Elon Howard Eaton Ornithology Collection

Cover Image:
Elon Howard Eaton Ornithology Collection
Eaton group on board "Kittyhawk." - Image Source

Collection Facts

Dates of Original:
1890 - 1910; 1919 - 1925

Historical Context

Elon Howard Eaton was born in Springville, New York, on October 8, 1866 to Luzerne and Sophia Eaton. He was a member of the faculty of Hobart and William Smith Colleges from 1908 to 1935. He received his A.B. and M.A. degrees from the University of Rochester in 1890 and 1893, respectively. Afterwards, he taught in secondary schools for 15 years, and came to Hobart and the newly founded William Smith College in 1908, establishing a department of biology. Professor Eaton taught courses in biology, ornithology, and hygiene, among others, and was chairman of the department for 26 years.               
He is perhaps best known for his books on the birds of New York, his studies and surveys for state and local governments, and serving as state ornithologist and curator of the New York State Museum. His most important contribution was Birds of New York, which at the time of its publication in 1910 was the most complete treatise on birds in any state.
Professor Eaton married Gertrude Yeames in 1909, with whom he had two children, Elizabeth and Elon Howard Eaton, Jr. After Gertrude's death he married Esther Woodman in 1915 and had two more children, Mary and Stephen Woodman Eaton. Elon Howard Eaton died on March 27, 1935, of heart disease at his home in Geneva.

Scope of Collection

The collection includes photographs and portraits of Eaton and his family, as well as genealogical information. There are papers related to his research including: bird lists, reports, professional correspondence, survey data, and maps. Not all the materials are dated, but the collection dates to the turn-of-the-century and early 20th century.

Additional Information

Scope and Content Source:
The papers of Elon Howard Eaton, Professor of Biology at Hobart and William Smith Colleges from 1908 to 1935, are contained in 3 boxes. The papers include materials of professional as well as personal significance, compiled over the course of his life, as well as materials gathered by his family after his death. Major components of the papers include correspondence, biographical information, family information, material related to his publications, bird lists and research, bird photography, news articles, notes, official documents, and teaching materials. All material dates from between 1877 and 2009. Boxes 2 and 3 of the collection were originally organized and collected by Professor Eaton's son, Stephen W. Eaton, and many of the folders contain inventory lists and notes that he provided. These materials have been kept in the order in which they were received.

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