Hayden, F. V. (Ferdinand Vandeveer), 1829-1887

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Geologist who began his career as a teacher in Oberlin, Ohio.

From the description of Ferdinand V. Hayden papers, 1846-1865. (Rhinelander District Library). WorldCat record id: 18376030

Surveyor and geologist.

From the description of Hayden, F. V. (Ferdinand Vandeveer), 1829-1887 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10570213

F. V. Hayden (1829-1887) was a physician turned geologist, explorer, and naturalist; originally of Westfield, Mass., attended Oberlin College; later led exploratory trips to Nebraska and westward lands which eventually led to the creation of Yellowstone National Park.

Smithsonian Institution Archives Field Book Project: Person : Description : rid_750_pid_EACP747

Hayden was a prominent American geologist noted for surveying expeditions and the exploration of 109 Western territories at the request of the U.S. government and helping to convince Congress to establish Yellowstone as the first U.S. national park. During the Civil War he was employed as an army surgeon

From the description of Letters to F.V. Hayden, 1854-1884. (State Historical Society of Iowa, Library). WorldCat record id: 657402861

Western United States naturalist, surgeon, and geologist.

From the description of Biography 1829-1887. (Denver Public Library). WorldCat record id: 50319895

Russell (1829-1902) grew up in New York and was a painter and a teacher before moving to New York City in 1859 to learn the new art of photography. During the civil war he became a military railroad photographer for the Union Army. After the war he returned to New York City but in 1868 he was hired by the Union Pacific Railroad to photograph the building of the transcontinental railroad. Between 1868 and 1870 he took over 800 glass-plate negatives and thousands of stereoview negatives. In 1870 Russell returned to New York City where he spent the rest of his career working as an artist and photographer for Leslie's Illustrated.

Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden (1829-1887) was a pioneer geologist and the head of various geological and geographical surveys in the West from 1867 to 1886. Hayden was raised in New York and graduated with an M.D. from the Albany Medical School in 1853. During the civil war he was a surgeon, but before the war, he spent most of his time in the West exploring and studying geology.

From the guide to the 'Sun Pictures of Rocky Mountain Scenery' photograph collection, 1868-1870, (Utah State University. Special Collections and Archives)

Stephen Bowers (1832?-1907) was a geologist, archaeologist, journalist and Methodist minister, who maintained an interest in southern California, including area fossils and artifacts. His geological and archaeological work was financed by the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Department of the Interior. In 1997 a California archaeologist and Simi Valley, California resident Arlene Benson published Bowers’ field notes, collected by Smithsonian field ethnologist John Peabody Harrington, under the title The Noontide Sun: The Field Journals of the Reverend Stephen Bowers, Pioneer California Archaeologist.

Bowers was born near Wilmington, Indiana on March 3, 1832 to David and Esther Bowers. One of thirteen children, the family moved to a farm eight miles north of Indianapolis when he was one year old. A studious lad, he walked or rode on horseback several miles to a small rural schoolhouse. Poor health kept him indoors as a child during the winter months. Realizing that he was not cut out to be a farmer, Bowers decided at an early age to pursue the ministry, and at twenty-three was ordained a Methodist minister, affiliated with the Indiana Conference. He was dispatched as a Methodist circuit rider ninety miles west of his birthplace in Lawrence County, Indiana. In November 1856, just ten months after beginning his ministry, Bowers married the seventeen-year-old Martha Cracraft from the farming community of Greencastle. Their first son, Hayden, was named for Bowers’ hero Dr. Ferdinand V. Hayden (1829-1887, APS 1860), the leader of U.S. government surveying expeditions to 109 western territories in 1859-60.

From his youth Bowers became a lifelong collector of artifacts and geological specimens. Although he dedicated himself to the pastorate and later also pursued a second career as a newspaper publisher, his primary interest was always archaeology. With the exception of military service with the 67th Indiana Volunteers during the Civil War, Bowers spent several decades in pastoral ministry that took him to churches in Kentucky, Oregon and finally (because of his wife’s failing health) to California. In 1874 he moved from his first pulpit in Napa City to the city of Santa Barbara. There Bowers found the lure of the Indian burial grounds on the Santa Barbara channel irresistible.

In the summer of 1875 Bowers accepted an assignment as guide for several survey parties of the Army Corp of Engineers, working on both sides of the Santa Barbara channel. Wheeler’s party included archaeologist Paul Schumacher, botanist Joseph Trimble Rothrock (1839-1922, APS 1877) of the University of Pennsylvania and Henry Wetherbee Henshaw, an ethnologist and ornithologist with the Smithsonian Institution. The Wheeler survey occupied all of Bowers’ time, except Sundays, for three months and Wheeler’s notes make sixteen references to him. It was through Henshaw that Bowers came to the attention of Smithsonian professor Spencer Fullerton Baird (1823-1887, APS 1855), who carried on an extensive twelve-year correspondence with him. Through Bowers’ excavations the Smithsonian would acquire thousands of California and Midwestern fossils and native American artifacts for its collections-seventeen accessions over twenty-nine years.

Since no trained archaeologist had ever visited the native American burial grounds on the San Nicholas and Santa Rosa Islands before Bowers’ 1875 excavation, he was the first to examine the remains of these settlements, and remove the skulls, implements and artifacts for shipment to the Smithsonian and other museums, as well as to private collectors. Most of the skeletons and artifacts were from the Chumash tribe. During his three-year tenure as pastor of the Santa Barbara Methodist congregation at the corner of De la Vina and De la Guerra streets, made one trip after another to the islands, usually accompanied by correspondent Simon Peter Guiberson of the Ventura Free Press and sometimes by his wife Martha and Dr. Lorenzo Yates of Centerville.

Although methods of archaeological excavation were crude at the time, and Bowers was not the only untrained archaeologist doing field work, modern historians and archaeologists, who are familiar with his activities generally regard him as “a meddler who destroyed fully as many artifacts as he preserved-and rendered the site scientifically useless as well.” They find his “flagrant disregard for orderly methods and his failure to preserve sites” inexcusable. It is unclear how many barrels of native American skulls, utensils and implements Bowers sent to collectors in New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Los Angeles and the District of Columbia, but the Smithsonian alone credits 2,200 to 2,500 of its native American relics to his excavations between 1876-1905. Harvard’s Peabody Museum recorded 826 and hundreds made their way in public and private collections from Philadelphia to Los Angeles.

No doubt, Bowers used questionable methods and was generally too impatient to exercise care in his excavations. Dr. Baird of the Smithsonian and Professor Josiah Dwight Whitney (1819-1894, APS 1863) of Harvard, two of his primary customers, were probably unaware of Bower’s methods, although the former was definitely impressed by him. Bowers completed his excavations for the Smithsonian in September 1877, and moved to Indianapolis to accept a temporary call. Sometime in 1878 he returned to California and resumed his excavations. But after his wife and son Hayden died within months of each other in October 1879 and April 1880, he could not bear to continue excavations. Instead, he departed from Santa Barbara to launch a new career as a newspaper publisher in Beloit, California; Platteville, Wisconsin; and Falls City, Nebraska. By October 1883 he had returned to California with a new wife Margaret Dickson to become publisher of the Ventura Free Press. Also serving a the Methodist pastor in the nearby town of Santa Paula, he launched another daily newspaper he called the Golden State. As a Prohibitionist and a Republican Bowers became involved in political controversy in his newspapers and in the pulpit, often teetering on the edge of libel. All the while he found time to continue digging artifacts in the Santa Barbara Channel!

In 1899 the aging Bowers was appointed State Mine Examiner by California Governor Henry T. Gage. He had attracted the attention of one of the governor’s aids by some earlier pamphlets he had written for the state mineralogist, as well as reports that made use of some of his geological contributions on rocks, fossils and oil-bearing strata. During his tenure Bowers endured the heat of the San Diego County desert to dig fossils in thirteen different counties and also undertook an assignment from the U.S. Geological Survey to survey fossil around Riverside.

Bowers enjoyed excellent health into his mid-seventies, and was accustomed to delivering two sermons weekly. However, in the final hours of 1906 while on a New Years vigil, he fell ill and three days later suffered a stroke from which he died. He was survived by his wife Margaret, his son DeMoss, and daughters Anna Bailey and Florence Cooper.

The American Philosophical Society’s holdings of his letters show that he corresponded with major nineteenth century American naturalists, including Asa Gray (1810-1888, APS 1848) and Joseph Le Conte (1823-1901, APS 1873), as well as the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Museum of Natural History, the National Geographic Society and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Geographical Survey. Bowers also received an honorary doctorate from Willamette University in Oregon.

From the guide to the Stephen Bowers correspondence, 1860-1915, 1860-1915, (American Philosophical Society)

Archival Resources
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referencedIn Smithsonian Institution. Office of the Secretary. Correspondence, 1865-1891 Smithsonian Institution Archives
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referencedIn Smithsonian Archives. William Jones Rhees Collection.
referencedIn Records of the U.S. Geological Survey. 1839 - 2008. Ledger Kept by Albert Charles Peale
referencedIn Scientists Collection, 1563-1973 American Philosophical Society
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creatorOf Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior. 1826 - 2009. Letters Received Relating to the Geological Survey and its Predecessors
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referencedIn Foster, Mike, 1935-. Mike Foster papers, 1853-2006. University of Wyoming, American Heritage Center
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associatedWith Surgeon General's Office corporateBody
correspondedWith Swan, James G. person
associatedWith Swollow, Professor person
correspondedWith Taylor, Alex S. person
correspondedWith Thayer, Abbott H. person
correspondedWith Torrey, John person
correspondedWith Trew, John M. person
associatedWith True, J. M. person
associatedWith Union Pacific Railroad Company corporateBody
associatedWith United States. General Land Office. corporateBody
associatedWith United States Geological & Geographical Survey corporateBody
associatedWith United States National Museum Building corporateBody
associatedWith Vail, Isaac N., (Isaac Newton), 1840-1912 person
correspondedWith Vogdes, A. W. person
associatedWith Wagner, Professor person
associatedWith Wakefield, E. B. (Edmund Burritt) person
correspondedWith Ward, Henry A. person
associatedWith Warner, Lieutenant person
correspondedWith Warren, Gouverneur Kemble person
associatedWith Warren, Lieut. person
correspondedWith Watts, Frederick person
correspondedWith Western Union Telegraph Company corporateBody
correspondedWith White, J. C. person
correspondedWith White, Z. L. person
associatedWith Whitney, William Dwight, 1827-1894. person
correspondedWith Williams, G. A. person
associatedWith Wilson, Joseph S. person
associatedWith Winchell, Alexander person
correspondedWith Witter, David R. person
correspondedWith Wolcott, L. M. person
associatedWith Worthen, Amos H. person
correspondedWith Yarrow, H. C. person
correspondedWith Yates, L. G. (Dr.) person
correspondedWith Younglove, John E. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
West (U.S.)
Missouri River Watershed
West (U.S.)
United States
Yellowstone National Park
Colorado--Boulder County
Boulder County (Colo.)
McKenzie well (Boulder County, Colo.)
Arnold well (Boulder County, Colo.)
Rocky Mountains
Natural history
Geology--Rocky Mountains
Henry Family
Civil war
Smithsonian Building
Applications for positions
Ethnology Archaeology Anthropology
American Journal Of Science (Silliman's)
National Academy of Sciences
Fossils--Collection and preservation--California
Academy Of Natural Sciences In Philadelphia
Surveys And Explorations, General
Albany Institute
Smithsonian Publications
National Museum
Overland journeys to the Pacific
Recommendations For Positions
Scientific publications
Smithsonian Institution
Lectures, Popular
Smithsonian Board Of Regents
Smithsonian Exchange
Exchanges Of Publications
District of columbia
Physical geography
Material Types
Indians of North America--California--Antiquities
Scientific organizations
Oil fields--Maps
Science In America
Smithsonian Library


Birth 1829-09-07

Death 1887-12-22




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Ark ID: w69k4cjq

SNAC ID: 30354366