Reuniting Finley and Bohlman

This is the first post in a series detailing the joint project between OSU and OHS to bring together and digitize the William Lovell Finley and Herman T. Bohlman photograph and manuscript collections held by these institutions. 

William L. Finley and Herman Bohlman with the umbrella blind in the tules, 1908 (William L. Finley Photographs Collection, circa 1900-1940 (Org. Lot 369, OHS))

William L. Finley and Herman Bohlman with the umbrella blind in the tules, 1908 (William L. Finley Photographs Collection, circa 1900-1940 (Org. Lot 369, OHS))

William Lovell Finley trained as a biologist at the University of California-Berkeley and shared an early passion for birds with his childhood friend Herman T. Bohlman. Together, they developed an artistic knack for bird photography that provided an important body of scientific evidence. Backed by their keen observations and ability to communicate effectively with both policymakers and the public, they had a dramatic influence upon local and national conservation viewpoints and policies.

Finley and Bohlman’s activism, along with that of other Oregon bird lovers, led to the passage of the Model Bird Act of 1903 and the formation of the Oregon Audubon Society (now the Audubon Society of Portland). Their images also played a key role in President Theodore Roosevelt’s decision to declare Three Arch Rocks, Klamath, and Malheur as special wildlife reservations. William Finley worked for the state of Oregon for eight years, serving as Oregon fish and game commissioner, state game warden, and state biologist. Finley’s wife, Irene, also took an active role after their marriage in 1906, working as his field partner. The two worked together on several nature films and published a large body of books and articles on ornithology, wildlife, and conservation.

The materials in this collection are the result of a yearlong partnership between the Oregon Historical Society Research Library and the Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives Research Center to digitize the Finley and Bohlman photograph and manuscript collections held by our libraries. Now reunited online, the materials represent over fifty years (1899-1946) of work to document and protect the diversity of bird life in Oregon.

Species names and descriptions are drawn from original metadata and may not reflect currently accepted naming conventions or terms. The Reuniting Finley and Bohlman Collection pulls materials from several preexisting OSU and OHS collections. These collections include:

Collections held at OSU:

MSS Finley – William L. Finley Papers, 1899-1946
P 202 – Herman T. Bohlman Photograph Collection, ca. 1890-1925

osu-affc8cb5897e9f4cb7b29c76023a4763

Collections held at OHS:

Coll 542 – Herman T. Bohlman lecture notes
Mss 2654 – William L. Finley letters and scrapbook
Org. Lot 369 – William L. Finley photograph collection

ohs-666ac113287d835373d89728e9099757

This project is supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.

imls-54d1ce245272241a5b116f14d7354555

This entry was posted in Main Page. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *