DICKEY, Donald Ryder “Dick”

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Donald Ryder “Dick” Dickey (1887-1932)
Donald Ryder “Dick” Dickey “Dick” (1887-1932)

DICKEY, Donald Ryder “Dick” (1887-1932), a 1910 Yale graduate, well-known photographer, ornithologist and biologist of his time, whose goal was to establish a research center for vertebrate zoology in southern California, and to build up a study collection of specimens with photographs and books. After graduation, Dickey moved to southern California, taking two years to recuperate from heart-related ill health. With his strength regained, Dickey went on to conduct extensive field work in not only California, but also in Canada, the mid-Pacific, Mexico and Central America. Ornithologist William Leon Dawson drew upon many of Dickey’s images in compiling his Birds of California, published in 1923.

By 1926 Dickey had amassed a sizable library, a collection of 60,000 specimens of mammals and birds, and thousands of photographic images. That year the California Institute of Technology at Pasadena assigned space for work in vertebrate zoology where Dickey’s specimens and library were established. Mention of Dickey’s work appeared in popular periodicals, including Outing, Recreation, Country Life in America, and The National Geographic. The name Dickey (dickeyi) is perpetuated in the systematic nomenclature of American fauna in ten birds and mammals.

Dickey died in Pasadena at the age of 43. His widow, Florence Van Vechten Dickey donated the Donald R. Dickey Collection of Birds and Mammals to the University of California, Los Angeles where it is housed in the Biomedical Library History & Special Collections.


Dickey collected on:

  • Anacapa Island (1913)
  • San Clemente Island (1915)
  • San Nicolas Island (1929)
  • Santa Catalina Island (1921)
  • Santa Cruz Island (1897, 1913)


Palmer, T. S. Nomenclature of California Birds in Condor 30(5):267-268 September-October 1928:

DICKEY, Donald Ryder. “Born at Dubuque, Iowa, March 31, 1887. An active and prominent ornithologist and patron of science of Pasadena, who has brought together a large private collection of west coast mammals and birds. With A. J. Van Rossem, he has undertaken a comprehensive survey of the mammals and birds of Salvador. He is an expert photographer and has made some wonderful motion pictures of the big game of New Brunswick and of the birds of Laysan Island. In recognition of his work a gigantic fossil goose from the Pleistocene asphalt of McKittrick, California, has been named Branta dickeyi by L. H. Miller, a Reddish Egret from Lower California has been dedicated to him by Van Rossem under the name Dichromanassa rufescens dickeyi, and a race of Poor-will from Lower California has been called Phalaenoptilus nuttallii dickeyi, by Grinnell.”



» Dickey, Donald R. and A. J. van Rossen The Validity of the Catalina Island Quail in Condor 24(1):34 January-February 1922

https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/condor/v024n01/p0034-p0034.pdf

» Dickey, D. R. and A. J. Van Rossem Additional notes from the coastal islands of Southern California in Condor 25(4):126-129 July-August 1923

https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/condor/v025n04/p0126-p0129.pdf

» Dickey, Donald R. The Spotted Skunk of the Channel Islands of Southern California in Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 42:157-160, April 4, 1929


» Harris, Harry An Appreciation of Donald Ryder Dickey in Condor 36(2):59-64 March-April 1934

https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/condor/v036n02/p0059-p0066.pdf


NOTES: museum leaflet Jan. 1928 w/ E. W. Nelson. Is this the Dickey of skunks?

Visited museum Feb. 18, 1928 again, this time with H. C. Oberholser of Bio. Survey.

Howland had lived on San Clemente Island for 15 years when A. B. Howell, Donald Dickey and L. Huey visited in 1915. (L. Kiff ‘Historical Changes in Raptor Populations’)




Island Collections~

Anacapa Island

5/24,25/1913 WFVZ eggs


ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Anacapa Island D. R. Dickey WFVZ May 24, 1913 WFVZ-63454 Pelecanus occidentalis Eggs
Anacapa Island D. R. Dickey WFVZ May 24, 1913 WFVZ-63455 Pelecanus occidentalis Eggs
Anacapa Island (Cat Rock) D. R. Dickey WFVZ May 25, 1913 WFVZ-11327 Brachyramphus hypoleucus Eggs
Anacapa Island D. R. Dickey WFVZ May 25, 1913 WFVZ-63682 Haematopus bachmani Eggs
Anacapa Island (Cat Rock) D. R. Dickey WFVZ May 25, 1913 YPM-145996 Synthilboramphus scripsii Birds
Anacapa Island D. R. Dickey YPM May 25, 1913 YPM-145996 Synthliboramphus hypoleucus Birds
Anacapa Island D. R. Dickey WFVZ June 22, 1913 WFVZ-63122 Cepphus columba Eggs



ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
San Clemente Island D. R. Dickey UCLA March 29, 1915 UCLA-370 Urocyon littoralis clementae Mammals
San Clemente Island D. R. Dickey UCLA March 29, 1915 UCLA-371 Urocyon littoralis clementae Mammals
San Clemente Island D. R. Dickey WFVZ April 4, 1915 WFVZ-64410 Eremophila alpestris Eggs
San Clemente Island D. R. Dickey WFVZ April 4, 1915 WFVZ-64411 Eremophila alpestris Eggs
San Clemente Island D. R. Dickey PSM April 9, 1915 PSM-15351 Eremophila alpestris Birds


ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
San Nicolas Island A. J. Van Rossem & D. R. Dickey MCZ February 24, 1929 MCZ-255855 Eremophila alpestris insularis Birds
San Nicolas Island A. J. Van Rossem & D. R. Dickey MCZ February 24, 1929 MCZ-255856 Eremophila alpestris insularis Birds


Santa Catalina Island

2/16-18/1921


ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Santa Cruz Island R. H. Beck & D. R. Dickey MCZ May 13, 1897 MCZ-101821 Eremophila alpestris insularis Birds
Santa Cruz Island R. H. Beck & D. R. Dickey MCZ May 13, 1897 MCZ-101822 Eremophila alpestris insularis Birds
Santa Cruz Island (Painted Cave) D. R. Dickey WFVZ June 23, 1913 WFVZ-64273 Oceanodroma homochroa Birds