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Owen J. Gromme Field Notes 1914-1989 Edgewood College Library Digital Collections Edgewood College Library Digital Collections

About this Collection

The Field Notes of Owen J. Gromme is a collection of twenty two volumes, beginning on April 13, 1914 and concluding on August 8, 1989, only weeks before the stroke that would still Gromme's creative life. Included are three volumes of African Field Notes from the great Cudahy-Massey Expedition of 1928-1929, the expedition that built the African collection at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Owen Gromme in the field This is an unprecedented collection in the field of Natural History -- acute observations of one man through eight decades. Here one reads of the young Gromme, at dawn on the Eldorado Marsh, studying the nests of the American Bittern, returning in successive years to discover fewer eggs with less tinsel strength... the observation and realization of the impact of the first use of DDT by local farmers -- this insight decades before Rachel Carson would create the environmental movement with the publication of Silent Spring. Twenty two volumes filled with observations, studies, and sketches by an author, artist, botanist, biologist, zoologist -- a pioneering environmentalist and wildlife ecologist.

Owen J. Gromme was considered the 20th Century's Audubon. His legacy is linked to that of John Muir and Aldo Leopold.


Access to the Field Notes of Owen J. Gromme has been made possible through the generosity of:

The Field Notes of Owen J. Gromme are available online exclusively from Edgewood College, embodying the mission to develop intellect, spirit, imagination and heart.

About Owen Gromme

Owen J. Gromme was born on July 5, 1896 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. He developed his keen powers of observation, sense of detail, and love of the natural world by following in the footsteps of his outdoorsman father. At 21 he took a job as a taxidermist at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Several years later he joined the Milwaukee Public Museum. Owen Gromme's work there continued as he moved from taxidermist, to curator of birds and mammals, and eventually heading the department. In 1965 he retired from the museum as Curator Emeritus. He continued to be an ardent protector of Wisconsin's natural resources until his death on October 29, 1991.

The legacy of Owen Gromme's dedication to conservation can be seen in his many accomplishments: helping to found the International Crane Foundation, working to restore the Horicon Marsh as a wildlife preserve, and convincing federal and state officials to enact much-needed conservation measures. He was devoted to many organizations with conservation missions and would donate his original art with rights of publication to support them. Ducks Unlimited, Wetlands for Wildlife, Pheasants Forever, as well as Quail Forever were among the organizations that benefitted.

Owen Gromme was asked to design the 1945-46 Federal Migratory Bird stamp, widely known as the Federal duck stamp, and was honored to be asked to design the first duck stamp issued by the State of Wisconsin in 1979.

In addition to his wildlife painting (for which he is probably most famous), Owen Gromme's years of research yielded a wide range of publications, including his masterpiece "Birds of Wisconsin."

More information about Owen Gromme and his work can be found in the following books:

The contents of this collection are Copyright © 1989 Anne Marie Gromme and Roy Owen Gromme, all rights reserved. Anyone interested in reproducing, quoting, or otherwise publishing Owen J. Gromme's Field Notes (beyond the Fair Use provision of United States Copyright law) must obtain written permission from the copyright owners. Contact information is available from the Edgewood College Library Digital Collections.

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