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Walter J. Breckenridge papers

Identifier: ua00364

Scope and Content

The collection consists primarily of correspondence (1929-1942). Other materials include lectures and articles, hawk and owl materials (1927-1941), and field notes (1925-1945).


  • 1915-1961


Language of Materials

Collection materials in English

Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Biographical Sketch of Walter John Breckenridge (1903-2003)

Walter Breckenridge, B.A. (1926) University of Iowa; M.A. (1934), Ph.D. (1941) University of Minnesota. Curator (1936-1946), director (1946-1969) Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota. Noted ecologist, artist, and film maker; author of Reptiles and Amphibians of Minnesota (1944), the first comprehensive guide completed on the subject.

Walter John "Breck" Breckenridge was born on March 22, 1903 in Brooklyn, Iowa. After graduating from the University of Iowa in 1926, he came to the University of Minnesota for graduate school and to be preparator/taxidermist at the Minnesota Natural History Museum (now the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History). Breckenridge received a masters degree in ornithology in 1934 and Ph.D. in herpetology in 1941. He was appointed as curator of the Bell Museum in 1936 and became director in 1946. He was an accomplished ornithologist and naturalist, producing dozens of academic papers, drawings, photographs and nature themed educational films. In 1953, he led a scientific research expedition to Northern Canada to collect biological, botanical, and geological specimens. Breckenridge retired in 1969, and lived in Minneapolis continuing his study of nature until his death on May 22, 2003.


2.0 Cubic Feet (2)


Collection contains the papers of Walter Breckenridge, ornithologist, naturalist and director of the James Ford Bell Museum at the University of Minnesota from 1946-1969.

Source of acquisition

The collection was deposited by William Breckenridge in 1969 and 1970.

Related Material in University Archives

Division of Entomology and Economic Zoology records

Museum of Natural History records

Walter John Breckenridge Papers, 1915-1961
University Archives Staff; revised by Guy Peterson
March 2006
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid in English

Revision Statements

  • February 2009: EAD updated by Karen Spilman. EAD reviewed and revised.

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area