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Watson M. Perrygo Papers, circa 1880s-1979

Perrygo, Watson M. 1906-1984
Perrygo, Watson M. 1906-1984
Wetmore, Alexander 1886-1978
National Collection of Fine Arts (U.S.)
United States National Museum Division of Mammals
United States National Museum Taxidermist
Museum of History and Technology (U.S.) Office of Exhibits
National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
United States National Museum Department of Zoology
Parish-Smithsonian Expedition (1930)
circa 1880s-1979
Motion pictures (visual works)
Collection descriptions
Black-and-white photographs
Physical Description
6.16 cu. ft. (3 record storage boxes) (3 document boxes) (1 half document box) (1 16x20 box) (2 5x8 boxes)
Local number
SIA RU007306
Watson M. Perrygo (1906-1984) field collector, taxidermist, and exhibits specialist for the United States National Museum (USNM) began his career at the USNM in 1927 as a scientific aid in the Division of Mammals and the taxidermy studio. In addition to taxidermic and other collection-related work, Perrygo was sent on field trips to collect natural history specimens unrepresented in the USNM. His collecting activities included trips to Haiti, 1929, and again in 1930 (the Parish-Smithsonian Expedition); West Virginia, 1936; Tennessee, 1937; Kentucky, 1938; North Carolina, 1939; South Carolina, 1940; and Rampart Cave, Arizona, 1942. Perrygo also accompanied Alexander Wetmore, then Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to Panama to collect birds, 1946-1953.
Perrygo served as exhibits preparator and zoological exhibits worker in the Department of Zoology, USNM, 1952-1958, and as zoological exhibits worker in the Office of Exhibits, Museum of History and Technology (MHT), 1958-1960. He was in charge of taxidermy for MHT, 1960-1962, and for the Museum of Natural History (MNH), 1962 to 1964. Perrygo was also an important figure in the exhibitions modernization program at the USNM during the 1940s and 1950s.
For a further history of the creating unit, refer to the highlighted link "Forms Part of" above.
Addl. KW Subjects
Hidalgo (Mexico : State) (RU 7006)
(1) Correspondence, 1928-1973; (2) materials documenting field trips, 1929, 1936-1942, 1947-1948; (3) materials on taxidermy and exhibits; (4) newspaper articles; (5) photographs; (6) motion pictures, 1950-1953; (7) oversize materials
These papers consist of correspondence concerning field trips, including letters of introduction, correspondence with state game and fisheries agencies, and authorizations for field work. Other materials include field trip reports, 1936-1940; expense accounts; specimen lists; materials on taxidermy techniques; newspaper articles; taxidermist addresses, circa 1880s; and labels for natural history exhibits, circa 1880s.
Also included are photographs of USNM taxidermists, circa 1930s to 1973; mounted mammal specimens and zoological exhibits assembled by the taxidermists; Smithsonian staff; selected art works at the National Gallery of Art; exhibits in the USNM; mammals; taxidermy studio at the MNH; and scenes from Perrygo's field trips, 1929 to 1942. The collection also includes color motion pictures taken during the Panama trips, 1950-1953; of Skyline Drive, Virginia; and of the USNM taxidermy studio.
Repository Loc.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520
Data Source
Smithsonian Institution Archives
West Virginia
North Carolina
South Carolina
Skyline Drive (Va.)