The Last of the Heath Hens: Special Collections Receives Grant to Preserve 1930s Ornithological Research

Alfred Otto Gross with Heath Hen, Martha’s Vineyard, May 16, 1923

It’s full circle moment for Edward Minot, the interim director of the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island.

Films documenting ornithological research done in the 1930s by his grandfather, Bowdoin professor of biology Alfred Otto Gross, Kent Island’s first director, will be digitized and preserved, thanks to a grant Bowdoin’s George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives has received from the National Film Preservation Foundation.

Minot discovered the 35 mm films, as well as several reels of 16 mm films, in his mother’s attic.

A biologist and ornithologist like his grandfather, Minot immediately recognized the research potential and fragility of the films.

“After a lifetime of hearing about my grandfather’s work with Heath Hens and his trips with MacMillan, it will be thrilling to see movies of the events for which I’ve had mostly an oral history and a few photographs,” wrote Minot in an email from Kent Island. Read the rest of the story in Bowdoin News.

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