Florence and Vernon Bailey are perennial favorites at the Field Book Project. In fact, some of the earliest volumes we ever digitized were Bailey field books. Most recently, we’ve been adding Vernon Bailey field books from SIA Accession 12-443 — part of the collections of the National Museum of Natural History Division of Mammals — to our online holdings.
This latest set of Bailey field books is also part of our Transcription Center contributions. Field books can be notoriously difficult to read, both by humans and computers alike, but with the help of the Transcription Center Volunpeers we are making field books even more accessible! One of the particularly enjoyable parts of having field books in the Transcription Center is that Volunpeers share interesting entries they find while transcribing.
Thanks to naturalist Vernon Bailey, we now know that fried gopher tastes better than a golden eagle. Hungry, anyone? https://t.co/wQDbd5YcwK— SI Transcription Ctr (@TranscribeSI) September 14, 2017
The gopher and eagle did not meet the same fate as the animals Bailey would later capture with his improved humane traps, but as one museum ornithologist put it, “in the 1800s protein was something you could not pick up at the local Safeway.”
Many thanks to the Volunpeers for their efforts, and for keeping us all in the loop about the weird and interesting adventures of Smithsonian naturalists. There are more Bailey notebooks coming to the Transcription Center, so I’m sure there will be plenty more interesting discoveries to come.
If you’d like to help transcribe field books and other objects from the Smithsonian, be sure to go to the Transcription Center website to learn more.
Field books from this collection were made available thanks to a grant from Arcadia – a charitable fund of Peter Baldwin and Lisbet Rausing.