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Additional papers of David William Snow


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Comprises index cards, notebooks, research material for book "Birds and Berries" and biographical material.


  • Creation: c. 1949-2016


1.16 Linear metres (8 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 15602/1].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. 15602/1-8

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 15602


Additional papers of David William Snow (1924-2009), ornithologist

Biographical / Historical

David William Snow (30 Sep 1924 – 4 Feb 2009) was a celebrated English ornithologist born in Windermere, Westmorland.

He won a scholarship to Eton and started there in 1938 just before his 14th birthday. He won a scholarship to study classics at New College, Oxford but was called up to serve in the navy in April 1943 and served on several ships including destroyers, frigates, and sloops. After the end of World War II, he spent a year sailing through the Far East and to Australia. In 1946 he returned to Oxford and switched from classics to the study of zoology, earning a D.Phil degree in 1953.

In 1958, David married Barbara Kathleen Whitaker, who was the warden of Lundy Island. Barbara Snow was also a noted ornithologist and a geologist. From 1957 to 1961 the Snows worked for the New York Zoological Society at the society's research centre in Trinidad. Here they made detailed studies of the oilbirds (Steatornis caripensis) and the fascinating and very complex courtship dances of the white-bearded manakin (Manacus manacus) and the golden-headed manakin (Pipra erythrocephala).

From 1963 to 1964 he was the Director of the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) in the Galapagos Islands. He was Director of CDRS during the landmark expedition mounted from the University of California at Berkeley called the Galápagos International Scientific Project (GISP). He was also Director of Research for the British Trust for Ornithology from 1964 to 1968, and from 1968 to 1984 he worked at the Natural History Museum. From 1987 to 1990 he was president of the British Ornithologists' Union.

David Snow edited The Ibis, Bird Study and the Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club.

Following Barbara's death in 2007, he published Birds in Our Life, an account of their lives and their close ornithological partnership. Snow died at age 84 and is survived by two sons.


Arranged by type of material

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Alexander Library of Ornithology, 2018.

Related Materials

See also Papers of David William Snow (MS. 15482)

Catalogue of Additional Papers of David William Snow
Finding aid prepared by Francesca Alves
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom