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Baldwin Wallace University

About this collection

Arthur Baldwin Williams (1874-1951) received his A.B. from Yale University in 1898. He moved to Cleveland in 1905 and worked for the Cleveland Humane Society. He became a lawyer and worked in real estate beginning in 1909. Throughout his law career, Williams was drawn to the woods, and he went back to school to study ecology at Case Western Reserve University, earning his M.A. in 1932 and his Ph.D. in 1935. In 1930, Williams was hired by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History as its first naturalist. In 1939, the duties of Curator of Education were added to his title. He was a gifted teacher who laid the foundation for scientific observation and nature education in forests of the greater Cleveland area.

For nearly 22 years, Williams spent at least one day each week in the North Chagrin Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks. His most lasting contribution was the establishment in 1931 of a Trailside Museum in the North Chagrin Reservation, the first of its kind in the United States. Trailside Museums were soon established in the Rocky River and Brecksville Reservations.

Williams also wrote a weekly nature column for the Cleveland Press for 17 years. In addition, he published several books on the natural history of the Cleveland region, focusing on forests, geology, trees, and wildflowers. In 1946, Williams served as the chairman of the Committee on Moses Cleaveland Trees, and he took on the task of finding and documenting the largest trees in the area, those that would have been standing when Cleveland was established 150 years earlier.

This collection consists of field notes, journals, maps, photographs, and other material created by Arthur B. Williams. For more information, contact Wendy Wasman, Librarian & Archivist, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, (216) 231-4600, x3222, wwasman@cmnh.org.

 
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