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Edward Everett Ayer (1841-1927) served as the first President of the Board of Trustees of the Field Museum, and throughout the remainder of his life, gave generously of his time and funds to fulfill the Museum's educational ideals. He took the initiative on many occasions when, in his travels at home or abroad he saw some rare opportunity to acquire unusual and rare material. His interests included such fields as Egyptian antiquities, Greek and Roman--and especially Etruscan--archaeology, fossil vertebrates from California, rare gems, rare birds, and unusual anthropological objects generally.
In collecting books, Mr. Ayer never went far beyond his three principle subjects: Americana, ornithology, and ichthyology. Mr. Ayer's interest in books on birds is evidenced Catalogue of the Edward E. Ayer Ornithological Library at the Field Museum of Natural History. This important bibliographic source in ornithology describes each work in the Field Museum Library's collection, which is one of the most outstanding collections of its kind.
Field Museum Publications & Further Reading
Early annual reports are richly detailed with lists of accessions, descriptions of expeditions, and names of important figures, including Edward Ayer, in the history of The Field Museum. Access every annual report by year and type from this page of The Field Museum website and from the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL):
Books and newsletter articles
Purchase expedition to Egypt (1895): Annual Report (1894-5) Vol. 1, No. 1 (p. 18); Vol. 1, No. 2 (p. 96)
Edward Ayer, President of the Board of Trustees, 1893-1906. Portrait. (c) Field Museum of Natural History. Catalogue no.CSGN50750 and I.D. no. 1702642.
Elliot's Bird of Paradise: Epimachus Ellioti. Daniel G. Elliot. Plate 20. Digital reproduction, Oppenheimer Field Museum editions. Original part of Edward E. Ayer Ornithological Library at the Field Museum.