Guide to the Arthur Sperry Pearse papers, 1904-1960 and undated
Arthur Sperry Pearse was Professor of Zoology at Duke University from 1927 until his retirement in 1948. Pearse played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Marine Biology Laboratory in Beaufort, North Carolina, and served as the lab's first director from 1938 until 1945. Collection contains correspondence, course material, manuscripts, research and lab notes, field notebooks, graduate student material, and photographs including glass-plate lantern slides. Prominent subjects throughout the collection include the establishment of and research projects at the Marine Biology Laboratory, the promotion of forestry as a scientific discipline at Duke, Pearse's role as editor of Ecological Monographs, and his eclectic research interests including marine biology and ecology, parasitology and parasitic diseases, microbiology and biological adaptation, and forestry.
- Record Group
- Arthur Sperry Pearse papers
- Pearse, A. S. (Arthur Sperry), 1877-1956
- 13.5 Linear Feet, Approx 12,000 Items
- David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
- Material in English
Collection primarily contains the professional papers of Arthur Sperry Pearse with inclusive dates, 1914-1956. Collection includes correspondence, writings and addresses, research and teaching material, manuscripts, clippings and printed material, photographs, and glass plate slides. A small amount of material was accumulated by Pearse while professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Correspondence primarily reflects his role as editor of Ecological Monographs which includes correspondence concerning receipt of drafts for publication, recommended revisions, and future publication dates. Other prominent topics include Pearse's involvement with professional organizations, various symposiums and conferences, publications, research in Nigeria and the Yucatan, and the founding and early operations of the Duke Marine Laboratory at Beaufort, North Carolina. Also, in 1938-1939, there is a series of correspondence between Pearse and President William Preston Few concerning lack of support for and conditions within the department and Pearse's consequent resignation as departmental chair.
Other material includes research notes, tables, and sketches; graduate student correspondence, plans of work, and dissertation abstracts; manuscripts of various publications authored by Pearse including Animal Ecology and his 1952 autobiography, Adventure: Trying to be an Ecologist ; laboratory and field notebooks containing research notes and statistics from Nigeria, the Yucatan, Wisconsin, and various other research locations; and photographic prints, negatives, and glass-plate lantern slides documenting Pearse's research travels, publication figures, tables, and illustrations as well as local flora, fauna, landscapes, and peoples.
Access to the Collection
Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.
All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.
Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the University Archives to use this collection.
Collection is open for research.
In accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as amended, Duke University permits students to inspect their education records and limits the disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records.
Use & Permissions
Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
How to Cite
[Identification of item], Arthur Sperry Pearse Papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
Correspondence primarily reflects his role as editor of Ecological Monographs which includes correspondence concerning receipt of drafts for publication, recommended revisions, and dates for future publication. Other prominent topics include Pearse's involvement with professional organizations including the Ecology Society of America and Society of American Zoologists; various symposiums and conferences, publications, and research; and the founding and early operations of the Duke Marine Biology Laboratory at Beaufort, North Carolina. Correspondence also reflects Pearse's professional activities outside of the academy including work with the Office of the Quartermaster General interviewing soldiers recently returned from tropical environments in New Guinea, India, Burma, and the Caribbean; promoting the physical rehabilitation of the sciences in Europe in the wake of the Second World War through the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and as special investigator for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, the International Health Board, and the Carnegie Institute. In 1938-1939, there is a series of correspondence between Pearse and Duke University President William Preston Few concerning conditions within and lack of support for the department of zoology and Pearse's consequent resignation as departmental chair. Series is arranged chronologically.
A bulk of subject files reflect Pearse's research interests and his involvement with professional organizations and institutes. Material present includes correspondence, memoranda, reports, and hand-written notes. Prominent subjects include research and staffing at the Beaufort Marine Lab, Ecological Monographs, his 1926 tenure at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the National Science Foundation, and numeruous research topics.
Graduate students series contains correspondence concerning research and thesis progress, plans of work, assigned reading lists, dissertation abstracts, and records of courses completed. Material is arranged alphabetically by student's name.
In accordance with the federal government's Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Duke University permits students to inspect their education records and limits the disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records. Education records include those records which contain information directly related to a student and which are maintained as official working files by the University.
Series contains manuscripts of essays, monographs, and textbooks written by Pearse during his professional career including reprint editions of Animal Ecology and various working drafts of The Migration of Animals from Sea to Land. Also present is an undated manuscript of a textbook written by Pearse's colleague B. Cunningham.
Series contains material relating to courses taught by Pearse and includes laboratory guides, exercises, and techniques; lecture notes and outlines; lists of manuals, supplies, equipment, and specimen dealers; field trip locations, itineraries, and notes; and ruminations on pedagogical theory with inclusive dates 1905-1923. Most of the material is undated, however, all of the material relates to courses at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where Pearse taught from 1912-1927.
Series contains field notebooks created by Pearse on research trips and in laboratory work with inclusive dates 1904-1952. Notebooks contain notes and statistics on local flora, fauna, and animal life as well as notes on local peoples and culture. Beginning with his graduate work at Harvard University, the notebooks document the eclectic research interests, career, and travels of Pearse throughout his professional life. Arrangement is chronological.
Series contains negatives, prints, and glass-plate lantern slides documenting primarily Pearse's travels abroad and within the United States for research with the inclusive dates of 1911-1953. In addition to photos of local flora, fauna, animal life, and ecosystems, additional photographs document local peoples, customs, and culture including dress, agricultural techniques, food gathering, and architecture. Also present are images copied from other published works.
Contains glass plate lantern slides used by Pearse in lectures and presentations in 3 ¼ x 4 ¼ and 4 x 5 formats. Subjects are consistent with those found in the photographic prints and negatives. Also present are teaching slides used by Pearse in course lectures which are primarily copies of maps, graphs and charts, illustrations, and photos taken from other published works. Slides are housed in archival boxes within boxes 8-11.
Arthur Sperry Pearse was born 15 March 1877, on the Pawnee Indian Reservation near Crete, Nebraska, where his parents ran a trading post. In 1898, Pearse left the University of Nebraska with the 4th Nebraska Volunteer Infantry in the Spanish-American War, returning to receive his B.A. in 1900 and his M.A. in 1904. He went on to complete his doctoral work at Harvard where he received his Ph.D. in 1908. Also, in 1942, Pearse received an honorary LL.D. from the University of Nebraska.
Pearse taught courses at Harvard, the University of Michigan (1908-1910), the University of the Philippines (1911), St. Louis University School of Medicine (1911-1912), the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1912-1927), and, finally, as Professor of Zoology at Duke University (1927-1948). In 1926, Pearse spent five months at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and one year as a visiting professor at Keio University in Japan (1929-1930). Pearse was an instrumental participant in the creation of the Duke Marine Laboratory at Beaufort, N.C., in 1938 and served as the lab's first director until 1945. Pearse was also founder and editor of Ecological Monographs (1930-1950), a publication of Duke University Press. In addition to work within the academy, Pearse was also a special investigator for the United States Bureau of Fisheries, a special member of field staff for the International Health Board, and a special investigator for the Carnegie Institute. Pearse was also a member of many scientific societies and served as president of the Ecology Society of America (1925), American Society of Zoologists (1945), and North Carolina Academy of Science (1951), and as vice president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1936).
During his career Pearse authored about 175 publications on a variety of research interests in the fields of marine zoology and ecology, microbiology, forestry, and parisitology including fresh-water fauna, beach and estuarine animals, the fauna of soil and forest environments, parasitic marine crustacea, and biological adaptation. Pearse's many publications include General Zoology (1917), The Migration of Animals from Sea to Land (1936), Fauna of the Caves of the Yucatan (1938), and Animal Ecology (1939). Pearse also published a collection of essays, Hell's Bells (1941), and an autobiography, Adventure: Trying to be a Zoologist (1952). His research travels took him to the Philippines, Japan, Yucatan, Venezuela, Nigeria, and numerous locations throughout the United States including Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Maine, Florida, Texas, and coastal North Carolina.
- Irving Emery Gray Papers, 1915-1980 (Duke University Archives/David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library)
- Marine Laboratory Records, 1945-1990 (Duke University Archives/ David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library)
- Paul Jackson Kramer Papers, 1856-1994 (bulk 1927-1974) (Duke University Archives/David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library)
- University Archives Photograph Collection, 1856-[ongoing] (Duke University Archives/David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library)
- William Preston Few Records and Papers, 1814-1971 and undated (bulk 1911-1949) (Duke University Archives/David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library)
Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Society of Zoologists
- Duke University. Department of Zoology
- Duke University. Marine Laboratory
- Duke University. School of Forestry
- Few, W. P. (William Preston), 1867-1940
- Pearse, A. S. (Arthur Sperry), 1877-1956
- Pearse, A. S. (Arthur Sperry), 1877-1956
The Arthur Sperry Pearse Papers were received by the University Archives as a transfer between 1954-1973.
Processed by Josh Larkin Rowley, April 2009
Encoded by Josh Larkin Rowley, April 2009
Accessions UA48-1843, UA48-2038, UA48-2122, UA60-218, UA62-541, UA73-51 were merged into one collection, described in this finding aid.