Pasadena Academy of Sciences

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Pasadena Academy of Sciences was organized in January 1886 at the home of Honorable Delos Arnold, attorney and former Iowa State Senator. Arnold was a passionate fossil collector, and the goal of the Academy was to house the collections of its members in a new wing attached to the Pasadena Public Library. Collections included Indian relics, rocks and minerals, shells, plants, birds, etc., but the wing was never built. Some years were more active than others, and in the spring of 1897, its members generously supported a three-week trip to the Channel Islands. Participant Joseph Grinnell had an opportunity to study the birds of several islands, which resulted in the Academy’s first publication in March 1898. Its second was also based on Grinnell’s work. The third and last publication was a study of Pasadena’s milk and water supply.

[original in SCIF archives]

  • 1898. Hoag, E. B. Pasadena’s Milk and Water Supply Pasadena Academy of Sciences No. 3 June 1898

Review: “Grinnell on the Birds of Santa Barbara, San Nicolas and San Clemente Islands, California.— This 'Report' forms the first of a series of papers giving the results of the work of a scientific exploring party to the southern Santa Barbara Islands, sent out by the Pasadena Academy of Sciences, in charge of Mr. Grinnell, and mainly through the generosity of Mr. Halett C. Merritt. It also is noteworthy as forming the first brochure of this young Academy. Mr. Grinnell was assisted in his ornithological work by Mr. Horace Gaylord. The report is based on the field notes of the party and on a collection of 450 birds' skins and many eggs, and consists of four separate lists, as follows: (1) 'THe Land-Birds observed [May 13-18] on Santa Barbara Island,' numbering 14 species; (2) 'Land-Birds observed [May 19-26] on San Nicolas Island,' numbering 9 species; (3) 'Land-Birds observed [May 29-June 7] on San Clemente Island,' numbering 24 species. These lists are quite fully annotated, and give much interesting information regarding the breeding habits of many of the species observed. One new species (Pipilo clementae) Grinnell, described in this journal (Vol. XIV, p. 294), was secured, and it is suggested that the Rock Wren observed on San Nicolas Island is worthy of separation from the mainland bird "as a new species." The trip was made during the interval from May 11 to June 9, but the birds observed on a previous trip to San Clemente, March 26 to April 4, are also included. The notes on several of the Water Birds are of special interest. — J.A.A.” Auk 15 (1): 73, January 1898

In the News~

January 30, 1897 [LAT/P]: “The Pasadena Academy of Sciences was duly organized this evening at Throop Hall. The business meeting was preceded by some discussion of scientific subjects. Professor C. F. Holder gave an interesting address upon ‘Deep Sea Life’…He also touched upon the discoveries made at San Clemente Island and showed a number of skulls and utensils exhumed from an Indian grave.”

April 10, 1897 [LAT/P]: “The regular meeting of the Pasadena Academy of Sciences was one of more than usual interest. The subject of discussion was the trip to Catalina and San Clemente from which Professor Hoag and some Throop students have just returned…The birds of San Clemente were studied and trapped by Joe Grinnell, who read a very interesting paper on his observations…”

May 9, 1897 [LAT]: “The Pasadena Academy of Sciences met at Throop Institute last Friday evening. The meeting was one of special interest. For some time the academy has been attempting to raise money to send an expedition to San Clemente and San Nicolas islands…The work will consist of collecting birds, mammals, insects and Indian relics, and the party will spend at least a month on the islands…”

May 11, 1897 [LAT]: “The expedition under the auspices of the [Pasadena] Academy of Sciences will leave tomorrow (Tuesday) for scientific research on the Santa Barbara islands. A schooner has been chartered, and fully equipped. The party will consist of Joseph Grinnell, Horace Gaylord, Harry Galyord and James Britton. They will probably be joined later by Professor Hoag of Throop, and F. S. Daggett. The plan is to spend the first week on Santa Barbara Island, the second on San Nicolas, and about two weeks on San Clemente.”

May 31, 1897 [LAT/P]: “Harry D. Gaylord, one of the members of the expedition sent out under the auspices of the [Pasadena] Academy of Sciences, returned this morning from San Clemente Island. The other members of the party are still at the island, where Mr. Gaylord will rejoin them within a few days, having come back to Pasadena only to be present at the exercises of Memorial Day. Santa Barbara Island and San Nicolas Island were visited by the party, and at the latter, many interesting Indian relics were found. Three species of birds new to this coast have been discovered. The expedition is meeting with much success in its researches, and Mr. Gaylord speaks with enthusiasm of the work already accomplished.”

June 4, 1897 [LAT/P]: “Harry Gaylord will return tomorrow (Friday) to San Clemente Island to rejoin the expedition sent out by the Pasadena Academy of Sciences.”

June 5, 1897 [LAT/P]: “Some important scientific researches are being made by the expedition sent out three weeks ago to Santa Barbara, San Nicolas and San Clemente islands by the Pasadena Academy of Sciences. At the meeting of the Academy held this evening, Professor Hoag read a letter from Joseph Grinnell who is at the head of the expedition… About 300 birds, 200 mammals and several hundred insects have been collected. A large number of Indian skulls and skeletons have been exhumed, and many stone mortars, pestles and primitive trinkets and jewelry have been found…”

June 5, 1897 [LAT]: “The scientific researches which are being carried on by the Pasadena Academy of Sciences on San Clemente and other islands off the southern California coast, promise to give results of an unusual interest. These islands are practically virgin soil and are mot only rich in archaeological remains, but also contain many new varieties of animals and vegetable life. It is probable that a second expedition may follow the present one.”

June 9, 1897 [LAT]: “The Pasadena Academy of Sciences is to be commended for taking up the work of scientific research on the channel islands. Southern California offers a rich field for students of the "ologies".”

June 11, 1897 [LAT/P]: “Messrs. H. D. Gaylord, Joseph Grinnell, J. R. Britton and Horace Gaylord of the Pasadena Academy of Sciences expedition to the Santa Barbara islands, returned late last night, bringing back many interesting and valuable relics. They have been gone thirty days and their finds were so valuable that another expedition will be sent out within a few days... A hermit was found living on San Clemente. Otherwise the islands are uninhabited.”