GIFFORD, Edward Winslow

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Edward Winslow Gifford

GIFFORD, Edward Winslow (1887-1959), born in Oakland California, at age seventeen he was the youngest member to participate in the 1905-1906 California Academy of Sciences expedition to the Galapagos. Enroute to Ecuador in 1905, they stopped and collected on the Mexican islands of: San Martin, San Geronimo, San Benito, Cedros, Natividad, San Benedicto, Socorro and Clipperton islands.

With only a high school education, Gifford went on to become a full professor at UC Berkeley and the director of its Museum of Anthropology. He collected five specimens of the arboreal salamander on Southeast Farallon Island from June 15-July 1, 1911.

Edward Winslow Gifford = [1913] Delila Sarah Giffen (1888-1983)

Gifford died on May 16, 1959 in Paradise, Butte County, California.

The 1905-1906 California Academy of Sciences Galapagos expedition visited multiple Baja California islands, including:

  • Isla San Martin, July 11, 1905
  • Isla Geronimo, July 13, 1905
  • Isla San Benito, July 14-17, 1905
  • Isla Cedros, July 18, 1905
  • Isla Natividad, July 19, 1905

Expedition participants included:

Gifford collected on:


» Gifford, E. W. Californian Bone Artifacts in University of California Anthropological Records 3:2 (153-237), 1940

» Gifford, E. W. Californian Shell Artifacts in University of California Anthropological Records 9:1 (1-114), 1947

In the News~

“A distinguished and productive career in anthropology was brought to an end May 16, 1959, with the death of Edward Winslow Gifford, Professor-Emeritus at the University of California (Berkeley), and Director-Emeritus of the University's Museum of Anthropology. Edward Gifford was born August 14, 1887, in Oakland, California, and was educated in that city, where his formal studies ended with a High School diploma. In 1903 he made his first field trip, as student conchologist on the California Academy of Sciences expedition to Revillagigedo Island, Mexico. From 1904 to 1912 he served as Assistant, and subsequently Assistant Curator in the Academy's Department of Ornithology. His second field trip was as ornithologist in the ACademy's 1905-1906 expedition to the Galapagos Islands. Like all members of both expeditions, he helped work the ship, the schooner Academy, and so qualifies as one of the very few American anthropologists who have literally "shipped before the mast." The meticulous attention to accuracy and the skill in observation which characterized Gifford's field work throughout his life were shown by an episode on the Galapagos expedition. He described how the Pallid Tree Finch, when unable to reach an insect in the bark of a tree, took a thorn or twig to pry out the victim. This astonishing report of a tool-using bird was dismissed by most ornithologists as the fancy of an imaginative 18-year-old. Not until 1940, when motion pictures of the bird at work were brought back, was Gifford's early report accepted as correct. In 1912 Gifford was named Assistant Curator of the Museum of Anthropology of the University of California, thus beginning a period of association which extended over 47 years, until the time of his death. In 1915 he was advanced to Associate Curator, and in 1925 to Curator. In 1947 he was named Director of the Museum although, as Curator, he had for many years previously been the executive head of its activities. Meanwhile, the University recognized that Gifford’s potential contribution was much broader than in Museum work alone, and in 1920 he was appointed Lecturer in Anthropology. From that time, until his retirement in 1955, there were few years when students did not profit by his factual, concise, and well-organized lectures. In 1938 he was made Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, and in 1945 he was promoted to the full professorship, thus becoming one of very few men in this country to achieve such distinction without ever having gone to college... ” [American Anthropologist 62: (327-329), 1960 ]


Isla Natividad E. W. GIFFORD CAS July 19, 1905 CAS-2909 Pandion haliaetus Birds

Isla San Martin E. W. GIFFORD CAS July 11, 1905 CAS-2905 Pandion haliaetus Birds
Isla San Martin E. W. Gifford CAS July 11, 1905 CAS-2910 Pandion haliaetus Birds
Isla San Martin E. W. GIFFORD CAS July 11, 1905 CAS-2911 Pandion haliaetus Birds