Delaware Valley Ornithological Club
SPECIAL MEETING in the LIBRARY of the ACADEMY:
Witmer Stone’s “Bird Studies at Old Cape May,” sets 1, 2 & 3, plus other Related Items, including Original Art for the Book, Original Letters, some Witmer Stone-collected Specimens and a Lecture by Bill Uhrich
This remarkable meeting was catalyzed by Bill Uhrich’s finding the third copy of Witmer Stone’s book (published in October, 1937), which had been signed to Conrad Roland, one of the book’s principal illustrators. Each of the books had been numbered (from 1 – 1400) at the time of printing. The third copy also contained within it some of the original art and also some letters, none of which had apparently been previously known. Robert Peck, Senior Research Associate at ANS-Drexel, learned of this find from Uhrich, and–along with assistance from Matt Halley, an ornithology graduate student at Drexel, and marvelous work by Greg Cowper & Jennifer Vess of ANS-Drexel–they mounted an evening exhibition and lecture that DVOC and the Berks Historical Society publicized. Forty-eight attendees enjoyed perusing copies of Stone’s volumes, original art work for the book by the artists Conrad Roland, Earl L. Poole, J. Fletcher Street, Richard E. Bishop and Francis Herbert Brown, specimens of birds and odes that Stone had collected at Cape May, a previously unknown portrait of Stone, the historical portraits on the library walls, and other items.
Following the initial segment of the evening, from 7:30-8:oopm, when attendees circulated among the items on display, Matthew Halley introduced the evening’s activities, as well as the main speaker, Mr. Bill Uhrich, a columnist and writer for the Reading EAGLE. Uhrich delivered an amusing and edifying lecture entitled “The Enduring Legacy of Witmer Stone’s Bird Studies at Old Cape May,” which told the story of the origin of the two-volume work, and delved into Stone’s relationships with Conrad Roland and Earl Poole, as well as with prominent members of DVOC who had been among the original signers of the first few published volumes. Those included Julian Potter, Arthur C. Emlen, Charles Urner, William Baily, John Bartram, Wharton Huber, N.J. McDonald, and others. Uhrich’s animated style and use of original letters to embellish his talk made it quite riveting and surprisingly intimate.
A gallery of moments (and items) at this Special Event:
Enjoying art work by Herbert Brown: Anne Bekker and friend
Sanderlings by Herbert Brown
Matt Halley providing information about the portraits on the walls
Awaiting the lecture by Bill Uhrich
Witmer Stone, by Conrad Roland