Collection MG14 - Allan and Sarah Moses family collection

Title proper

Allan and Sarah Moses family collection

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  • Textual record
  • Graphic material

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents.
  • Variations in title: Formerly held as MG14 Allan Moses, Ornithologist.

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  • 1901-1953 (Creation)
    Moses, Allan

Physical description

60 cm of textual records
photographs : b&w

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Allan Leopold Moses (1881-1953), a naturalist born in New Brunswick, spent most of his life on Grand Manan Island. His father and grandfather were also naturalists and collected bird specimens as a secondary occupation, while Allan Moses gave his full time to the world of nature. He built a collection of more than 300 mounted birds in addition to supplying specimens to several museums in the United States.

Mr. Moses went on two museum expeditions: the first, for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to the South Atlantic, 1923-1926, where he was an assistant taxidermist; the second, for the American Museum of Natural History (New York) to Tanganyika (now Tanzania) and the Belgian Congo in 1928-1929, on which he was the only scientist and taxidermist.

Conservation was a life-long interest of Allan Moses. He was active in the programs of the Grand Manan Branch of the New Brunswick Fish and Game Protective Association and of the Maine Audubon Society. In 1930 he was instrumental in convincing Mr. Stirling Rockefeller to purchase Kent Island and turn it into a bird sanctuary for the preservation of the endangered eider ducks that nested there. In 1936, Kent Island was turned over to Bowdoin College, Maine, for use as a research station. It is still in operation in 2013.

In 1951, Mr. Moses presented his collection of mounted birds from the Bay of Fundy, along with those of his father and grandfather, as "A gift to all present and future students of natural history", to be maintained as the Moses Memorial Museum.

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Biographical history

Sarah Elizabeth Moses was born in 1877 , daughter of John R. Moses and Lydia Lewis. She was the sister of Allan Moses. She married in 1903 to Mr. William Alcot Smith and together had three daughters. At her passing on Dec 17, 1931 these comments were written by Buchanan Charles[, President of the Grand Manan Historical Society] about her life. “ Mrs. Smith herself, brought up in an atmosphere of geographical interests and scientific research, was unusually gifted with strong personal magnetism and also a remarkable power of self-expression that, as a writer, she showed in numerous articles on birds and other subjects, and in the voluminous correspondence which she conducted for the Saint Croix Courier and the Telegraph-Journal newspapers. Consistently with her position, modesty, kindness, a strong sense of justice, and fine public spirit were among her marked characteristics. She was always eager to find and ready to acknowledge merit of others; she gave her time, knowledge, and assistance generously to whomever might ask; and her concern for the welfare of talent and in such activities as her share in the founding of a public library at North Head twenty-five years ago, in the establishing of the Three Island bird sanctuary, and in organizing and conducting of the Grand Manan Historical Society, of which she was a charter member and director.”

Custodial history

Allan Moses, his sister Sarah, members of the family, and others donated these records to the Grand Manan Museum. Some records were donated ca. 1960.

Scope and content

This collection consists of personal journals, correspondence and other materials. The business and personal letters were written by and to Allan Moses, his sister Sarah, and Sarah's daughter, Florence Smith. There are many letters from Allan's trips to the Belgian Congo and the South Atlantic. There are stories by Sarah Moses Smith written for the Lewiston Journal, including handwritten and typed manuscripts and drafts, many incomplete and several copies of the Lewiston Journal, 1906-1923. There is also a scrapbook kept by Sarah Moses Smith and large black and white display photos of Allan Moses.

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

This collection was transferred from the Grand Manan Museum to the Archives for storage in 1987.


Artificial arrangement by Archivist.

Language of material

  • English

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Associated materials

See Moses Memorial Collection of over 300 stuffed birds at the Grand Manan Museum.
See photo: MG800.8.12.Moses.1.5 Allan Moses at Camp Ingoragora Crater, Tanganyika, 1500 ft above sea level. Allan on the far right, 1923, at left is J. Sterling Rockefeller, leader of the expedition with 2 Masai tribesmen.

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Accession Number M87.3

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