Vernon Orlando Bailey

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Vernon Orlando Bailey
Vernon Bailey portrait photograph.jpg
Known forResearch on animal trapping, beavers, rodents, coyotes, wolves, bobcats
Scientific career
InstitutionsUnited States Department of Agriculture

Vernon Orlando Bailey (1864–1942) was an American naturalist who specialized in mammalogy. He was employed by the Bureau of Biological Survey, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).[1] His contributions to the Bureau of Biological Survey numbered roughly 13,000 specimens including many new species. Bailey published 244 monographs and articles during his career with the USDA, and is best known for his biological surveys of Texas, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Oregon.

Life and work[edit]

Photograph taken for Vernon Orlando Bailey during his work as field naturalist for the United States Department of Agriculture Bureau of Biological Survey. Bailey was particularly interested in creating more humane animal traps and devoted much of his time after retirement to this cause.

The fourth child of Emily and Hiram Bailey, Vernon Orlando Bailey was born on June 21, 1864 in Manchester, Michigan. Bailey and his pioneer family moved by horse-drawn wagon to Elk River, Minnesota in 1870. Hiram Bailey was a woodsman and a mason by trade that taught his son how to hunt at an early age. Since there was no school in the frontier town at the time, the Baileys schooled their children at home until they and several other local families established a school in 1873. Vernon briefly attended the University of Michigan and later Columbian University. While in Washington D.C., Bailey began collecting specimens and forwarding them to Dr. C. Hart Merriam, founder of the Bureau of Biological Survey (the predecessor to the current U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). Bailey was appointed special field agent to the Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy in 1887. By 1890, Bailey was awarded the title of Chief Field Naturalist. He served in this position until his retirement in 1933. He was the president of the American Society of Mammalogists from 1933 to 1934, which he also helped found in 1919.[2]

During his career, his fieldwork focused on collecting and describing mammals, but also included birds reptiles and plants. His efforts provided the bureau some 13,000 mammal specimens.[3] In 1899, he married ornithologist Florence Augusta Merriam. The two traveled the United States together and separately collecting and observing specimens in the field. They co-authored several articles including "Cave life of Kentucky" with Leonard Giovannoli, published in the September 1933 edition of American Midland Naturalist (Vol. 14, No. 5).


Vernon Bailey Peak is a 6670 ft (2033 m) peak in Big Bend National Park in Texas.[4]


Associated eponyms[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Vernon Orlando Bailey". United States Forest Service.
  2. ^ Biographies of ASM Presidents, American Society of Mammalogists
  3. ^ Chapman, Brian R.; Bolen, Eric G. (2018). The Natural History of Texas. College Station, TX: Texas A&M Press. ISBN 978-1-62349-572-5.
  4. ^ "Vernon Bailey Peak". Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  5. ^ "Chrysothamnus baileyi Wooton & Standley". Contrib. U.S. Natl. Herb. 16: 181. 1913.
  6. ^ "Ostrya baileyi Rose". Contrib. U.S. Natl. Herb. 8: 293. 1905.
  7. ^ Ostrya knowltonii
  8. ^ "9. Tillandsia Baileyi Rose". Flora of the Southeastern United States. 246: 1328. 1913.
  9. ^ "Echinocereus baileyi, a new cactus from Oklahoma". Contrib. U.S. Natl. Herb. 12: 403. 1909.
  10. ^ "Sarcobatus baileyi ". Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 7: 77. 1892.
  11. ^ Mozingo, Hugh Nelson (1987). "Greasewood, S. baileyi". Shrubs of the Great Basin: A Natural History. University of Nevada Press. p. 84.
  12. ^ "Yucca baileyi Wooton & Standley". Contrib. U.S. Natl. Herb. 16: 181. 1913.
  13. ^ "New Western Plants, Part II. Two New Species of Campanula from the Pacific Coast". Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 29: 525. 1902.
  14. ^ Campanula baileyi Eastw. — The Plant List
  15. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Bailey, V.O.", p. 14).
  16. ^ Wild Herps - Eastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris)

External links[edit]