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Laurence Markham Huey (1892 - 1963)

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One Naturalist's Legacy

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One Naturalist's Legacy

SDNHM Open House June 4, 1961Laurence Huey recalled that his first official collecting trip to Baja California was with Griffing Bancroft in 1923. "In those days, we cooked on the camp fire, ate beans and rice, and lived on 30 cents a day."

By the time he retired, in addition to expanding the museum collections to the "more than 50,000 specimens" noted by Lindsay, he had built a private collection of 4000 bird and 1000 mammal skins, mostly from Imperial Valley and Northern Baja California. This collection was purchased by the Museum for $6500 (Jehl, 1975).

He continued to make pictures throughout his career, and when he retired, had "20,000 feet of uncut film still to edit and thousands of still photographs."

According to the San Diego Evening Tribune, Huey found and named 84 species of mammals in California, Arizona, Utah, Mexico and Baja California, and 10 species of birds in Baja California alone.

Self-motivated, with a largely self-directed education—reading, apprenticeship, and help "for Latin and Greek" from a former schoolteacher, Laurence Huey had a long and distinguished career at the SDNHM. He left a rich legacy of research, scientific collecting and conservation in specimens, pictures, and words.

* Note: Huey's words in Early Years taken from undated archive piece. Other quotations, unless otherwise attributed, are from "Mammal and Bird Expert to Retire," San Diego Evening Tribune, 25 October, 1961. An amusing profile of Huey can be found in the Museum publication Environment Southwest Oct-Nov 1974 No. 467, p.19.