Showing 187 results

People and organizations
Person · 1878-1903

Robert Thomas Anderson (1878-1903) was an Ontario naturalist with an interest in botany, mineralogy, entomology, ornithology, and taxidermy. Born in Elora, Ontario, on February 10, 1878, Anderson's bird specimens, originally held by the Biological Museum of the University of Toronto, were an important part of the collection that was used to form the Royal Ontario Museum - Library and Archives. Anderson drowned on June 16, 1903 at Go Home Bay, Ontario, while still a student at Victoria University, Toronto.

Atkinson, George E.
Person · [ca.1868-1870]-1913

George E. Atkinson (1869 or 1870-1913) was a taxidermist specializing in birds.

Atkinson was born and raised in Toronto, ON, where he began collecting birds, insects, and reptiles around 1884. When the University of Toronto’s natural history museum was gutted by fire in February 1890, Atkinson offered his assistance to Prof. Ramsay Wright, professor of Biology, in rebuilding the collections. Prof. Wright soon employed him to collect and prepare specimens, and assist in his research of the development of feathers. These specimens were a part of the collection that was used to form the Royal Ontario Museum.
In 1895, Atkinson moved to Manitoba, settling in Winnipeg, where he was appointed official Naturalist for the government of Manitoba. He later settled in Portage la Prairie, where he opened a taxidermy shop.

Atkinson managed a number of natural history exhibits at various exhibitions, including the World’s Fair in Paris, in 1900, where his mounted specimens were awarded the gold medal. He also managed an exhibit of live and mounted specimens for the Pan-American Exposition on Buffalo, NY, in 1901.

He was the first to publish observations from Simcoe County, Ontario, and among the earliest to publish observations from Hamilton, Thunder Bay, and Toronto, Ontario. He went on produce a number of publications on the birds of Manitoba.

Atkinson served as the Recording Secretary of the Ornithological Subsection of the Biological Section of the Canadian Institute, and was actively involved in the Biological Society of Ontario.

Atkinson drowned near Glenboro, Manitoba, in June 1913, while conducting a sailing outing for the Society of Elks junior members.

Baillie, James L. · Person · 1904-1970

James L. Baillie was born in Toronto, July 4, 1904 and was educated at King Edward School and Harbord Collegiate. He joined the staff at the Royal Ontario Museum in 1922 and served in the Department of Ornithology as Technical Assistant, Research Assistant and Assistant Curator until his death in 1970.

Baillie was involved in many organizations, including The American Ornithologists Union, the Toronto Field Naturalists, the Federation of Ontario Naturalists, the Canadian Audubon Society, the Toronto Ornithology Club, the Field Biologists' Club and the Brodie Club.


Frederick Barratt (1918-1939) was a bird artist from Cameron, Ontario. By the time of his early death on December 3, 1939 in Toronto, Barratt had already exhibited paintings at the Royal Ontario Museum - Library and Archives and sold illustrations to nature magazines.

Beaupre, Edwin, 1873-1930

Edwin Beaupre (1873-1930) was an amateur ornithologist and collector of birds and their eggs and nests. Beaupre was born in Portsmouth Ont., near Kingston, on August 10, 1873, and he lived most of his life in the area. In addition to his field observations and egg collecting, Beaupre was a bird photographer and bander. He was an Associate of the American Ornithologists’ Union, and contributed articles to various journals, including the Canadian Field Naturalist. His diaries, publications, and egg collections cover a 30-year time period, and were, at the time, the longest consecutive account of birds in the Kingston area.

Bell, Garnet S.

Garnet S. Bell was a mycologist in the Toronto area, who collected fungi specimens from around Toronto for twenty years. In 1933, his list of larger fungi in the Toronto region was published by the Canadian Institute. In and around 1924, he was a president of the Mycological Society of Ontario.

Beny, Roloff
Person · 1924-1988

Roloff Beny (1924–1984) was a Canadian photographer who spent the better part of his life in Rome and on his photographic travels throughout the world. Born Wilfred Roy Beny in Medicine Hat, Alberta, he later took as his first name Roloff, his mother's maiden name.

Berlin, Eugenia
Person · 1905-2003

Eugenia Berlin (1905–2003) was a Russian Empire-born Canadian sculptor, painter, designer and director. Born in Kharkov, Russian Empire, Berlin immigrated to Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1925. She studied sculpture, drawing, and design at the L'Ecole des Beaux Arts in Geneva, Switzerland under James Vibert and Valentine Métein-Gilliard and privately under William Métein. She attended Central Technical School in Toronto, studying under Elizabeth Wyn Wood and Bobs Coghill Haworth. At the Chouinard School of Art, Berlin studied under Alexander Archipenko and attended the Alexander Archipenko School in New York City. Berlin's primary discipline was sculpture but she also worked in mixed media, pottery, watercolour, and painting.

She practised, and was friends, with some of the pre-eminent artists in Canadian history: Emanuel Hahn, Elizabeth Wyn Wood, Jacobine Jones, Frances Loring and Florence Wyle, as well as artists that included Albert Jacques Franck, EB Cox, AJ Casson, Paraskeva Clark, Harold Town, AY Jackson, JWG Macdonald and Doris McCarthy.

Berlin exhibited at the National Art Gallery of Canada, Royal Canadian Academy, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, London Regional Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Art Gallery of Toronto, Hart House at the University of Toronto, UNESCO Exhibition of Canadian Art in Paris 1946, Toronto Winter Fair, King City Public Library (solo exhibition); Eaton's Art Gallery, Roberts Gallery (1959), J.M. Dent and Sons, and the Canadian Portrait Academy. During Berlin's forty year plus career she was appointed Director of the Saturday Morning Club at the Royal Ontario Museum, a position she held until her retirement. · Person · 1838-1932

Charles James Stewart Bethune was born in West Flamborough Township, Upper Canada on August 11, 1838. He was a graduate of Toronto’s Upper Canada College and University of Toronto’s Trinity College with a BA in 1859. He was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1862, after nine years, he was appointed headmaster of Trinity College School in Port Hope.

Between 1906 and 1920, as a professor and head of the entomology department at the Ontario Agricultural College (now a part of the University of Guelph), he pioneered the instruction of the science of insects at the university level.

Bethune cofounded the Entomological Society of Canada with William Saunders in 1863, where he served as its president for 11 years and edited its journal, the Canadian Entomologist for 30 years. At Guelph, he developed the teaching of economic entomology based on sound scientific principles, promoted the collection and careful identification of insects, and published widely on the lives of insects and on their control.

Corporate body · 1933-

Bishop William C. White purchased the collection forming the original library in 1933 from the family of late Chinese scholar, Mu Hsüeh-hsün, former secretary to the German legation in Peking. Bishop White himself contributed part of the money towards the purchase, the rest was funded by John C. Ferguson, Sigmund Samuel, and Sir Robert Mond.

The collection was known as the Far Eastern Library until 2017 when the collection was renamed The Bishop White Committee Library of East Asia.

Bleakney, J. Sherman · Person · 1928-2019

John Sherman Bleakley was born in 1928 to Ruby Isadore Mitchell and Guy Garfield Bleakley in Corning, New York. He spent his early childhood in Boston where his father was a Baptist minister, but his family moved to Wolfville, Nova Scotia before Bleakley began high school. He was educated at Acadia University where he hearned a B.Sc. (1949) and a M.Sc. (1951) and from McGill University with a Ph.D. (1956.) In 1957, Bleakley returned to Acadia University to work as a biology professor.

Bleakley’s main area of research was on sea turtles. But, the discovery of a sea slug on the Minas Basin mudflats peaked his research interest, and he morphed into a marine invertebrate zoologist specializing in nudibranchs, i.e. sea slugs. This research took the family for a year to the U.K. and Europe in the 1960s, where Sherman worked in marine labs in England, France and Scandinavia.

Bleakley’s sea slug collection were eventually donated to the ROM, and his research to the ROM Archives.

Bleakley passed away in Wolfville, Nova Scotia in 2019 at the age of 91.

Boggs, O.D.

O.D. Boggs was a petroleum geologist and amateur naturalist who contributed many ornithological and zoological specimens from Ecuador and Peru to the Royal Ontario Museum.

Bousfield, Edward Lloyd · Person · 1926-2016

Edward Lloyd Bousfield was born on June 19, 1926 in Penticton British Columbia. His family moved to Toronto in the 1930s and Ed attended Riverdale Collegiate Institute. Ed Bousfield and earned degrees at the University of Toronto and Harvard (PhD). He worked for many years at the National Museum of Natural Sciences (Museum of Nature). He retired from the Museum in 1986 and became a Research Associate at The Royal Ontario Museum and the Royal BC Museum. Ed was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, past president and Archivist of the Canadian Society of Zoologists, a member of the Ottawa Field Naturalists, the Brodie Club, and others. Ed Bousfield died on September 7, 2016 in Mississauga Ontario.

Boyle, David · Person · 1842-1911

David Boyle (1842-1911) was appointed Canada’s first full-time professional archaeologist by the Canadian Institute Museum in 1888. Boyle was born in Greenstock, Scotland and emigrated with his family to Western Canada in 1856. Moving from a career as a blacksmith, to bookseller, and in 1896 to a position as curator at the Ontario Provincial Museum, Boyle laid important foundation for the development of archaeological study in Ontario preceding the foundation of the Royal Ontario Museum. He remained a curator at the Ontario Provincial Museum until his death in 1911. · Person · 1910-1994

Katharine Beatrice (Betty) Maw was born in Hull, England in 1910. Her family immigrated to Canada in 1912. She graduated from the Ontario College of Art in 1931 and joined the staff of the Royal Ontario Museum in 1938 as a draughtsman. She left her position in 1944 to go overseas as a Welfare Officer with the Canadian Red Cross. She served as a Principal Welfare Officer with the Canadian Red Cross in Northwest Europe (Brussells) until June 1945. She rejoined the Textile Department in 1945 and was appointed curator of textiles in 1950. Betty married Gerard Brett in about 1949. She resigned from the ROM in 1968 and became an associate curator. She died in Toronto in 1994.

Brett, Walter
Person · 1836-1917

Walter Brett was born April 13, 1836 in London England. Brett was a naturalist who collected birds at Belleville and Niagara Falls, Ontario as well as several other areas of Canada and the USA. His collection was purchased by J.H. Fleming and eventually became a part of the Royal Ontario Museum.

Brodie, William
Person · 1831-1909

William G.A. Brodie was a dentist and naturalist active in the Toronto area throughout the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Brodie was born in 1831 in Peterhead, Aberdeen, Scotland to George Brodie and Jean Milne. At the age of four, Brodie's family moved to Upper Canada, Whitchurch Township and grew up surrounded by nature and fauna, and attending local schools in the area. He would marry Jane Anna MacPherson and have seven children together: one son and six daughters.

Brodie was trained and educated locally and became a teacher in the Whitchurch and Markham townships. He also studied dentistry and in 1870 was accepted as a member of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario. He would practice in Markham for over forty years. Brodie was known to refer to his work in dentistry as a "means to make a living" so that he could pursue his true passion for natural history and entomology.

Brodie was an avid naturalist and collected and studied all kinds of specimens. He became a recognized authority in entomology and botany. Brodie founded the Natural History Society of Toronto (originally known as the Toronto Entomological Society) and remained its president until its merger with the Canadian Institute to form it's biological collections. Brodie also wrote a number of articles which were published in the Canadian Entomologist, and the Toronto Evening News.

By 1900 his biological collections were one of the largest in the continent and contained over 100,000 specimens of flora and fauna. He was recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture as the best authority in North America on the aspect of plant pathology. In 1903, he sold a collection of 18,000 galls to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. 80,000 specimen were also sold to the Government of Ontario, who placed them in the Ontario Provincial Museum and named Brodie the curator and first Provincial Entomologist (or Biologist) and was able to retire from dentistry. Brodie remained in this role until his death from pneumonia on August 6, 1909.

The Brodie Club, founded in 1921 after his death, was named after him. The collections of the Ontario Provincial Museum would eventually come to form the basis of the collections at the Royal Ontario Museum.