RETT, Egmont Zachary

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Egmont Zachary Rett
(1897-1963)
Egmont Zachary Rett (1897-1963)

RETT, Egmont Zachary (1897-1963), Colorado-born naturalist and ornithologist, formerly of the Denver Museum of Natural History, who came to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History in 1923 as curator of ornithology and mammalogy. Rett collected birds and mammals on the offshore islands for museum exhibits.

In 1930, Rett was invited to join the Chancellor-Stuart Field Museum of Natural History expedition to the Pacific island of Aitutaki. Co-leader, Philip M. Chancellor, was the young multi-millionaire-heir who financed the expedition, and Norton Stuart was a former curator at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, until his departure in 1928.

The May 1936 Leaflet reported Rett and William Hughes spent from March 17-March 27 on Santa Cruz Island “amid gales, downpours, and even hail storms” where they “sought shelter from the gale in an ancient tumble-down cabin on a high plateau in the very heart of the island.” [Buena Vista]. According to the report, “their temporary home proved a disappointment, for it consisted of large cracks, yet here, in filtered wind and stove less, the two established camp. It was not until five days had passed in utter misery, augmented by an experience with a skunk, that it was decided to beat a retreat.” “Coming in, three trips had been required; leaving, ingenuity born of misery reduced the packing to one high and precarious load.” The object of their expedition had been to collect for the museum specimens of the bird and mammal races endemic to Santa Cruz Island. In all, 67 birds and 17 mammals were collected. Their cabin was most probably the same cabin in which Ralph Hoffmann had stayed in May 1932: “About four miles west of the Main Ranch, a long slope leads to a plateau, above which rises Picacho Diablo. On the plateau is a cabin, built many years ago of poplar trees from a nearby canyon. The cabin is tenanted for most of the year only by white-footed mice ” Only scattered boards are evidence of this cabin today.

In 1945 Rett accompanied Phil Orr several times to San Nicolas Island in both spring and fall: March 7-19; March 26-April 12; and again for 9 days in September 1945. From March 15-28, 1951 Rett and Waldo Abbott did ornithological work on Santa Rosa Island “through the kindness of Mr. Ed Vail.” The museum’s annual report for the year 1963 stated: “There are no departments within the museum that have not had his gracious help and expert touch.” Rett died of a heart attack at age 66 [SS#568-42-3792].


Rett collected on:

  • San Clemente Island (1945)
  • San Nicolas Island (1945)
  • Santa Cruz Island (1936)
  • Santa Rosa Island (1951)


» Rett, Egmont Santa Cruz Island. March 17-28, 1936. Unpublished Field Notes. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara, CA. 1936

» Rett, Egmont A report on the birds of San Nicolas Island in Condor 49(4):165-168 July-August 1947

https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/condor/v049n04/p0165-p0168.pdf

» Rett, Egmont Additional Notes on the Birds of Santa Rosa Island, California in Condor 55(3):156 May-June 1953



Island Collections~
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
San Clemente Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG April 3, 1945 SBBG-77607 Atriplex lentiformis subsp. breweri Plants
San Clemente Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG April 10, 1945 SBBG-77608 Atriplex lentiformis subsp. breweri Plants
San Clemente Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG April 10, 1945 SBBG-77639 Atriplex semibaccata Plants
San Clemente Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG April 10, 1945 SBBG-78443 Erodium moschatum Plants
San Clemente Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG April 10, 1945 SBBG-80111 Bromus hordeaceus Plants



San Nicolas Island 3/19/1945 ROM birds

[3/7-19,1945]

[3/26-4/12/1945]

[3/22-30/1945]


ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 8, 1945 SBBG-77674 Abronia umbellata Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 8, 1945 SBBG-77675 Abronia umbellata Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 8, 1945 SBBG-79867 Achillea millefolium Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett SBBG March 9, 1945 SBBG-78361 Acmispon argophyllus var. argenteus Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 9, 1945 SBBG-78728 Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 9, 1945 SBBG-79036 Amsinckia spectabilis Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 12, 1945 SBBG-78495 Astragalus traskiae Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 9, 1945 SBBG-78729 Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 9, 1945 SBBG-78732 Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 13, 1945 SBBG-77989 Cakile edentula Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 13, 1945 SBBG-78730 Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 13, 1945 SBBG-79783 Ambrosia chamissonis Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 13, 1945 SBBG-79784 Ambrosia chamissonis Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 16, 1945 SBBG-77139 Avena fatua Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 16, 1945 SBBG-78824 Apium graveolens Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 16, 1945 SBBG-80117 Distichlis spicata Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett SBMNH March 17, 1945 SBMNH-9681 Eremophila alpestris Birds
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett SBMNH March 17, 1945 SBMNH-9682 Eremophila alpestris Birds
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBMNH March 18, 1945 SBBG-78008 Suaeda taxifolia Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett SBMNH March 19, 1945 SBBG-78249 Lupinus albifrons var. douglasii Birds
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 26, 1945 SBBG-77084 Lamarckia aurea Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 26, 1945 SBBG-77213 Eleocharis macrostachya Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 26, 1945 SBBG-79596 Baccharis pilularis subsp. consanguinea Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 26, 1945 SBBG-79757 Lasthenia gracilis Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett KU March 27, 1945 KU KUM-16039 Urocyon littoralis dickeyi Mammals
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 27, 1945 SBBG-77635 Atriplex leucophylla Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 27, 1945 SBBG-77213 Eleocharis macrostachya Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 27, 1945 SBBG-78727 Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 28, 1945 SBBG-78455 Erodium cicutarium Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 28, 1945 SBBG-78787 Daucus pusillus Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG March 28, 1945 SBBG-79755 Lasthenia gracilis Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG April 1, 1945 SBBG-78879 Calystegia macrostegia subsp. amplissima Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG April 2, 1945 SBBG-78360 Acmispon argophyllus var. argenteus Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG April 2, 1945 SBBG-79868 Achillea millefolium Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG April 11, 1945 SBBG-77637 Atriplex semibaccata Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG April 11, 1945 SBBG-78726 Camissoniopsis cheiranthifolia Plants
~ trip ~
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett SDNHM May 5, 1945 SDNHM-36334 Xantusia riversiana Herps
~ trip ~
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett SBMNH September 1945 SBMNH-OS-856 Urocyon littoralis Mammals
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett SBBG September 20, 1945 SBBG-79842 Amblyopappus pusillus Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett SBBG September 22, 1945 SBBG-79446 Malacothrix saxatilis var. implicata Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett SBBG September 22, 1945 SBBG-79544 Isocoma menziesii Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett SBBG September 22, 1945 SBBG-79887 Cotula coronopifolia Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG September 22, 1945 SBBG-79701 Deinandra clementina Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett and P. C. Orr SBBG September 22, 1945 SBBG-79904 Artemisia californica Plants
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett SBMNH September 25, 1945 SBMNH-147 Pheuticus melanocephalus Birds
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett (?) SBMNH September 27, 1945 SBMNH-9910 Carpodacus mexicanus Birds
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett (?) SBMNH September 27, 1945 SBMNH-9911 Carpodacus mexicanus Birds
~ trip ~
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett SDNHM December 2, 1945 SDNHM-36669 Xantusia riversiana Herps
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett SDNHM December 2, 1945 SDNHM-36670 Xantusia riversiana Herps
San Nicolas Island E. Z. Rett SDNHM December 2, 1945 SDNHM-36671 Xantusia riversiana Herps


Santa Cruz Island

3/18,20,23,28/1936 ROM birds

ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Santa Cruz Island Egmont Rett SBMNH March 21, 1936 SBMNH-30 Spilogale gracilis amphiala Mammals
Santa Cruz Island Egmont Rett SBMNH March 24, 1936 SBMNH-17 Spilogale gracilis amphiala Mammals
Santa Cruz Island Egmont Rett SBMNH March 24, 1936 SBMNH-31 Urocyon lirrotalis Mammals


Santa Rosa Island

3/17,18/1951 ROM birds




In the News~

September 20, 1929 [SBMP]: “Big sea lion is captured on Island for S. B. Museum. Egmont Rett has returned from Santa Cruz Island with the pelt of a 700-pound California sea lion which he will mount for a sea lion group in the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History to be installed and ready for exhibition to the public during December. Mr. Rett was aided in securing the huge creature by M. E. Rodehaver and E. K. Parker, the party making the trip in the Rodehaver boat. The sea lion was one of a herd of 30 which has made a rookery at Ruby Rock and had to be handled with a block and tackle. It measures 6-1/2 feet from the tip of its nose to its tail, or whatever part of its anatomy corresponds to a tail. The taxidermy shop of Rett brothers on Rancheria Street is a busy place just now, with 45 deer heads to be mounted and others coming in. The head and sword of a broadbill swordfish which is being mounted for Buell brothers, taken off Anacapa Island, has a sword three feet long. Two fine specimens of pronghorn antelopes are in the shop mounted and ready to be placed in the antelope group in the museum, to be ready for exhibition next month. The antelopes were secured by Egmont Rett in Lassen County last year. Belmore Brown has the background for the group partly finished. South African game trophies of Charles C. Thompson which have been displayed by Buell Brothers here, have just been returned there after having been sown two weeks in the Tufts-Lyon Arms Company store at Sixth and Olive streets in Los Angeles. Mr. Thompson is building a den for them at the 7 X Rancho in the north where they will eventually be housed. Rett brothers did the mounting.”


June 12, 1930 [LAT]: “Santa Barbaran with South Sea Expedition. San Francisco, June 11.—With Philip M. Chancellor, former Chicago newspaper man, in charge, an expedition of the Field Museum of Chicago sailed today for the remote South Pacific island of Aitutaki in search of natural rarities. Norton Stuart of Santa Barbara, a naturalist, went as co-leader. Other members of the expedition are Frederick Guntrip and Egmont Rett.”