TOWNSEND, Charles Haskins

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Charles Haskins Townsend
Unity Cemetery, Latrobe, PA
Coyote in the Smithsonian described as having been collected on Santa Rosa Island by C. H. Townsend.

TOWNSEND, Charles Haskins (1859-1944), born Sept. 29, 1859, at Parnassus, Pa., the son of Rev. D. W. and Elizabeth (Kier) Townsend. He was educated at public and private schools (hon. Sc.D., Washington and Jefferson College, 1909). In 1883 Townsend received an appointment from Spencer Baird as Assistant in the U. S. Fish Commission. For the next two decades Townsend, who was particularly interested in ornithology and marine mammals, served in various capacities and collected in many remote places. In 1884 he made an extensive cruise along the Pacific coast of Lower California searching for specimens of the Northern elephant seal. Townsend was naturalist on the steamer Corwin in 1885 on an Arctic expedition; and naturalist aboard the steamer Albatross from 1886 to 1896. In the winter of 1899 Townsend visited the islands of both Upper and Lower California aboard the U.S. Fish Commission steamer Albatross.


Townsend collected specimens, presumably from the U.S.S. Thomas Corwin, on


Townsend collected specimens on five of the California islands while on U.S.S. Albatross expeditions:

——————


In a surprising find, an undated coyote skull collected by Townsend is tagged as having been collected on Santa Rosa Island. There are no coyotes known from any of the California Channel Islands.


Townsend described several new species and subspecies, including Santa Barbara Island song sparrow and Island horned lark, San Clemente Song Sparrow and Dusky Warbler. Townsend was also devoted to the fur seal problem and served as a member of the Fur Seal Commission in 1896-1897. In 1911 he again investigated locations of elephant seals aboard the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries' ship, Albatross. Townsend’s shearwater (Puffinus auricularis) is named in his honor. He served as director of the New York Aquarium 1902-1937.

Townsend was married to Ella Calista Bean (1858-1935). They had no children. He outlived his wife by nine years. Townsend died on January 28, 1944 at Coral Gables, Florida. He is buried in Unity Cemetery, Latrobe, PA next to his wife.


An autobiographical sketch containing an interesting account of his activities appeared in the Condor for September, 1927, pp. 224-232:

TOWNSEND, Charles Haskins “Born at Parnassus, Pennsylvania, September 29, 1859. In 1883 Townsend received an appointment as Assistant in the U.S. Fish Commission and during the next 20 years served in various capacities and collected in many remote places.He was naturalist on the Arctic Expedition of the steamer Corwin in 1885, naturalist on the steamer Albatross from 1886 to 1896, and accompanied the vessel on her voyage from the Atlantic to the Pacific in 1888, visited the Galapagos Islands, the Pribilof Islands, the Kowak River and many out-of-the-way places in Alaska. He devoted much attention to the Fur Seal problem and served as a member of the Fur Seal Commission in 1896-97. After serving five years as chief of the Division of Fisheries he was detailed as Fishery Expert in the Russo-American Arbitration Commission as the Hague in 1902. During the last 26 years he has been Director of the New York Aquarium. While stationed on the Pacific Coast he published several papers on birds, the most important being his Field Notes on the Mammals, Birds and Reptiles of Northern California, consisting of an annotated list of abut 80 pages on the species found at Mt. Lassen, Mt. Shasta and Humboldt Bay, and his Birds from the Coasts of Western North America and Adjacent Islands Collected in 1888-89. During his assignment as Naturalist on the Albatross he gave special attention to the Petrels and at various times described several new species and subspecies of California birds, including the Socorro Petrel (Oceanodroma socorroensis) which is common off San Diego, the Santa Barbara Song Sparrow (Melospiza m. graminea) from Santa Barbara Island, and the Island Horned Lark (Otocoris a. insularis), San Clemente Song Sparrow (Melospiza m. clementae) and the Dusky Warbler (Vermivora c. sordida) from San Clemente Island. His name occurs in Junco hyemalis townsendi from the San Pedro Martir Mountains, Lower California, and in Oceanodroma townsendi, a synonym of the Black Petrel (O. melania), which occurs off the coasts of Lower California and southern California.”


  • 1890. Townsend, Charles H. Scientific Results on Explorations by the U.S. Fish Commission Steamer Albatross. No. XIV. Birds from the coasts of western North America and adjacent islands, collected in 1888-89, with descriptions of new species. Proc. U.S. Natl. Mus., (131-142)
[SIGNED original in SCIF archives]




Contains an account of the rediscovery of a herd of these animals on Guadalupe Island.
[SIGNED original in SCIF archives]





[original in SCIF archives]


  • 1941. Townsend, Charles H. Old Times with the Birds: Autobiographical The Condor 29(5):224-232, September-October 1927




FARALLON ISLANDS
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Farallon Islands C. H. Townsend NMNH September 4, 1884 USNM-100058 Fratercula cirrhata Birds
Farallon Islands C. H. Townsend NMNH September 6, 1884 USNM-100063 Fratercula cirrhata Birds
Farallon Islands C. H. Townsend NMNH September 6, 1884 USNM-100206 Ceryle alcyon caurina Birds
Farallon Islands C. H. Townsend NMNH September 10, 1884 USNM-100065 Fratercula cirrhata Birds
Farallon Islands C. H. Townsend NMNH September 10, 1884 USNM-100066 Fratercula cirrhata Birds
Farallon Islands C. H. Townsend NMNH September 15, 1884 USNM-100090 Diomedea nigripes Birds
~ trip ~
Farallon Islands C. H. Townsend NMNH November 15, 1884 USNM-16972 Fratercula cirrhata Birds


SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH May 8, 1888 USNM-117604 Thyromanes bewickii leucophrys Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH May 8, 1888 USNM-117605 Thyromanes bewickii leucophrys Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH May 8, 1888 USNM-117607 Vermivora celata sordida Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH May 8, 1888 USNM-117610 Carpodacus mexicanus clementis Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH May 8, 1888 USNM-117611 Carpodacus mexicanus clementis Birds
San Clemente Island unknown - C. H. Townsend? NMNH May 8, 1888 USNM-149941 Carpodacus mexicanus clementis Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH May 8, 1888 USNM-149942 Thyromanes bewickii leucophrys Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH May 8, 1888 USNM-149943 Thyromanes bewickii leucophrys Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH May 8, 1888 USNM-149944 Calypte costae Birds
San Clemente Island unknown- C. H. Townsend? USNM May 8, 1888 USNM-15167 Uta stansburiana elegans Herps
San Clemente Island unknown - C. H. Townsend? USNM May 8, 1888 USNM-15168 Uta stansburiana elegans Herps
San Clemente Island unknown - C. H. Townsend? USNM May 8, 1888 USNM-15169 Uta stansburiana elegans Herps
San Clemente Island unknown - C. H. Townsend? USNM May 8, 1888 USNM-15170 Uta stansburiana elegans Herps
San Clemente Island unknown - C. H. Townsend? USNM May 8, 1888 USNM-15171 Uta stansburiana elegans Herps
San Clemente Island unknown - C. H. Townsend? USNM May 8, 1888 USNM-15175 Uta stansburiana elegans Herps
San Clemente Island unknown - C. H. Townsend? USNM May 8, 1888 USNM-15166 Xantusia riversiana Herps
San Clemente Island unknown - C. H. Townsend? USNM May 8, 1888 USNM-15172 Xantusia riversiana Herps
San Clemente Island unknown - C. H. Townsend? USNM May 8, 1888 USNM-15173 Xantusia riversiana Herps
San Clemente Island unknown - C. H. Townsend? USNM May 8, 1888 USNM-15174 Xantusia riversiana Herps
~ trip ~
San Clemente Island unknown - C. H. Townsend? USNM January 23, 1889 USNM-15938 Uta stansburiana elegans Herps
San Clemente Island unknown - C. H. Townsend? NMNH January 23, 1889 USNM-15939 Uta stansburiana elegans Herps
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 25, 1889 USNM-18279 Urocyon littoralis clementae Mammals
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 25, 1889 USNM-117601 Thyromanes bewickii leucophrys Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 25, 1889 USNM-117602 Thyromanes bewickii leucophrys Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 25, 1889 USNM-117603 Thyromanes bewickii leucophrys Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 25, 1889 USNM-117606 Vermivora celata sordida Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 25, 1889 USNM-117608 Carpodacus mexicanus clementis Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 25, 1889 USNM-117609 Carpodacus mexicanus clementis Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 25, 1889 USNM-117612 Amphispiza bellii clementae clementae Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 25, 1889 USNM-117620 Melospiza melodia clementae Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 25, 1889 USNM-117628 Athene cunicularia Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 25, 1889 USNM-117629 Athene cunicularia Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 25, 1889 USNM-117671 Eremophila alpestris insularis Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 25, 1889 USNM-117672 Eremophila alpestris insularis Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 25, 1889 USNM-117673 Eremophila alpestris insularis Birds
San Clemente Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 25, 1889 USNM-117674 Eremophila alpestris insularis Birds


SAN NICOLAS ISLAND

1/25/1889 NMNH birds

ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
San Nicolas Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 18, 1889 USNM-117675 Eremophila alpestris insularis Birds
San Nicolas Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 18, 1889 USNM-117676 Eremophila alpestris insularis Birds
San Nicolas Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 18, 1889 USNM-117677 Eremophila alpestris insularis Birds
San Nicolas Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 18, 1889 USNM-117678 Eremophila alpestris insularis Birds


SANTA BARBARA ISLAND
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Santa Barbara Island C. H. Townsend NMNH February 13, 1889 USNM-117631 Carpodacus mexicanus clementis Birds
Santa Barbara Island C. H. Townsend NMNH February 13, 1889 USNM-117634 Melospiza melodia graminea Birds


SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

4/14/1911 CAS herps


ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Santa Cruz Island C. H. Townsend NMNH February 6, 1889 USNM-117650 Aphelocoma insularis Birds
Santa Cruz Island C. H. Townsend NMNH February 6, 1889 USNM-117651 Aphelocoma insularis Birds
Santa Cruz Island C. H. Townsend NMNH February 6, 1889 USNM-117652 Aphelocoma insularis Birds
Santa Cruz Island C. H. Townsend NMNH February 6, 1889 USNM-117656 Aphelocoma insularis Birds
Santa Cruz Island C. H. Townsend NMNH February 6, 1889 USNM-117657 Eremophila alpestris insularis Birds
Santa Cruz Island C. H. Townsend NMNH February 7, 1889 USNM-117639 Salpinctes obsoletus obsoletus Birds
Santa Cruz Island C. H. Townsend NMNH February 7, 1889 USNM-117640 Salpinctes obsoletus obsoletus Birds
Santa Cruz Island C. H. Townsend NMNH February 7, 1889 USNM-117641 Thyromanes beweckii nesophilus Birds
Santa Cruz Island C. H. Townsend NMNH February 7, 1889 USNM-117642 Vermivora celata sordida Birds
Santa Cruz Island C. H. Townsend NMNH February 7, 1889 USNM-117643 Vireo huttoni huttoni Birds
Santa Cruz Island C. H. Townsend NMNH February 7, 1889 USNM-117655 Aphelocoma insularis Birds


SANTA ROSA ISLAND
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN DEPARTMENT
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend NMNH nd USNM A-25180 Canis latrans ochropus Mammals [coyote!]
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 7, 1889 USNM-18278 Urocyon littoralis santarosae Mammals
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 7, 1889 USNM-117658 Erimophila alpestris insularis Birds
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 7, 1889 USNM-117659 Vermivora celata sordida Birds
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 7, 1889 USNM-117661 Carpodacus mexicanus clementis Birds
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 7, 1889 USNM-117660 Carpodacus mexicanus clementis Birds
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend NMNH January 7, 1889 USNM-117661 Carpodacus mexicanus clementis Birds
~ trip ~
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend AMNH April 8, 1890 AMNH-757734 Thryomanes bewickii charienturus' Birds
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend AMNH April 8, 1890 AMNH-757735 Thryomanes bewickii charienturus' Birds
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend AMNH April 8, 1890 SKIN-761217 Carpodacus mexicanus frontalis Birds
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend AMNH April 8, 1890 AMNH-761922 Pipilo erythrophthalmus oregonus Birds
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend AMNH April 8, 1890 AMNH-763612 Melospiza melodia clementae Birds
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend AMNH April 8, 1890 AMNH-95289 Eremophila alpestris Birds
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend AMNH April 8, 1890 AMNH-95304 Spizella passerina arizonae Birds
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend AMNH April 8, 1890 AMNH-95309 Pipilo maculatus Birds
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend CMNH April 8, 1890 Carnegie MNH-125021 Eremophila alpestris Birds
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend CMNH April 8, 1890 Carnegie MNH-125022 Melospiza melodia Birds
~ trip ~
Santa Rosa Island C. H. Townsend NMNH December 15, 1891 USNM-19850 Urocyon littoralis santarosae Mammals



ISLA GUADALUPE
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN DEPARTMENT
Isla Guadalupe C. H. Townsend NMNH May 23, 1892 USNM-A38208 Mirounga angustirostris Mammals
Isla Guadalupe C. H. Townsend NMNH May 23, 1892 USNM-A38234 Mirounga angustirostris Mammals
Isla Guadalupe C. H. Townsend NMNH May 23, 1892 USNM-A38285 Mirounga angustirostris Mammals
~ trip ~
Isla Guadalupe P. I. Osburn & C. H. Townsend NMNH March 1, 1911 USNM-305907 Carpodacus amplus Birds
Isla Guadalupe C. H. Townsend NMNH March 2, 1911 USNM-305763 Oceanodroma leucorhoa Birds
Isla Guadalupe P. I. Osburn & C. H. Townsend NMNH March 2, 1911 USNM-305903 Carpodacus amplus Birds
Isla Guadalupe P. I. Osburn & C. H. Townsend NMNH March 2, 1911 USNM-305904 Carpodacus amplus Birds
Isla Guadalupe P. I. Osburn & C. H. Townsend NMNH March 2, 1911 USNM-305905 Carpodacus amplus Birds
Isla Guadalupe P. I. Osburn & C. H. Townsend NMNH March 2, 1911 USNM-305906 Carpodacus amplus Birds
Isla Guadalupe P. I. Osburn & C. H. Townsend NMNH March 2, 1911 USNM-305908 Carpodacus amplus Birds
Isla Guadalupe P. I. Osburn & C. H. Townsend NMNH March 2, 1911 USNM-305909 Carpodacus amplus Birds
Isla Guadalupe C. H. Townsend NMNH March 2, 1911 USNM-32676 Mirounga angustirostris Mammals
Isla Guadalupe C. H. Townsend NMNH March 2, 1911 USNM-32677 Mirounga angustirostris Mammals
Isla Guadalupe C. H. Townsend NMNH March 2, 1911 USNM-32678 Mirounga angustirostris Mammals
Isla Guadalupe C. H. Townsend NMNH March 2, 1911 USNM-32679 Mirounga angustirostris Mammals
Isla Guadalupe C. H. Townsend NMNH March 2, 1911 USNM-34776 Mirounga angustirostris Mammals
Isla Guadalupe C. H. Townsend NMNH March 2, 1911 USNM-34877 Mirounga angustirostris Mammals



In the News~

June 21, 1883 [SBDP]: “Voyage of the King. The sloop Ocean King, Captain A. Larco commanding, has returned from a pleasure trip well worth special mention. The vessel was chartered by a party of the citizens of Ventura and was provisioned for a seventeen days cruise. Captain Larco had prepared his boat in nice shape so that ample sleeping accommodations could be obtained. An extract from the log of the King shows that she left Ventura June 13th and arrived at Anacapa on the same day, and sailed on to Santa Cruz Island arriving there at 10 next morning. After two days devoted to fishing and rambling on Anacapa and Santa Cruz, the excursion set sail for Santa Catalina Island, arriving there at 9 A.M. June 16th… The excursionists included F. W. Baker, Sr., L. C. Holloway, James Wolfson, W. E. Shepperd, C. H. Townsend, J. G. Jessup, J. B. Wagner, Ed. M. Sheridan, Frank C. Hatch of New York, and Ernest C. Wagner…”


March 22, 1885 [NYT]: “Mr. Van Dorous, a veteran whaler, called at the Chronicle office yesterday and exhibited the preserved head of an enormous sea elephant captured by him some weeks ago on the Lower California coast…Van Dorous was mate on the Laura for the past four months cruising in southern waters in the interest of the Smithsonian Institution at Washington… Mr. Townsend, a taxidermist connected with the Smithsonian Institution, was on the Laura, and he secured many valuable specimens of fish, flesh and fowl…”


February 5, 1889 [SBDI]: “The National City Record, of San Diego County, gives the following description of the Albatross and her work: The Albatross is commanded by Captain Tanner, and is in service of the United States Fish Commission. She will make a trip to the Santa Barbara Islands, and other large islands here. This trip will occupy about a month, when she will return here for coal, then go south and explore the waters of the Gulf of California… Professor Gilbert is in charge of the scientific department, and is ably assisted by Professor Townsend… The Albatross is lighted by electricity, and has all the modern appliances for comfort and accuracy.”


November 7, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “California sea elephant, the largest of the seal species, is almost extinct… In 1884 C. H. Townsend visited Santa Barbara Island for the express purpose of preserving for the National Museum, the skins and skeletons of what were supposed to be the last survivors of the species, then about to be killed by a seal-hunter for their oil. The result was that at the eleventh hour a number of very valuable skins and skeletons were saved for the zoological museums of the world…”


March 7, 1911 [LAT]: San Diego. Returning today from a six day cruise as far as the Guadalupe Island, the scientific expedition of the Smithsonian Institution brought on the Albatross six rare specimens of southern waters known as sea elephants. Dr. C. H. Townsend, in charge of the expedition, states that the specimens in New York are worth at least $20,000… Dr. Townsend states that it is his intention to ship the young sea elephants to New York…”


March 11, 1911 [LAT]: “Davie Jones' locker gives up long nosed seals, long supposed extinct, which are valued at $20,000 each. San Diego, March 10—Science is to be enriched almost beyond calculation by the efforts of a party of investigators aboard the steamship Albatross of the United States Fisheries Commission, which is cruising off the coast of Lower California in waters practically unexplored heretofore by seekers after strange specimens of marine life. The Albatross, after a cruise of eight days, brought to this port this week a valuable collection of biological and zoological specimens, some of them unclassified for the reason that they are new; others so rare that their existence had been in doubt. In charge of the expedition is Dr. C. H. Townsend, chief curator of the American Museum of Natural History, New York, a special commissioner of the New York aquarium. The crew of the Albatross numbers 71 persons. The commander is Captain G. H. Burrage, U.S.N. Perhaps the most interesting specimens of animal life taken by the expedition were six sea elephants, an almost extinct species of giant seals, estimated to be worth $120,000. These giant mammals, known to scientists as Macrorhinus angustirostris, were captured alive on Guadalupe Island, about 250 miles south of San Diego. The prolonged nose of the adult male into the erectile elastic proboscis and the enormous size of this species of seals are distinguishing marks. This is the first time that the sea elephant has been captured. As offers of $20,000 for a living sea elephant had failed to bring results, zoologists considered it probable that the species was extinct. The living sea elephants, properly crated and accompanied by an attendant, were shipped by express to the Museum of Natural History of New York. At stations along the route they will be fed live fish. After attending to the shipments of the specimens taken on their first trip, the research party sailed for another cruise along the south coast. On this trip, which will last about two months, it will give special attention to deep sea dredging in quest of specimens and to photographing plant and animal life at great depths by means of a new device, with which it is expected to obtain results never before achieved.”


March 14, 1911 [NYT]: “First sea elephants here. There arrived here yesterday at the Aquarium six young and lively sea elephants, the first of their kind to be exhibited in the big building on Battery. They came all the way from San Diego, California in crates, a six day journey, during which they had nothing to eat and nothing to drink. They stood the trip well, and when placed in the big tank in the Aquarium, raced around their new home, to the great delight of a large crowd of children and grown-ups… These sea elephants were captured by the expedition sent out by the American Museum of Natural History and the New York Zoological Society, headed by Dr. Charles H. Townsend…”


April 24, 1911 [NYT]: Dr. Charles H. Townsend, who has been exploring the country around Cape St. Lucas in Lower California, sent yesterday to the Bronx Zoo, two baskets aroused considerable interest. One contained fifty assorted specimens of wonderful blued lizards, including a slim fawn-colored reptile that utters a mournful cry when its tail is pulled. The second basket contained an assortment of squirming snakes, including a red rattler…”


June 11, 1911 [WP]: “U.S.S. Albatross makes a voyage into Gulf of California. The United States steamer, Albatross, with a corps of scientific men on board, has just completed an unusually interesting expedition down the southern California peninsula, and back to San Francisco. The party, in addition to the chief, Dr. C. H. Townsend, acting director of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, included Dr. J. N. Rose of the National Museum in Washington, botanist… Several elephant seals were killed at Guadalupe Island and put in brine, while six of the younger animals, four males and two females, were captured alive…”


July 29, 1911 [Hawaiian Star]: “Elephant Seal Captured. Several of the adult elephant seals were killed at Guadalupe Island, brought aboard the ship and put in brine, while six of the younger animals, four males and two females, were captured alive. The adult elephant is about twenty-two feet long and has a snout or nose closely resembling the trunk of the elephant, from which it derives its name...


September 7, 1911 [Courier Democrat]: “The New York aquarium also has on exhibition a small herd of elephant seals, which are rarely seen in captivity. The accompanying photograph was secured by Dr. Charles H. Townsend, who is now in charge of a scientific expedition on the steamship Albatross in the interest of the New York Zoological society and the New York aquarium and who captured the seals on Guadalupe Island, 250 miles off the southern coast of the Argentine [Mexican] Republic. The photograph of the adult male shown here is especially interesting, as it portrays the remarkable elephant-like proboscis, a characteristic of the male only, which can be expanded at will.”


June 7, 1912 [Watertown Weekly]: “Found herd of rare seals. The elephant variety, once common, now said to be almost extinct. One of the noteworthy results of a recent expedition on the government steamer Albatross was the discovery of a band of elephant seals. The expedition was commanded by Dr. Charles Townsend of the New York aquarium, and was sent out under the auspices of the New York Zoological Society and the Museum of Natural History, New York. The animals were found on the uninhabited island of Guadalupe, 20 [?] miles off the coast of San Diego. The party captured alive six baby elephant seals, which were sent to the New York Aquarium, where they are attracting great attention. Four skins of large adults were obtained more than sixteen feet long for a museum group. The remarkable elephant-like proboscis is as log at the head. The maximum length of the adult male is twenty-two feet. The female, which is smaller, lacks a proboscis. The short proboscis, or "trunk, has the nostril openings at the end and can be [_____ illegible] male elephant seal fights desperately as the scars on their necks and breasts bear evidence. They have formidable teeth and send forth guttural roars which can be heard at a considerable distance. Unlike the fur seal, the elephant seal is a wonderful producing animal, having a deep layer of blubber six or eight inches thick; the oil is even superior to whale oil. Fifty years ago elephant seals were abundant, but owing to their wholesale slaughter to obtain the valuable oil for commercial purposes by the sealers, the species is now approaching extinction.”


July 30, 1913 [Marion Star]: “A herd of elephant seals is discovered. Only rookery of the animals known to exist. Guadalupe Island has large colony. Scientists greatly interested in the finding of species thought to be extinct—Animals have snout resembling elephant's trunk. Are valuable for their oil. The scientists all over the world are greatly interested in a beach some 100 yards long by thirty in width on the isolated island of Guadalupe. Here on this remote and uninhabited island lying in the Pacific Ocean, 150 miles off the northern part of the peninsula of lower California, has been discovered the only rookery left and the last stronghold on the western continent of northern elephant seal says the New York Sun. This is the largest of all seals, long since thought to have disappeared, and likewise one of the most remarkable marine mammals existing today. Aside from its great size, sixteen feet and more, the chief feature of interest of these animals is centered in the strange appearance of the head, caused by an elephant-like trunk or snout, measuring in the males nearly a foot or more in length. The rediscovered of this, the only herd of northern elephant seals living today, was made by Dr. Charles H. Townsend who commanded an expedition on the United States fisheries steamship, Albatross, to Lower California to study the fishery resources and to obtain specimens of this region. Being valuable for its oil, the elephant seal was killed in large numbers for commercial purposes until the oil was thought worth about fifty cents a gallon. A sixteen foot elephant seal is said to yield from 200 to 250 gallons of oil. The colony of seals found by Dr. Townsend was scattered in family groups along the beach and watched the landing party in their boats with apparent indifference. The herd consisted chiefly of large males, females, yearlings and newborn pups. A number of adult females were surrounded by newly-born young and the indications were that the breeding season was just commencing at this time of year, which was March, and therefore it was thought that other adult females would arrive later. The seals had little fear of man, which afforded unusual opportunities for securing close range photographs showing them in their various attitudes. Unless actually teased by members of the party the old animals did not attempt to leave the beach and many of them did not raise their heads from the sand until closely approached although awake. When driven from a comfortable resting place they would soon settle down and after throwing sand on their back and their frontal flippers become quiet again. Both young and old have the habit of covering themselves with sand when settling down to rest. The females, although but little molested, appeared to be more passive than the males. Some of the large males after being driven into the sea soon returned. The most striking and remarkable feature of this animal and from whit it takes its name is a curious elongated trunk or snout which attains a length equal to the remainder of the head. This thick and heave appendage has a length of ten inches or more forward from the canine teeth and its fibrous and fleshly throughout. When fully expanded it exhibits three bulging transverse folds on top separated by deep grooves. The trunk is not capable of inflation, but is retracted into heavy folds on top of the head by muscular action. The snout is somewhat protrusible, but when not elongated hangs in a pendulous fashion over the mouth; when sleeping it rests upon the sands in a shapeless mass.”