Date: 9/24/17 9:28 am
From: Bill Whan <billwhan...>
Subject: [Ohio-birds] Info needed on Mrs. G. W. Bannon, taxidermist of Portsmouth, Ohio, circa 1888
I am interested in Mrs. G. W. Bannon's accomplishments in taxidermy in
the late 19th century. Her work involved a large exhibit in 1888
on the birds of Scioto County for the State Fair, which won a medal. The
local paper in Portsmouth reported that "Much of Mrs. Bannon's
collection is in the State Archaeological and Historical Museum in
Columbus now." In 1894 this collection was moved to the Ohio State
University campus and curated by faculty; it and other collections
formed the beginning of the University's biological collection, which
now has over 25,000 bird specimens. As of now the collection has 121
specimens from Scioto County, which is an unusually large one for an
Ohio county of its size, and it is not unusual for specimens from Ohio
to have been donated to the Museum without location data. Such is the
case for many of OSU's sandhill crane specimens.
It is not unusual for museums just getting started to swap specimens,
and it is possible some of Bannon's collection was traded with other
institutions. At that time in history sandhill cranes were still seen in
large numbers in their migrations through Ohio, and a fair number of
nesters could still be found. I spent a lot of effort trying to locate
an existing Ohio specimen of this species; there are lots of specimens
around, but finding one from Ohio was difficult. The curator of the
University of Michigan Museum told me they had a single Ohio specimen;
other data were missing, but it is possible this bird went to Michigan
as part of a swap early in the past century; it was hardly rare at the
time.
I would like to know more about the Bannon collection, which must have
been inventoried at some time--a time when cranes passed through
southern Ohio in large numbers. Is there an inventory of
Bannon's collection--one hopes with dates and locations of collections--
after many years, we have an Ohio specimen, and it would be fitting
if we could thank Mrs. Bannon for it. Any help would be very welcome...
--Bill Whan

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