MsC 404

  Manuscript Register


Collection Dates: 1882 -- 1904
1 linear ft.

This document describes a collection of materials held by the
Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1420
Phone: 319-335-5921
Fax: 319-335-5900

Posted to Internet: October 2002

Acquisition Note: Mr. Talbot donated these materials to the University of Iowa over a period of years, beginning in 1891.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Photographs: Box 1 , Box 2

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

Copyright:  Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on "Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials"

Use of Collections: The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Use of Manuscripts Statement.

Biographical Note

Daniel Hector Talbot was an attorney, an amateur naturalist -- and a colorful resident of Sioux City, Iowa, after the Civil War and into the 1920s. From a letter dated October 20, 1946 sent by H. H. Sterling (San Francisco) to Melvin Sterling (Iowa City) we learn that Talbot "had an office in one of Sioux City's early day shack buildings though I never heard of his trying a case, except his own. He must have had considerable means, as he bought up a lot of old soldiers "Script" issued to them after the Civil War and applicable on open U.S. land. With large amounts of Script he acquired a vast holding of land in North and South Dakota territories. This land was traded for land along the Big Sioux River in Woodbury and Plymouth Counties, 7500 acres of rough timber and grazing and some tillable. This was divided into tracts 1, 2, 3, fenced and cross-fenced at great expense with boughten cedar posts and barbed wire, which was new at that time. They tried out three types and the kind most suited seemed to be one made from a flat galvanized strip with teeth on each side, then twisted in a loose twist and very strong.

"He made a trip to Labrador and had a dead whale shipped to Sioux City, whether for exhibition or scientific purposes can't say as the thing was so far gone that he refused to accept it and in the squabble between himself and the mail company the town had to intervene and get an order to haul it away and dump it in the river. That's the first intimation that I've heard that Sioux City had any health department.

"These things took place in the early 1880s or late 1870s [actually August-September 1882]. The only incident I know of his trying to make the land pay was bringing in thousands of yearling cattle to graze about 1885.

"He made a trip to Europe and Mediterranean country and came back with two Numbian lions which were installed in pits (other pits) with wolves and some kind of bears. He had deer and burros from foreign land and a big American bison which he used to try to produce a cross with native cattle but the result was hybrid (cattle) and never got past the second cross. They were immense things with such large shoulders that the cows had to be killed to deliver them. There were subtracts to hold the different animals, some of the fences up to 16 barb wire and immense posts, in spire of which they broke out at times.

"This land was miles from the town and he lived there and drove back and forth to his office. All this was for his private person and not open to the public. He build several dwellings and at least three large barracks-like buildings to store books and specimens.

"He even tried to experiment as to the "Missing Link" which resulted in a law suit by a woman he had taken out from town and a large ape alledged to have chewed and injured her, settled out of court.

"The First National Bank at Sioux City made Talbot a loan some time along here and when the bank failed in the early 90s the loan was not allowed by the government authorities and to make it legal the president, T. J. Stone, had to take over the loan personally and later proceeded to foreclose and take title, disposing of the upper farms and finally selling the no. 1 to the city of Sioux City and it was made into Stone Park.

"Talbot died in a small shack in N. Riverside within the last 20 years destitute."

There is some evidence that Talbot made a 1878 trip to Wyoming with Thomas Edison to observe a solar eclipse, an 1883 trip down the Arkansas River collecting bird specimens, but there are no confirming documents in this collection. Some of the photographs described below indicate a trip to south Texas in 1885.

In 1891, Talbot gave the University of Iowa Library a substantial collection of books on natural history, including Charles Wilson's American Ornithology (1808-1814) and the 1840 Philadelphia: Chevalier Audubon Birds of America. In 1911, he gave another 300 books, bringing the entire collection to some 2700 titles. The Wilson and Audubon titles remain in the collections today; others were lost in an 1897 fire; and in the 1930s the collection was dispersed to the Libraries' general collections.

Scope and Content

The D. H. Talbot Collection consists primarily of photographs dating from the late 1800's to early 1900's. Photographs are organized by location and subject.

Box List

Box 1

Talbot's correspondence with the Library concerning his gifts of books, 1890 -- 1911.

Correspondence and Library memoranda about the collection, 1911 -- 1930.

Talbot to C.C. Nutting, Professor of Zoology and Curator of the Natural History Museum, The University of Iowa; ALS 27 January 1903; Talbot to Thomas G. Henderson, Sioux City, ccTMs dated 15 December 1905, 56 pages, describing his breeding and other experiments.

"Live Wild Animals Wanted". Broadside circular mailed by Talbot. With self-addressed stamped return envelope.

Photographs. The following photographs were made by Talbot (with the few apparent exceptions noted) and carry his captions (typically on the recto of the card mount) which we have transcribed here).


San Francisco, MacDonald & Dowe [commercially published] city views: Lotta Fountain on Geary (#16 ); Lobby of the Palace Hotel (#18); Pine & Montgomery Streets (Stock Exchange on left side) (#50).


Battle Harbor

View looking north from height near Battle Harbour, church and iceberg in distance. August 1882. (9 copies)

Battle Harbor -- three miles from place of observation, 1882 (1 item)

Codfish drying, Battle Harbor Co.'s works -- August 1882 (1 item)

One of two or three gardens in Labrador, Battle Harbor, August/September 1882, (3 copies)

Battle Harbor harbor scenes, small fishing, local and one foreign, vessels after fish, August 1882. With later negative. (2 items)

Iceberg grounded north of Battle Harbor, exposure made from whale boat. August 1882. With later negative. (1 item)

One part of Battle Harbor, iceberg stranded shown in distance. August 1882 (1 item).


The habitation of a woman fishemrman in Labrador. She lives alone about a half mile north of Chateua and is claimed to be quite well to do, having many men working for her and who bring their catch of fish to her in their Smocks. With later negative. 1882 (2 items)

Temple Tickle near Chateau. On the summit of the elevations sown on the right we found grape and cannister shot, also an old knife and other relics, where tradition gives us the Acadians made a final stand for liberty in this barren country. To the east of this place, some distance also east of Whale Island are to be found many ruins of a rock built stockage, as we were advised, where these pioneers struggled against their oppressors, and likely the few that were left went to the summit of the hill or low mountain here shown. It was a dreary place to cope with a vicious "survival of the fittest" oppressor. With later negative. (2 items)

Chateau from the west. Fog, August 1882 (3 copies)

Four of our party & porpoise 5 feet long caught near Chateau, August 1882 (2 copies)

Fox Harbor

Fox Harbor, taken from the vessel at anchor. 1882. (5 copies)

Eskimo family & what is claimed to be the best native house in that country. The owner went to Boston & other American ports -- like Peter the Great did to England -- some years ago, to study ship building & He succeeding enough in the art, so that he now owns one of the neatest & most seaworthy vessels I noticed while in Labrador. This vessel it is claimed was modeled & built entirely by himself & a few Eskimo companions. The younger of the women here shown informed me that owing to too much scandal was the cause of her having several husbands. When asked the number she began to count on her finders and while enumerating stated where each one was. In this house was a young man made blind from the effects of the smoke from fires used in the winter during the forced tent life of these people. This was a common ailment with the men; women were not exposed to changes from [...]. to outside and consequently not so affected [...]. Dogs shown here are the native or Eskimo dogs. Some of which are used to carry the mail in [...] and will make one hundred miles in a day. The slay is called a Kometie, August 1882 (2 items)

Eskimo family and summer residence, Fox Harbor. In winter they move to the interior and there live in skin tents. (5 copies), August 1882 (5 items)

Box 2

Labrador, Fox Harbor, cont.

Eskimo family and summer residence (11 copies), 1882 (11 items)

Eskimo village, upper end of Lewis Sound (6 copies), August 13, 1882 (6 items)

"Oldest" settler and his relations, August 1882 (1 item). (with negative)

Henley Harbor

Taken during a fog as most all other exposures were made while in Labrador, August 1882 (1 item). (with negative)


Coastal views: Gloucester fishing schooner, Village, Coast Scene, (3 separate photos) 1882. (3 items) (with 3 negatives)

Three men with a fair size salmon, 1882 (1 item)


Monterey City (1 item)

Churches (2 separate photos) (2 items)


New York

Lockport -- Sutherland family of seven sisters (1 item)



Corpus Christi -- Buildings, birds, families, and river (8 separate photos), 1885 (8 items):

Nueces River near where it empties into Corpus Christi bay. About 18 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. A choice place to collect various forms of marine life.

On the low sandy plains near the Gulf of Mexico. [...] of Corpus Christi, Texas, are hundred of pools of brackish water and in these pools are to be found many ... of the American Coot as here shown.

Nest of Chaparel Cock with bird on nest. This exposure was made near Corpus Christi in Southern Texas, where the Chaparel Cock is very common and being so shy is exceptionally hard to approach.

Post office and store on the banks of the Nueces River near Corpus Christie, Texas.

A Texas home.

Residence of P.P. Doddridge Esq. Corpus Christi, Texas: Has a front view of Corpus Christi bay a magnificent view, Summer 1885.

Residenc of P.P. Doddridge Esq. Corpus Christi, Texas.

A Mexican Family near Corpus Christi.

Laguna de Madre -- Brown pelicans (3 separate photos), 1885 (3 items):

The home of the brown pelicans on an island in Laguna de Madre near the Gulf of Mexico, Southern Texas.

Young brown pelicans at home on an island in Laguna de Madre.

The older brown pelicans some distance from the breeding grounds - though on the same island in Laguna de Madre.

Southern Texas

Camp, pelican, school and sea turtle (4 separate photos), 1885 (4 items)

School house (2 copies), Summer 1885 (2 items)



Arapahoe Indians (4 separate photos) (4 items):

"Sharp Nose" Arapahoe Chief. Fort Washakie, Wyo.

Arapahoe Baby Carriage


"Catch Bear"

Birds (1 item)

Corn (5 separate photos), 1903-1904 (5 items):

Sweet form of top corn

Self-fertilized top corn

Branching form of top corn

Plume form of top corn

Corn - 2 line drawings

Sheep, 1905 (l item)

Texas schools (2 separate photos), 1885 (2 items)

Work shop (1 item)

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