Early Publications of the Bureau of Biological Survery

Early Publications of the Bureau of Biological Survery


photo of early publication on red squillFrom the beginning of the National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC), publications have been an important part of the organizational mission. The main functions of publications included education and activity reporting. While some material was specifically for agency and field staff use, much information was widely disseminated to the public. By the late 1920s, the editor of the Bureau of Biological Survey (BBS) publications stated: "The function of the Biological Survey with regard to furnishing information on the habits of wild animals is to present the facts unbiased and without ‘nature faking'."

NWRC originally began in 1886 as the Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The agency's name changed first to the Division of Biological Survey, next to the Bureau of Biological Survey, and then switched again in 1940 as the agency became part of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Despite a plethora of name alterations during its first sixty years, the Bureau of Biological Survey continued to publish the same types of material.

Extension and economic considerations were consistently a mandate for the agency and early publications provided a means to educate and inform the public. The BBS published specific types of material, which included the Annual Reports and Circular Series, both begun in 1886. In addition, BBS employees often wrote for USDA publications such as the Farmers' Bulletins, first distributed in 1898.

Take a look at early publications of the BBS and the USDA!


CAMERON, J. 1929. The Bureau of Biological Survey: its history, activities and organizations. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press.



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