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Baldwin Wallace University

About this collection

Henry Wood Elliott Collection in the Archives of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History

 

Henry Wood Elliott was a naturalist who devoted his life to studying and preserving the fur seals of the Pribilof Islands off Alaska. In 1872, Elliott was appointed Assistant Treasury Agent for the Pribilof Islands where part of his job was to collect taxes on the sealskins that had been harvested by the Aleuts of the islands. While stationed there, Elliott created accurate sketches of seals, seal hunters, and Alaska scenery.

 

By the early 20th century, commercial fur companies from the U.S., Canada, Russia, and Japan were ruthlessly harvesting seals. The techniques they were using led to such a rapid decline in the population of the seals that Elliott began to push for seal hunting regulations. His efforts resulted in the Fur Seal Treaty of 1911, the first international treaty to address conservation. Elliott fought this scandal and other seal skin issues through Congress until 1926. He died quietly in Seattle in 1930.

 

This collection consists of letters, postcards, newspaper clippings, handwritten notes, paintings, and other material put together by Henry Wood Elliott. While the subject matter varies, the majority of the collection focuses on the fur seals of Alaska, the scandal surrounding these seals, and the creation of the Fur Seal Treaty of 1911.

 

Full finding aid available upon request. Contact Wendy Wasman, Librarian & Archivist, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, (216) 231-4600, x3222, wwasman@cmnh.org.

 
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