At the museum
One Naturalist's Legacy
Papers on Guadalupe Island
to Coronado Islands
to Trinidad Whaling Station
History and Biographies
Research Library Archives
Laurence Markham Huey (1892 - 1963) was Curator for the Department of Birds and
Mammals at SDNHM for 38 years, 1923-1961. An energetic collector and photographer,
he rose from humble beginnings to make a significant contribution to the world
"I was born September 6, 1892,
on a farm in the Tia Juana Valley, California, within a stones throw of
the International Boundary. Have always loved fields with their flowers, birds
and animals. I tried very often to preserve the heads of the quail my father brought
in from his hunting trips when [I was] still a small boy. Collected birds
eggs in spite of parental opposition and regular chastisement for the offence.
Hueys lifelong interest in natural history apparently began at the age of
3 when "a Mexican farm hand gave him a collection of swallows eggs."*
His association with the Museum began a little later; he was introduced to the
institution by his manual training teacher, W.S. Wright, later a Museum entomologist.
Thus began a longstanding acquaintance with the museum and its staff.
"Met Frank Stephens, one of the pioneer naturalists of the
southwest, when still in my early teens, and this meeting furthered my determination
to pursue natural history as a life work.
My school days ended with the eighth grade and I have been on my own ever since."
In 1908, at the age of 16, he joined Kate
Stephens Naturalist class at the museum. When he was 21, in 1913, he
was on a trip to the Coronado Islands and met Donald R. Dickey, "a wealthy
bird collector and photographer," with whom he was to work for the next 10
years. Huey became an official member of the San Diego Natural History Society
the next year, 1914.
"I met Donald R. Dickey and spent ten happy years collecting
birds and mammals in California and Arizona and learned considerable photography
while helping him make pictures for Dawsons book Birds of California.
Also at this time I became interested in mammalogy as well as ornithology. This
was primarily due to the influence of three personsStephens, Dickey and
Huey, like many others before him, maintained his interest in natural history
as a part-time vocation til, unlike many of his contemporaries, he was able
to turn it into a full-time job.
"During the fall and winter months, when not helping Dickey, I worked
at hard laborin lumber yards, gardening, and the like, but never for one
instant forgot my interest in natural history.
The guiding star of opportunity came in March, 1923, when I was appointed to
the staff of the Natural History Museum in San Diego, California