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This site will be under construction in perpetuity. Through it, we hope to highlight some of the personalities and issues that have been seminal to the growth and development of the MVZ.


"October 28, 1907

"Dear President Wheeler,

Original MVZ Building
"Should the University of California within the next six months erect a galvanized iron building furnished with electric light, heat and janitor's services and turn it over to my entire control as a Museum of Natural History for the next seven years, I will guarantee the expenditure of $7000 yearly during that time for field and research work relating exclusively to mammals, birds, and reptiles of the west coast, with the understanding that the University of California would be in no way responsible for the management of the funds for carrying out the work, or selection of collectors....

"Very sincerely, Annie M. Alexander"

The funds that Annie Montague Alexander was offering to the University would be used to pay salaries of the Museum staff, to make and prepare specimen collections from throughout the state, to purchase supplies, casework, and equipment for the housing and long-term preservation of specimens, and to cover the costs associated with producing publications which would result from research based on the collections. Alexander's letter further recommended the appointment of Joseph Grinnell as Museum Director. Together, these two individuals would create a "center of authority" for the study of vertebrate biology and evolution on the West Coast that became comparable to the major museums on the East Coast, in the Midwest, and across the Atlantic.

The following pages represent the bare outline of a work very much in progress. Please follow the paths we have drawn here through MVZ history for a closer look at the people, places, and ideas that have shaped this institution and, through it, a multitude of disciplines within evolutionary biology.


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