Robert Thomas Moore

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R. T. Moore
Born(1882-06-24)June 24, 1882
DiedOctober 30, 1958(1958-10-30) (aged 76)
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania
Harvard University
Known forNew species
Moore collection
Scientific career

Robert Thomas ("R. T.") Moore (June 24, 1882 – October 30, 1958) was an American businessman, ornithologist, philanthropist, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Borestone Mountain Poetry Awards. In his obituary, Lionel Stevenson wrote, "Robert Thomas Moore was an exceptional amalgam of the poet, the scientist, and the man of affairs."[1]

Moore was the son of Henry D. Moore, a wealthy Philadelphia businessman.[2] Moore earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1904 and an M. A. from Harvard University in 1905 in English literature.[1] Moore's father was from Maine, and owned a family vacation camp at Big Benson. Moore purchased land on Borestone Mountain in Maine and began the Borestone Mountain Fox Company. The Company ran several fur farms that raised foxes for their pelts, which were used for fur garments.[2][3] In 1921 the Borestone Mountain farm was referred to as "the leading ranch in North America".[4] In the 1920s Moore opened the Borestone Mountain Ranch, which was a fur farm near Big Bear Lake in southern California.[5]

In addition to his business activities, Moore was an active ornithologist who published about 60 scientific papers.[6] From 1911–1916 Moore edited Cassinia, which is the journal of the Delaware Valley Ornithological Club.[7] Moore moved to California around 1929, and became an associate of the Department of Zoology at the California Institute of Technology. In 1933 he hired Chester C. Lamb to help build his collection of birds; Lamb worked with Moore on the project for 22 years, collecting ~40,000 bird and mammal specimens in Mexico from 1933 until 1955. Herbert Friedmann has written that Moore's "great achievement was his forming of the Moore collection, containing about 65,000 birds, over 80 percent of which are from Mexico, and 1,000 mammals, now housed in a building given by him to Occidental College in Los Angeles, with an endowment for its maintenance and for furthering studies on American birds, particularly those of Mexico and adjacent areas."[6] The Moore Laboratory of Zoology at Occidental College is still in operation half a century following Moore's death; the present director is Dr. John E. McCormack.[8] Friedmann also particularly notes Moore's discovery of two new bird species and a genus;[6] Moore is credited at the Integrated Taxonomic Information System with the discoveries of five bird species (the tufted jay, the masked mountain-tanager, the maroon-fronted parrot, the short-crested coquette, and the Balsas screech-owl) and thirty subspecies.[9]

Moore was first to climb the Ecuadorean stratovolcano Sangay in 1929.[10] From 1934–1938, Moore chaired the Galápagos Commission of Ecuador, which has worked to conserve the natural history of the Galápagos Islands.[6] In 1940, he was elected a Fellow of the American Ornithologists' Union.[6]

In 1946, Moore established the Borestone Mountain Poetry Awards.[1][11] In 1949, he published an anthology of poems selected from those published in 1948 by English-language magazines around the world; the authors of several of these poems were awarded cash prizes by a panel of noted poets working as volunteer judges. The prizes and publication of the anthology were continued annually through 1977, well past Moore's death in 1958.[12] Moore had established a charitable foundation to underwrite the expenses of administering the prizes and publishing the anthology.[13][14]

Upon his death, Moore bequeathed the land he owned on Borestone Mountain to the Audubon Society; the Audubon holdings were later enlarged by additional gifts from Moore's son and daughter and from others to its present size of 1,639 acres (663 ha).[15] In 2000, ownership of the sanctuary was transferred to the Maine Audubon Society; the sanctuary is open to hikers, and incorporates the Robert Thomas Moore Nature Center.


  1. ^ a b c Stevenson, Lionel (1960). "Robert Thomas Moore (1882–1958)". In Borestone Mountain Poetry Awards Staff (ed.). Best Poems of 1958: Borestone Mountain Poetry Awards 1959. Palo Alto: Pacific Books. ISBN 978-0-87015-095-1. Robert Thomas Moore was an exceptional amalgam of the poet, the scientist, and the man of affairs. ...over a number of years he set aside sums of money to be devoted to some project for the furtherance of creative literature. In 1947 he judged that the accumulation was adequate for his plans, and therefore he organized the Borestone Mountain Poetry Awards (named for his beautiful summer home in Maine), devoted to the recognition of the best poetry being currently written in the English language. The series of annual volumes, which he supervised as editor-in-chief, and the generous prizes awarded to separate poems and to books of verse, won him international acclaim as a discriminating patron of modem poetry, and undoubtedly provided the deepest gratification of his later years.
  2. ^ a b Sawtell, Bill (November 26, 2008). "The Moores and Borestone Mountain". Archived from the original on 2012-02-25.
  3. ^ Eubanks, E. U. (July 1918). "Fur Farming". Hunter-Trader-Trapper. XXXVI (4): 89.
  4. ^ Sanders, J. H. (July 1921). "The Silver Fox Ranch at Lake Tahoe, California". California Fish and Game. California Resources Agency, Department of Fish and Game. 7: 165.
  5. ^ "BBVHS – Area History – Fox Farming". The Big Bear Valley Historical Society. Archived from the original on 2007-11-02.
  6. ^ a b c d e Friedmann, Herbert (July 1964). "In Memoriam: Robert Thomas Moore" (PDF). The Auk. 81 (3): 326–331.
  7. ^ Cassinia, Volumes XV-XIX (1912–1916).
  8. ^ "Moore Laboratory of Zoology". Occidental College. February 13, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-07.
  9. ^ Search for taxon author "R. T. Moore" using the web-accessible database maintained at the Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
  10. ^ G. Edward Lewis (January 1950). "El Sangay, Fire-breathing Giant of the Andes". National Geographic: 117–24.
  11. ^ Borestone Mountain Poetry Awards 1953: A Compilation of Original Poetry Published in Magazines of the English-speaking World in 1952. University of Pennsylvania Press. 1953.
  12. ^ Borestone Mountain Poetry Awards Staff, ed. (1977). Best Poems of 1976: Borestone Mountain Poetry Awards 1977, Vol. 29. Palo Alto: Pacific Books. ISBN 978-0-87015-227-6.
  13. ^ Poetry Awards 1949: A Compilation of Original Poetry Published in Magazines of the English-speaking World in 1948. University of Pennsylvania Press. 1949.
  14. ^ "NCCS Organization Profile: Borestone Mountain Poetry Awards Foundation". National Center for Charitable Statistics. Retrieved 2009-07-14.
  15. ^ "Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary". Maine Audubon. Archived from the original on 2007-12-17.