In 1930, the University of Michigan became the permanent headquarters of the Wilson Ornithological Society and the Library was founded. It consists mainly of journal exchanges and donations by members of books, reprints, and journals, including the personal library of Josselyn Van Tyne, a Curator of Birds at the Museum and former editor of Wilson Journal of Ornithology. Many other members and organizations have given material, and together with the University’s Bird Division Library, this collection has become one of the preeminent sources of ornithological literature in North America. The Wilson Society Library currently contains approximately 3000 books, 4800 bound journal volumes, 63,000 reprints (700 boxes), 550 translations, plus dissertations, sound recordings, videos, and other miscellaneous material. Much additional material (including 4750 books and 450 journal volumes) is in the Bird Division Library.
The Library receives approximately 210 current ornithological journals, through exchanges with other organizations for the Wilson Journal of Ornithology, as gifts from organizations and members, and through subscription. Most major US and foreign journals are received, as well as many state, local, and minor serials. We have complete sets of most titles. The WOS and Bird Division have excellent collections of extinct and minor ornithological and natural history serials. Click here for a list of titles and holdings of our currently received journals.
Most of the material in the WOS library is catalogued by the University of Michigan, and appears in the on-line catalogue MIRLYN. There is a lot of uncatalogued material, however (notably serials, reprints, and translations), so members should contact the Librarian if they are not otherwise able to locate an item.
Most of the collection deals with the scientific aspects of bird study, including biology, ecology, behavior, taxonomy, conservation, distribution, anatomy and physiology. There is a small collection dealing with veterinary aspects of ornithology. A significant part of the reprint collection consists of the papers and translations collected by Drs. A. Lucas and P. Stettenheim for the USDA Avian Anatomy project in the late 1960s.
Donations of serials or books needed for the collection or gifts to the New Book fund are welcomed. Please contact the Librarian before sending any items.
Members of The Wilson Society may borrow items from the library by mail, paying only the return postage. Photocopies and pdf files of on-line journals are available. Please request by e-mail if possible. Non-members may be able to obtain catalogued items through Inter-Library Loan service at their own library.
To raise money for new books, journal subscriptions, etc., we sell our duplicate books and journal issues.