Robert I. Bowman was an ornithologist whose research focus was the Galapagos Islands including the evolution of song in Darwin's Finches. He was a Biology Professor at San Francisco State and had a close association with the Academy since 1948. He was a Research Associate, Associate Editor of Pacific Discovery, a Fellow, and Board Member. He was also a founding member of the Executive Committee of the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Isles.
Cactospiza pallida: Tool using finch in studio. Robert I. Bowman © California Academy of Sciences.
I recently accessioned a portion of the Robert I. Bowman papers which includes his field notes, correspondence, reprints, Galapagos photographs and slides, and Galapagos aerial photographs from 1946 and 1964. We also received his son Carl A. Bowman's Galapagos slides and his wife Margret's scientific illustrations. I am still working with the Bowman family to prepare a second accession of additional materials including film.
We are still arranging and describing the materials that we have accessioned and plan to publish a finding aid to the collection once it is all accessioned and processed. However, as soon as word spread about our new collection we started to get requests to view and use the material before it was even processed. We have digitized Margret's beautiful illustrations of Galapagos finch skulls and several of Dr. Bowman's finch slides have been digitized and will be used in videos for the revised Galapagos Finch exhibit on the public floor.
Certhidea skull, 1961. Margret Bowman © California Academy of Sciences.
Margret's finch skulls from "Morphological Differentiation and Adaptation in the Galapagos Finches" will be used to update our Islands of Evolution exhibit.
Cactospiza skull, 1961. Margret Bowman © California Academy of Sciences.
Note the different shapes of the beaks.
G maqnirostris skull, 1961. Margret Bowman © California Academy of Sciences.
Galapagos finch on cactus. Robert I. Bowman © California Academy of Sciences.
Recording environmental sounds in the Galapagos. Robert I. Bowman © California Academy of Sciences.
- Danielle Castronovo
Archives & Digital Collections Librarian