Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Pomeroy at the American Museum of Natural History

I need a break from cleaning my desk. So many fascinating things land on it, and if you’re a genealogist you know that you never actually finish researching. So things tend to pile up. I’ve been working on the pile for almost three hours now, so it was a pleasant surprise to receive an e-mail from Mai Q., a Research Services Librarian in the Department of Library Services at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. I had sent them an e-mail just yesterday and am quite impressed at the how quickly I got a response.

So why, you ask, did I e-mail the Museum? Well, let me tell you! Bill’s wife Sandra had e-mailed me a digital photo that her daughter-in-law had taken at the museum on a recent visit. The photo was a plaque that read “A Gift from Daniel E. Pomeroy”. Only part of the item that Daniel gifted was visible on the photo, and it read “PLAINS”. From the looks of the image, I guessed it was one of the Museum’s famous dioramas. I went out to the Museum’s website and browsed the diorama images, but I couldn’t pull up all the images. I did see one entitled “Serengeti Plains”, but without the image, couldn’t be sure this was it. I also checked our database for a Daniel E. Pomeroy and found a Daniel E. Pomeroy, born May 1868 in PA, son of Newton Merrick and Annis A. Pomeroy who lived in Englewood, NJ in between 1900 and 1928 and who was the Vice President of the Bankers Trust Company in New York City, and who, on 29 Jun 1928, was appointed to a committee at the Republican National Campaign meeting at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC. Was this the same Daniel E. Pomeroy who donated funds (or items) for the Serengeti Plains diorama at the American Museum of Natural History? I knew I didn’t know, and I hoped that the Museum would know, so I contacted the Department of Library Services.

Thank goodness for librarians! In one day I had my answer. Mai Q., not only sent me information about Daniel’s support of the Museum, but also his obituary! According to the Roy Chapman Andrews Papers, Daniel E. Pomeroy was elected a Life Member of the Museum for “contributing funds for carrying on an ornithological survey of Ecuador. On November 9, 1925, at a meeting of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Pomeroy was elected an Associate Founder for his generous contribution for the collecting and preparing of a group for the African hall of the museum, and, in recognition of his generosity and especially of his genuine interest in the development of the Museum.” In 1926 he was elected a Trustee of the Museum. In 1931 he was elected a Benefactor of the Museum. The report goes on to say that “In 1926 through the generosity of Mr. Pomeroy and Mr. George Eastman and Colonel Daniel B. Wentz, Mr. Carl Akeley of the Museum staff left for Africa in search of additional specimens for the African Hall. He was accompanied by Mrs. Akeley and joined later by Messrs. Pomeroy, Eastman and Wentz. They secured a splendid series of specimens for the Africa Hall groups which far surpassed expectations.” The report also states that “Mr. Pomeroy has served as First Vice-President and as a Member of the Executive Committee of The American Museum of Natural History Planetarium Authority since its foundation in 1933.”

The obituary confirmed that this generous Daniel E. Pomeroy, was indeed the son of Newton Merrick and Annis A. Pomeroy. The following obituary ran in the New York Times on Friday, March 26, 1965:

Was Jersey G.O.P. Official – Naturalist and Sportsman.
Special to The New York Times.

Daniel E. Pomeroy, a New York financier and naturalist who twice served as the vice chairman of the Republican National Committee, died at his home in Sea Island, Ga., yesterday. He was 96 years old.

Mr. Pomeroy, who lived in Englewood, N.J., at 47 Beech Road, was a former vice president of the Bankers Trust Company and a member of its board of directors at his death. He had been active in New Jersey politics, serving for 21 years as a member of the state’s Republican committee.

An avid naturalist and big-game hunter, Mr. Pomeroy also served as a trustee of the American Museum of Natural History of New York for 11 years and was a member of the Eastman Expedition to British East Africa in 1926.

On that expedition, he worked closely with George Eastman, founder of the Eastman Kodak Company, and Carl F. Akeley, the sculptor and mananologist, in collecting data and specimens for the African Hall of the museum...”

I would like to personally thank Daniel E. Pomeroy for his generous support of this wonderful museum. I have fond childhood memories of days spent at the museum. I wasn’t hunting Pomeroys back then, though!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nancy. We had a great time at the museum. The diaramas are so beautiful and have such detail. There are at least two donated by Daniel E. Pomeroy. We can't wait to go back again. Have fun, Ameera


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