also about the Indians. IT would be desirable to get their name for their own tribe and for the principal streams and mountains, and also their numerals (at least one to ten), and their names for the various species of mammals, birds, fishes, and trees of the country.

Yes, I have done quite a bit of photographic work but not much with birds—my chief interest nowadays being with the Indians. During the past few months I have exposed nearly or quite two hundred negatives on Indians, usually taking half a dozen of each individual to be sure of getting a good one of each in a satisfactory attitude.

You ask if there a colored plates of birds' eggs. Yes, there are many—mostly in large and expensive works. I am glad you have Taverner's book on the Birds of Western Canada. Luis Fuertes and Alan Brooks were our two greatest bird artists. Fuertes was killed in an automobile accident, leaving Brooks at the head of the art line. Both men took up the work by themselves without training, but later Fuertes enjoyed the advantage of work under the well-known painter Abbot Taylor. Brooks, so far as I know, is wholly a self-made artist and his work is simply wonderful. Both he and Fuertes illustrated some of my sister's bird books (Mrs. Florence Merriam Bailey, wife of the naturalist, Vernon Bailey.)

If I come across duplicates of any papers relating to the birds in your part of the world I shall be glad to send them to you. Replying to your inquiry about books on western birds, I shall send you in the near future a copy of my sisters HANDBOOK OF BIRDS IN WESTERN UNITED STATES, which contains a large percentage of the species in your region. [Hand noted in margin “sent with this.”]

In case you ever happen to kill a grizzly bear [hand underlined], kindly remember that an opportunity to examine its skull would be much appreciated.

With best wishes

Very truly yours,

[signed] C. Hart Merriam
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