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Manuscripts by Subject - Science / Nature - #10126

Title: Holton A. Shaw Papers

Dates: 1885-1909

Collection Number: 10126

Quantity: 1 foot

Abstract: Consists of correspondence, catalogs, field notes, pamphlets, periodicals, price lists, publications, and subject files relating to Shaw's collection of natural history specimens, Indian artifacts, and minerals.

Provenance: The Holton A. Shaw Papers were donated to the State Historical Society of North Dakota by Alf Eastgate in 1924. The collection was processed and the inventory prepared by Pam Maier in March 1979.

Property Rights: Property rights to this collection are with the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Copyrights: Copyrights to this collection are dedicated to the public. Consideration of all other copyrights is the responsibility of the researcher.

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Related Material:
SHSND Museum Collection 1991.54

Biographical Sketch

Holton A. Shaw was born July 15, 1868 at Waldo, Wisconsin and was the son of Major and Susan (Payne) Shaw. He arrived in Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1886, residing there until his death on September 26, 1915. On September 18, 1913, Mr . Shaw was married and had one daughter.
Mr. Shaw was at one time employed at Abbey's Clothing Store and the Grand Forks Post Office. He entered the Grand Forks County Treasurer's Office as clerk in about 1890, and was elected to the post of county treasurer in 1910.
H. A. Shaw Bill Posting Company in Grand Forks was also launched and built by Mr. Shaw.
As a naturalist, Mr. Shaw was considered an authority on birds and birds eggs. He owned a valuable collection of wild bird eggs, mounted birds, shells, Indian arrows, and other curios. Mr. Shaw had what was considered to be the most complete set of different varieties of bird eggs in the United States.
The collection included eggs of extinct bird species, such as the great auk. As a member of the Audubon Society of America, Shaw took an active part in their work in North Dakota. He was also a member of the Masons and Yeoman.

Series Description

The Shaw papers consist of correspondence, catalogs, pamphlets, periodicals, price lists, publications, and subject files. The correspondence is arranged alphabetically, and chronologically therein. The correspondence consists of incoming letters, and deals mainly with H. A. Shaw’s trading of bird eggs and skins, Indian relics, minerals, and other curios with naturalists throughout the United States. Shaw corresponded primarily with naturalists living on the east coast, west coast, and the southwest region of the United States. The letters are inclusive of the years 1885-1909, although correspondence with each individual tended to be on a limited basis. The series also includes receipts for membership dues, subscription fees for periodicals, and transportation and shipping payments. The series deals only with his curio exchanges, and makes no mention of H. A. Shaw's business, personal, or outside concerns.

The catalog series includes material on bird eggs, bird skins, books, coins, curios, marine shells, minerals, and naturalist’s supplies. Of special note is a catalog from the Black Hills Natural History, Deadwood, SD. The catalog series is arranged alphabetically by subject matter, and chronologically therein.

Descriptive information on dogs, the government's act of 1891 to repeal timber culture laws, gold extraction, real estate, and travel, is included in the pamphlet series. This series is arranged alphabetically by subject matter, and chronologically therein. Of special note is a real estate pamphlet from E. J. Lander and Co., of Grand Forks, ND.

The periodical series includes one copy of The Curio Exchange; a fairly inclusive collection of The Oologist from 1897-1899; and volume one, number one of The Quarterly Illustrated. The series is arranged alphabetically by periodical title, and chronologically within.

The price list series contains the price listings of dealers in bird skins, naturalist's supplies, etc.; Edison incandescent lamps and photographs; and minerals, shells, and curios. The series is arranged alphabetically by general subject matter, and alphabetically then chronologically therein by each individual dealer. The publication series consists o f five educational leaflets from the National Committee of Audubon Societies, and a listing of publications for sale by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They are arranged alphabetically, and chronologically therein.

The subject files are arranged alphabetically by subject matter, and chronologically within. H. A. Shaw's collection notes give a listing of his oological collection, as well as Indian relics, skeletons, mounted animals, fossils, and other curios. How accurately these listings reflect Shaw's entire collection is difficult to determine. Two other folders deal directly with Shaw's naturalist interests, being his field notes. Of special note are field notes on Stump Lake in North Dakota. These record his observations of nature in narrative form. Other subject file listings include information and course work from the Correspondence School of Mines; two Grand Forks County tax statements from H. A. Shaw, and one from James Christianson; and a financial statement for Grand Forks County from Jan. 1, 1902 through Jan. 1, 1903. A map of Nelson and Grand Forks counties, two unidentified photographs, and a brochure on the Louisiana Purchase Exposition ave also included. The remaining subject files are comprised of photography instruction sheets, picture post cards, and premium listings. A premium listing of particular note is Arbuckle Brothers Coffee, including original coffee wrappers.

Grand Forks Daily Herald, September 27, 1915, p. 8
Grand Forks Daily Herald, September 28, 1915, p. 5
"Collecting on the Prairie: Early Oologists in North Dakota," North Dakotas History, Vol. 57, No. 1, Winter 1990

Box/Folder Inventory

Box 1:

1. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - A (1898-1903)
2. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - Ba - Brod (1892, 1898-1903, 1908)
3. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - Brow - Bu ( 1890 1898-1903)
4. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - Burnham, Robert (1895-1902)
5. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - C (1890-1894, 1899-1903)
6. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - Cooperider, C. W. (1900-1901)
7. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - D ( 1893, 1899- 1902 )
8. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - E - G (1890-1893, 1898-1900)
9. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - H (1892- 1901)
10. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - I - J (1892, 1898-1900)
11. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - K (1891-1894, 1898)
12. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - L (1890-1896, 1901-1902)
13. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - M (1891-1892, 1897-1903)
14. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - Moody, M.D., Chas. S. (1901-1903)
15. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - N - 0 (1892, 1896-1903)
16. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - P (1890-1892, 1897-1902)
16. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - R ( 1890-1892, 1898-1903)
17. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - S (1890-1900)
18. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - T (1890-1901 )
19. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - Thompson, Chas. S. (1901-1902)
20. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - U - V (1875, 1890, 1896, 1901-1903)
21. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - W (1890-1895, 1900, 1909)
22. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - Warwick, Robert (1900-1901)
23. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - Web, Walter F. ( 1892 )
24. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - Y (1894, 1899)
25. Biographical Materials & Correspondence - Unnamed (1896, 1901-1903)

Box 2:

1. Catalogs - bird eggs 1896
2. Catalogs - bird skins 1887
3. Catalogs - Black Hills - Natural History Establishment of L. W. Stillwell, Deadwood, SD, 1897-1898
4. Catalogs - books, 1892-1894, 1903
5. Catalogs - coins, 1886
6. Catalogs - curios, 1888
7. Catalogs - marine shells, n.d.
8. Catalogs - minerals, 1889-1890
9. Catalogs - naturalist's supplies, n.d.
10. Pamphlets - dogs, 1897
11. Pamphlets - general, 1890-1891
12. Pamphlets - Grand Forks, ND - E. J. Lander and Company, n.d.
13. Pamphlets - travel, 1904
14 Periodicals - The Curio Exchange (Vol. 2, No. 2) (Sept./Oct. 1901)
15. Periodicals - The Oologist (Oct. 1897-Sept. 1899)
16. Periodicals - The Quarterly Illustrator (Vol. 1, No. 1) (Jan ./Feb./March 1893)
17. Price Lists - Bird skins, naturalist's supplies, etc. (1890, 1901-1902)
18. Price Lists - Edison Incandescent Lamps, Photographs (1890, 1901)
19. Price Lists - Minerals, Shells, Curios (1903)
20. Publications- National Committee o f Audubon Societies, Educational Leaflets (No. 1-5) (1903)
21. Publications - United States Department of Agriculture (No. 179) ( July 1, 1898)
22. Subject Files - Collection Notes (n.d.)
23. Subject Files - The Correspondence School of Mines (1894)
24. Subject Files - Field Notes - general (n.d.)
25. Subject Files - Field Notes - Stump Lake, ND (1895, 1898)
26. Subject Files - Grand Forks County - Financial Statement (1 Jan. 1902-1 Jan. 1903)
27. Subject Files - Grand Forks County - tax statements (l885, 1901, 1903)
28. Subject Files - Louisiana Purchase Exposition - St. Louis, Missouri (1903)
29. Subject Files - Maps - Nelson and Grand Forks Counties (n.d.)
30. Subject Files - Photographs (n.d.)
31. Subject Files - Photography Instruction Sheets (n.d.)
32. Subject Files - Picture Post cards (1902, 1908)
33. Subject Files - Premiums (1895)

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