BILDERBACK, Norman E.

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Los Angeles Times, May 26, 1968


BILDERBACK, Norman Clyde (1915-2003) [SS#572-125-622], Arizona-born lifelong artist, exhibits curator and museum curator who collected plants and insects in May 1938 while on a Channel Islands expedition with San Diego Natural History Museum colleagues Lee Arnold, J. Elton Green and Lewis Walker. They visited Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, San Miguel, Santa Catalina and San Nicolas islands. Bees obtained by Bilderback on Santa Barbara Island, while on the expedition aboard Novia del Mar, owned by Robert P. Scripps, were described by T. D. A Cockerell. They were the first bees ever collected on Santa Barbara Island.



In the News~

April 13, 1938 [LAT]: “San Diego scientists leave on sea cruise. San Diego, April 12.—Carrying five San Diego scientists, the Novia del Mar, yacht of the late Robert P. Scripps, publisher, left today on a thirty-day cruise among the islands off the coast of California. The personnel includes, besides four members of the Natural History Museum staff, a representative of the San Diego Museum. J. Felton Green, zoologist, has charge of the party, other members being Lewis W. Walker, zoologist and photographer; Lee Arnold, ornithologist and mammalogist; Malcolm J. Rogers, archaeologist; and Norman Bilderback, artist and assistant.”


May 8, 1938 [LAT]: “Tidal waves swamp ship. San Diego, May 7.—Bringing word of the destruction of a small pleasure craft by a succession of blind swells or small tidal waves and the drowning of its skipper off San Nicholas [sic] Island, members of the San Diego Natural History Museum and San Diego Museum scientific expedition returned from the Channel Islands today on the late Pubkisher Robert Scripps's yacht Novia del Mar. Aboard the Scripps craft were 1000 specimens of birds, animals, reptiles, plants and Indian relics. Loss of the pleasure craft, the name of which was not learned, was reported to the expedition party members by a sheepherder on San Nicholas. He said the vessel, anchored off shore, first was struck by a terrific ground swell that ripped off the cabin. A few seconds later another heavy sea overturned the yacht and sent it hurtling against the rocks. A third wave picked up the unfortunate captain and sent him to his death. The tragedy occurred on the afternoon of April 12. Similar heavy ground swells came near wrecking the Novia del Mar, the expedition members reported. The Novia del Mar's cargo provided a notable addition to the exhibits of the two museums. Birds which have been isolated on the island for years and which rarely are found on the mainland were obtained by the scientists.”


October 27, 1949 [Reno-Gazette Journal]: “Museum parley held in Carson. Carson, Oct. 27.—Delegates to the Western Museum conference here over the weekend were impressed with the progress the local institution has made in the eight years since it was founded. Director Tony Green reported that the convention was successful and that the Nevada museum was fortunate in being chosen host for the event. During Friday morning's session, the delegates elected Malcolm Farmer of the San Diego Museum of Man, president... Norman C. Bilderback, California state exposition, and Dorr Yeager, national park service.”


May 27, 1951 [El Paso Times]: “Shirley Temple gives huge doll collection to museum. Hollywood.—Shirley Temple severed her last link with Hollywood when her fabulous collection of dolls and her movie costumes went on display at a museum. Shirley donated to the California State Exposition 761 of the 1500 dolls that movie fans sent her from all over the world...A moving firm took three days to move the $40,000 collection to the museum. Installation Supervisor Norman Bilderback worked eight days classifying the dolls and two weeks hanging 400 of them in cases...”


November 8, 1953 [LAT]: “Wednesday: Demonstration of color, sound and motion as used in modern museum techniques, by Norman Bilderback and Sterling Leach. For California Color Society, 700 State Drive, Exposition Park,, 8 p.m. Public invited.”


October 26, 1960 [Progress-Bulletin): “Kern Museum man elected. Tucson, Ariz.—Richard C. Bailey of Bakersfield, Calif., is the new president of the Western Museum League... Elected vice presidents were Norman Bilderback of the California Museum of Science and Industry...”


December 26, 1963 [Valley TImes]: “Museum becomes Toyland... On a weekend, more than 6,100 persons will visit the museum, of which the current exhibit is divided into separate classifications...The Museum, 700 State Dr., Exposition Park, is open every day... Norman Bilderback, director of exhibits, said the toys in the exhibit are selected with great care to make sure they represent quality design or an educational purpose. But no one can predict what toy a particular child will prefer...”


May 29, 1968 [The Daily Advertiser]: “Group here represented at meeting. Two representatives of the Lafayette Planetarium and Natural History Museum Commission attended the 63rd annual meeting of the American Association of Museums in New Orleans during the weekend... Representatives from over 400 museums from throughout the United States attended the conference.Included were museums in the fields of art, history, and science... Mrs. Latimer attended sectional meetings on education, exhibits and science, industry and technology. She heard addresses by...Norman C. Bilderback, director of exhibits, California Museum of Science and Industry...”


January 19, 1969 [LAT]: “Museum that grooves with young megalopolis...California Museum of Science and Industry, often tagged "The World's Most Motivating Museum," and run on the principle, "Aristotle with a touch of Barnum."...the museum once had little more to offer than dust-musty jars of canned tangerines and pomegranate jellies, and glass-covered ears of corn and pods of cotton. The jars are now in the basement ("We are hoping the agricultural industry, the No. 1 industry in the state, will pick up and do something exciting for us," says Norman Bilderback, director of exhibits)...”


February 13, 2012 [South Florida Sun Sentinel]: “Eugene Weston III, 87, modernist architecture in Southern California... A third-generation Los Angeles architect, Mr. Weston built a string of midcentury modern homes here before spending three decades with a San Diego firm... The architect built a number of homes in and around Pasadena, but only one in Eagle Rock, in 1953, for Norman Bilderback, then a director of design at the Los Angeles COunty Museum of Art...”



Island Collections~

San Miguel Island

1938 plants where?


Santa Cruz Island

5/5/1938 SDMNH herps


San Nicolas Island

1938 plants where?


Santa Catalina Island

1938 plants where?


Santa Barbara Island

4/1938 plants where?