Florence Augusta Merriam Bailey
|Florence Augusta Merriam Bailey|
Florence Merriam, 1904, Portrait from The Condor
August 8, 1863|
Locust Grove, New York
|Died||September 22, 1948(aged 85)|
|Alma mater||Smith College (honorary degree, 1921), Stanford University|
|Known for||First modern field guide for birdwatchers, work in bird conservation|
|Notable awards||Brewster Medal|
|Spouse||Vernon Orlando Bailey|
Florence Augusta Merriam Bailey (August 8, 1863 – September 22, 1948) was an American ornithologist and nature writer. She was born in Locust Grove, New York. The third child in her family, she was the younger sister of Clinton Hart Merriam.
Life and work
Florence Augusta Merriam Bailey was born in Locust Grove, New York. Bailey grew up at her family's estate, "Homewood", which had a lot of space for the study of natural history[clarification needed]. She was encouraged in her interest in nature by her brother as well as her father. Her father was interested in scientific matters and was in correspondence with John Muir after he had met him at Yosemite in the summer of 1871.
Bailey studied at a private school in Utica, New York. From 1882–1886, she studied at Smith College, from which she did not receive a degree until she was given an honorary one in 1921. She also studied at Stanford University.
She started observing bird behavior at a time when most bird study was based on collections and skins. By 1885, she began to write articles focusing on protecting birds. It was then custom to wear bird feathers on hats. Bailey was dedicated to telling and showing people about the value of bird life. Finally a bill was passed by Congress making the interstate shipping of birds illegal. This was a first step in stopping the slaughter and decreasing the number of victims, especially among seabirds such as pelicans and grebes. Eventually the laws, changing styles, and continued education stopped the killing of birds for hat decoration and clothing.
Her introduction of a birdwatching field guide, aimed at living birds, is considered the first in the tradition of modern bird guides. She wrote the first of these at the age of 26, initially as a series of notes in the Audubon Magazine and later as books. On December 18, 1899, she married Vernon Bailey, a pioneering naturalist who worked with her brother in the United States Bureau of Biological Survey. The naturalist couple traveled widely and they were together responsible for encouraging many youngsters take up studies in natural history. They lived at 1834 Kalorama Road, Northwest, Washington, D.C. 
Bailey became the first woman associate member of the American Ornithologists' Union in 1885, its first woman fellow in 1929, and the first woman recipient of its Brewster Medal in 1931, awarded for Birds of New Mexico. She was a founding member of the Audubon Society of the District of Columbia and frequently led its classes in basic ornithology. Her last major written work was Among the Birds in the Grand Canyon National Park, published by the National Park Service in 1939. A subspecies of California Mountain Chickadee was named Parus gambeli baileyae in her honor in 1908.
She died in Washington, D.C., on September 22, 1948.
|About Florence Augusta Merriam Bailey|
|By Florence Augusta Merriam Bailey|
- Birds Through An Opera Glass, 1889, Riverside Library for Young People, pub. Houghton, Mifflin & Co, New York & Boston;
- My Summer In A Mormon Village, 1894, pub. Houghton, Mifflin & Co, New York & Boston;
- A-Birding on a Bronco, 1896, pub. Houghton, Mifflin & Co, New York & Boston;
- How Birds Affect the Farm and Garden, 1895, pub. Forest and Stream Publishing;
- Birds of Village and Field, c. 1898, pub. Houghton, Mifflin & Co, New York & Boston;
- Handbook of Birds of The Western United States (with Wells Woodbridge Cooke), 1902, pub. Houghton, Mifflin & Co, New York & Boston;
- Birds of New Mexico, 1928, pub. New Mexico Department of game and fish in cooperation with the State game protective association and the Bureau of biological survey;
- Among the Birds in the Grand Canyon Country, 1939, pub. United States Government Printing Office;
- Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7417, Bailey, Florence Merriam, 1863, Florence Merriam Bailey Papers
- Paul H. Oehser, “In Memoriam: Florence Merriam Bailey,” Auk 69(1952): 26. 
- Richard H. Cracroft and Neal E. Lambert. A believing People (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1974) p. 87
- Barrow, Mark. 1998. A Passion for Birds. Princeton. p. 156-157
- DC Writer's Homes - An Online Guide to Where Authors Lived in the Greater Washington DC Region
- Kofalk, Harriet, No Woman Tenderfoot: Florence Merriam Bailey, Pioneer Naturalist, 1989, Texas A&M University Press ISBN 0-89096-378-9
- The Florence Merriam Bailey Photograph Collection and Finding Aid from the Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Birds through an Opera Glass (1889)
- Birds of Village and Field: A Bird Book for Beginners (1898)
- The Condor (1904)
- Online guide to the Florence Merriam Bailey Papers, The Bancroft Library