COLCORD, Ralph Mudge

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Ralph Colcord at Orr's Camp, Santa Rosa Isand, 1950
Photo by Phil Orr.
Courtesy Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

COLCORD, Ralph Mudge (1888-1955) [SS#555-44-2326], World War I veteran and Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History part-time assistant to archaeologist Phil Orr during his work on Santa Rosa Island. Colcord attended Claremont College. He became a regular Staff Assistant for five years, volunteered with Phil Orr from 1948-1953. At the museum, he was affectionately known as “Uncle Ralph.”

Colcord died in Los Angeles in 1955 at age 67.

In the News~

[January 1950]: “Phil C. Orr of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History reports that Mr. Ralph Colcord has completed the classification and cross-filing of the Channel Islands collections, which was begun several years ago. Each shell and bone artifact has been classified according to Gifford's classificatory system. Mr. Colcord is starting now on the Mainland collections, which will be treated in the same way. Miss Margaret C. Irwin attended the International Congress of Americanists held in New York City. Richard S. Finley and Phil C. Orr are preparing for the Third Santa Rosa Island Expedition. They plan to excavate at Skull Gulch in a site where 27 well preserved house pits are present...” Notes and News, American Antiquity 15:3 (January 1950) pp 264-272.

October 24, 1950 [SBNP]: “At 6 o’clock this morning members of the Fourth Santa Rosa Island Expedition boarded the Seal at Santa Barbara Harbor for a trip of several months. Dick Finley and Ralph Colcord, members of the expedition who left today, will be joined by Curator Phil Orr of the Museum of Natural History in early November...”

January 23, 1951 [SBNP]: “Rugged and windblown are no longer merely adjectives to this reporter [Henry J. Seldis] as far as Santa Rosa Island is concerned. On visiting the campsite of the Fourth Archaeological Expedition of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History yesterday, two days before its conclusion, we experienced 50-mile-an-hour winds, four hours of driving in an open jeep from the landing strip to the campsite and back... and discovery which allows men like Phil Orr, Dick Finley and Ralph Colcord of the museum staff to spend months on the island working under the most difficult conditions...”