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1 linear foot (3 boxes)


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

Lucas' work was mainly in the field of museum administration, the preparation of museum material, 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 wrote two books Animals of the Past (1901) and Animals before Man in North America (1902). His autobiography, Fifty Years of Museum Work, was published in 1933 by the American Museum of Natural History and includes a bibliography of Lucas' publications. He died in Flushing, New York on February 9, 1929.


The collection includes materials on the administrative operations at the United States National Museum; and correspondence, memoranda, architectural drawings, photographs, and postcards dealing with the design of museum buildings.


Series 1: Correspondence
Series 2: Subject Files
Series 3: United States National Museum
Series 4: Photographs
Series 5: Postcards

Series 1     Correspondence, 1902-1927
                   4.5 lin. in. Arranged alphabetically by institution.

Correspondence with museum personnel at thirty nine institutions, including Alfred Rosenheim, architect for the addition to the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art.

Series 2     Subject Files, 1908-1924
                  1 lin. in. Arranged alphabetically.

Six files on subjects relating to museum issues.

Series 3     United States National Museum, 1883-1909 and 1922-1923
                   2.25 lin. in. Arranged alphabetically.

Five files, relating to administrative issues, includes clippings and correspondence.

Series 4     Photographs
                   2.5 lin. in.

Contains undated photographs of museum buildings and displays.

Series 5     Postcards
                   3 lin. in. Arranged geographically.

Pictures of museums worldwide.


Brooklyn Museum Archives

Office of the Director, Records, 1896- [ongoing]

Franklin W. Hooper Correspondence, 1904-1906

American Museum of Natural History, Department of Library Services

Administrative Files, 1969-1968

Expeditions and Scientific Staff Records, Department of Mammology, 1885-[ca. 1970]

New York Zoological Society. Archives

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

Processed April 2000 by Natalie S. Brody under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH PA-23141-98) and a grant from the Harriet Ford Dickenson Foundation.

For more information and a complete description contact:
Susan Fraser, NYBG Archivist
The LuEsther T. Mertz Library
The New York Botanical Garden
Bronx, NY 10458-5126
(718) 817-8879

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