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More About Bailey-Law Collection

The Bailey-Law Collection (c.1850-1970) consists of the papers, books, monographs, and specimens of two ornithologists, Harold H. Bailey (1878-1962) and John Eugene Law (1877-1931). Bailey was the son of Harold B. Bailey, a noted ornithologist and one of the founders of the American Ornithologists Union. The younger Bailey grew up in Newport News, Virginia, where an early love of natural history led him to collection bird and mammal specimens. Bailey wrote two books, The Birds of Virginia (Lychburg, VA: JP Bell, 1913) and The Birds of Florida (Baltimore, MD: privately printed, 1925), as well as published articles on ornithological topics.

Eugene Law grew up in Iowa, attended first the University of Wisconsin, then Stanford University, from which he receive a BA in 1900. He was a banker in Hollywood, CA until his retirement in 1914. Law became active in the Cooper Ornithological Club in California at an early date, and in 1919 he became a curator with the California Museum of Vertebrate Zoology in Berkeley, whose director was Joseph Grinnell. Law published numerous papers on ornithological topics.

The connection between the two men was Laura Beatty Law, who was married to Law until his death in 1931. She later married Bailey in 1938.

The Bailey-Law Collection was given to the University Libraries in 1982 by the Virginia Tech Biology Department. It came to Virginia Tech by way of Miami, Florida, and Goshen, Virginia, as part of the Bailey Collection of Natural History. The book and manuscript components of the collection resides in the Special Collections Department of the University Libraries at Virginia Tech, while the specimens are housed in the Virginia Tech Museum of Natural History.


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Virginia Tech, P.O. Box 90001,
Blacksburg, VA 24062-9001


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