Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / Manuscript Collections / Alfred Otto Gross Papers, 1883-1970

Alfred Otto Gross Papers, 1883-1970

45 linear feet.

Catalog Number: M78

Agency History / Biographical Note:
Internationally known ornithologist, Alfred O. Gross, was born April 8, 1883, in Atwood, Illinois. His parents Henry, a merchant, and Sophia, were immigrants from Kadelburg, Germany. Gross received his Ph.D from Harvard in 1912. He married Edna Gross in Reading, Pennsylvania, July 3, 1913; they had three children, William (Bowdoin 1937), Thomas (Bowdoin 1940), and Edna.

Gross was instructor (1912-13) and professor of biology at Bowdoin (1913-53); he received an honorary degree from the college in 1952. A Fellow and Patron of the American Ornithologists Union, Gross served as ornithologist on Donald B. MacMillan's Arctic expeditions of 1934 and 1937, and was the author of 265 scientific articles and books. He devoted his life to the study of birds, with a special emphasis on the heath hen and the ruffed grouse. By the time Gross retired in 1954, he had a working ornithological library of 5800 books and articles, approximately 15,000 photographs, and 10,000 feet of motion picture film.

Gross continued to conduct research and write articles and scholarly reviews until shortly before his death in Greenwich, Connecticut on May 9, 1970. He was a friend of poet and novelist Robert P. T. Coffin, and author Thornton Burgess.

Scope and Content:
The collection contains correspondence (1883-1970, n.d.), including some family letters; draft and printed versions of articles, many in clipping scrapbooks, including those written for the Maine Coast Fisherman; journals, notebooks, etc. (1900-66), many from his student days, from the arctic expeditions, and on Herring Gull/Cormorant control; material concerning the 1934 and 1937 Arctic expeditions; notes, etc. relating to the New England ruffed grouse investigation (1926-33, n.d.) and to a heath hen census (1928-33, n.d.); an autobiographical essay; ornithological and other photographs, negatives and motion picture film; and material relating to Gross or his career. A paper guide detailing the collection is available for in-house use.


Cite as: Alfred Otto Gross Papers, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.
Access Restrictions: none.

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