SWARTH, Harry Schelwald

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Harry Schelwald Swarth

SWARTH, Harry Schelwald (1878-1935), born in Chicago, Illinois on January 26, 1878. Even as a young man growing up in Chicago, Swarth had an early interest in birds. He moved to Los Angeles in 1891, where he collected birds in southern California through 1916.


Directory of Members, Cooper Ornithological Club, May 1914:

  • Harry S. Swarth. Museum of History, Science and Art, Exposition Park, Los Angeles CA 1897.


Swarth collected on:

  • Anacapa Island (1899)
  • San Nicolas Island (1932)
  • Santa Barbara Island (1899)
  • Isla Guadalupe (1932)


His diary from his 1899 trip is at California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. From 1905-1908 Swarth was serving as an assistant in the Field Museum, Chicago, when Grinnell asked him to join the MVZ staff as Assistant Curator of birds. From 1910-1912 he was curator of birds in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology; and again in 1915-1927. In 1913-1915 he served as assistant director of the Museum of History, Science and Art, Los Angeles. In 1927 Swarth was appointed curator of the department of ornithology and mammalogy at the California Academy of Sciences. Swarth joined Templeton Crocker on his 1932 expedition to the Galapagos Islands. Enroute to pick up Swarth in San Diego aboard Zaca, Crocker stopped at San Nicolas Island on March 12, 1932 and collected a number of birds for Swarth to prepare later. These specimens are at California Academy of Sciences.

During his career, Swarth worked at the Field Columbian Museum in Chicago (1904-1908), the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Berkeley (1908-1913), the Museum of History, Science and Art in Los Angeles (1913-1916), and the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Berkeley (1916-1927). In 1927 Swarth was made curator of ornithology at California Academy of Sciences. During his career he was a frequent collaborator with Joseph Grinnell.

In 1910 Swarth married Grinnell’s sister-in-law, the younger sister of Grinnell’s wife Hilda. Swarth also served for eighteen years as associate editor of the Condor. Swarth died on October 22, 1935 in Berkeley. Loye Holmes Miller named the extinct Pleistocene falcon, Falco swarthi, in his honor. Swarth correspondence (1909-1923) is in the files of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Berkeley.


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

SWARTH, Harry Schelwald. “Born in Chicago, Illinois, January 26, 1878. An active and enthusiastic ornithologist who has carried on extensive work on the Pacific Coast, especially in Alaska, Arizona, British Columbia and various parts of California, and for the last 18 years has filled the position of associate editor of the Condor. He served as an assistant in the Field Museum of Chicago, from 1905 to 1908; curator of birds in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Berkeley, 1908-12 and 1915-27; assistant director of the Museum of History, Science and Art, Los Angeles, 1913-15; and in 1927 was appointed curator of the department of ornithology and mammalogy in the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco. Among his more important publications are the Birds of Arizona, 1914, several papers on the mammals and birds of British Columbia, and his revision of the Western Foz Sparrows of the genus Passerella, 1920. In recognition of his work, Prof. Loye Holmes Miller has named in his honor an extinct Falcon, Falco swarthi, from the Pleistocene asphalt of McKittrick, California.”



» Swarth, H. S. Black Oystercatcher on Anacapa Islands in Condor. Bulletin Cooper Ornith. Club 1(5):85, 1899

https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/condor/v001n05/p0085-p0085.pdf

» Swarth, H. S. A Study of the Status of Certain Island Forms of the Genus Salpinctes in Condor 16(5):211-217 September 1914

https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/condor/v016n05/p0211-p0217.pdf

» Swarth, H. S. The Pacific Coast Jays of the Genus Aphelecoma in Univ. Calif. Publ. in Zool., 17(13):405-422, 1918






Island Collections~
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Anacapa Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 4, 1899 CAS-34817 Haematopus bachmani Birds
Anacapa Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 4, 1899 CAS-34819 Haematopus bachmani Birds
Anacapa Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 4, 1899 CAS-39019 Haematopus bachmani Birds


San Nicolas Island

3/12/1932 CAS birds [T. Crocker; prepared by H. S. Swarth]

ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
San Nicolas Island H. S. Swarth CAS May 12, 1932 CAS-38121 Carpodacus mexicanus clementis Birds
San Nicolas Island H. S. Swarth CAS May 12, 1932 CAS-38122 Carpodacus mexicanus clementis Birds
San Nicolas Island H. S. Swarth CAS May 12, 1932 CAS-38123 Carpodacus mexicanus clementis Birds
San Nicolas Island H. S. Swarth CAS May 12, 1932 CAS-38124 Carpodacus mexicanus clementis Birds
San Nicolas Island H. S. Swarth CAS May 12, 1932 CAS-38137 Salpinctes obsoletus obsoletus Birds
San Nicolas Island H. S. Swarth CAS May 12, 1932 CAS-38138 Salpinctes obsoletus obsoletus Birds
San Nicolas Island H. S. Swarth CAS May 12, 1932 CAS-38152 Eremnophila alpestris insularis Birds



ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 8, 1889 CAS-34674 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 8, 1889 CAS-34675 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 8, 1889 CAS-34676 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 8, 1889 CAS-34677 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 8, 1889 CAS-34678 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 8, 1889 CAS-34679 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 8, 1889 CAS-38780 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 8, 1889 CAS-38781 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 8, 1889 CAS-38782 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 8, 1889 CAS-38783 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 8, 1889 CAS-38784 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 8, 1889 CAS-38785 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 8, 1889 CAS-38786 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 8, 1889 CAS-38787 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth MCZ June 8, 1889 MCZ-104390 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth WFVZ June 8, 1889 WFVZ-39343 Larus occidentalis Eggs
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 9, 1889 CAS-38788 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 9, 1889 CAS-34689 Ptychoramphus aleuticus aleuticus Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 9, 1889 CAS-38791 Cepphus columba columba Birds
Santa Barbara Island H. S. Swarth CAS June 9, 1889 CAS-38792 Cepphus columba columba Birds




In the News~

June 1, 1899 [H. S. Swarth diary]: “… In the evening Lee Chambers and Frank Haines left us, and walked back to Santa Monica, 24 miles, as they could not stay away any longer.