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Sauer's Gouldiana Research about John Gould and other papers

Call Number: MS 304


Kansas City dermatologist Gordon C. Sauer, M.D. spent much of his life researching the 19th-century ornithologist John Gould. From 1948 until his death in 2003, Dr. Sauer published numerous articles and books about Gould. This collection reflects Sauer's research on John Gould, including correspondence, research on Gould, photocopies of Gould letters, and manuscripts of Sauer's books about Gould. The collection also contains some of Sauer's professional papers from his years as a dermatologist in Kansas City.


  • Creation: 1800 - 2004


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Gordon C. Sauer

Gordon Chenoweth Sauer, M.D. was born in Rutland, Illinois on August 14, 1921 to Fred W. Sauer (1887-1961) and Gweneth Eleanor Chenoweth (1892-1989). Shortly after his birth, the family moved to LaSalle, Illinois, where Dr. Sauer was raised.

Dr. Sauer attended Northwestern University from 1939 to 1942. Upon graduating, he attended medical school at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 1942 to 1945. He completed his internship at Cook County Hospital in 1946. During World War II, Dr. Sauer served as a captain in the Army, working at the Public Health Service in Charleston, West Virginia. In 1951, Dr. Sauer completed his residency in dermatology and syphilology at the Skin and Cancer unit at New York University-Bellevue Medical Center.

Dr. Sauer was active in publishing research throughout his medical career. He wrote and published the noted medical school textbook, "The Manual of Skin Diseases", through its seventh edition in 1996. He also wrote "Teen Skin" in 1965. He was the editor of the "Jackson County Medical Bulletin" from 1967 to 1969, and contributed numerous articles to professional journals. For many years Dr. Sauer published "Sauer Notes," a monthly column in the "Schock Newsletter of the American Academy of Dermatology".

In addition to his full-time medical practice and his writing, Dr. Sauer taught at both the University of Missouri and the University of Kansas. He was associated with the University of Kansas School of Medicine from 1951 on. He was the head of the Dermatology Department from 1958 through 1970 and became clinical professor emeritus in July 1993. Dr. Sauer was the acting head of the dermatology section at the University of Missouri at Columbia from 1955 to 1959. He was also a lecturer in medicine at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine from 1971-1974 when he began serving as clinical professor.

Dr. Sauer had a lifelong devotion to the study of John Gould, the 19th-century British nature artist and ornithologist. Sauer's love for Gould's work began as a teenager when his mother purchased a set of Gould prints from an antique dealer. Dr. Sauer collected Gould's works and became the preeminent biographer of John Gould. Beginning in 1948, Dr. Sauer published numerous articles and books about Gould. In 1982 he published "John Gould the Bird Man: a Chronology and Bibliography", which has become the leading biography on Gould. Dr. Sauer also published "John Gould Bird Print Reproductions" (1977), "John Gould's Prospectuses and List of Subscribers to his Work on Natural History" (1980), "John Gould the Bird Man: Associates and Subscribers" (1995), "John Gould the Bird Man: Bibliography" (1996), "John Gould the Bird Man: Correspondence", Vols. 1-5 (1998, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003).

With an interest in nature from youth, Dr. Sauer was active in naturalist organizations throughout his life. During his college years he was a naturalist guide at Starved Rock State Park, and contemplated becoming a forest ranger instead of a medical doctor. Dr. Sauer was on the Board of Directors of the Nature Conservancy of Missouri from 1984-1991. He became an honorary Life Member of the Nature Conservancy in 1986. Dr. Sauer was a member of the American Ornithological Union, the Wilson Ornithological Society, the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union, and the Society of Bibliography of Natural History. He was an avid bird watcher, particularly at his farm in Cass County, Missouri.

Dr. Sauer married Mary Louise Steinhiller in 1944. The couple had four children, Elisabeth, Gordon Jr., Margaret, and Amy. In 1982, Dr. Sauer married Marion Green (1927-2003). Dr. Sauer died September 1, 2003.


108.25 Linear Feet (114 boxes + 21 oversize boxes, 1 vinyl sound disk)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The Gordon C. Sauer Collection dates from approximately 1800 to 2004 and is arranged in ten series: Correspondence, Research About John Gould, Manuscripts About John Gould, Art and Book Dealers, Journals/Societies/Organizations, Bird Miscellaneous, Personal and Family Papers, Box List and Index of Ellis Archives at the University of Kansas [compiled by Gordon C. Sauer], Photographs, negatives, and slides, and Books. Arranged alphabetically, the correspondence ranges from personal to professional with greeting cards, notes from friends, and letters requesting information about John Gould. Research About John Gould contains research information about John Gould, his family, and contemporaries. Manuscripts About John Gould are Dr. Sauer's handwritten and typed manuscripts for his books on John Gould. The papers include early research drafts by Dr. Sauer through publishers' proofs. Art and Book Dealers contain a large portion of the collection. This series is alphabetized by dealer or gallery name, and contains catalogs and mailings, often detailed with Dr. Sauer's personal notes.

Journals/Societies/Organizations comprises newsletters, journals, and mailers from different organizations, primarily naturalist and ornithological. Bird Miscellaneous includes papers and mailers on various topics such as John James Audubon, bird watching, and the bird census. Personal and Family Papers contains papers about Dr. Sauer's personal interests, philanthropy, and dermatology career. The series also includes letters and papers of Dr. Sauer's mother, Gweneth Eleanor Chenoweth Sauer, and his aunt, Bernice Webster, as well as transcripts from interviews conducted by Dr. Sauer with Quentin Keynes, great grandson of Charles Darwin. The Ralph Ellis series contains a list of the Ellis Archives as they were arranged at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library in 1974. The series also contains information about Ellis' family as well as the court case between the Estate of Ralph Ellis and the University of Kansas. Photographs, negatives, and slides contains images of John Gould's work as well as dermatology slides. Books contain three books, a copy of "John Gould The Bird Man: A Chronology and Bibliography", inscribed with a note to his mother, and "Catalogue of the Edward E. Ayer Ornithological Library", Parts I and 2, by John Todd Zimmer, 1926.

Dr. Sauer's original notes from file folders are contained in parentheses in the finding aid.

Physical Location

MS 304

Physical Location

MS 318

Physical Location

MS Qa9

Physical Location

MS Q52

Physical Location

MS R13

Physical Location


Physical Location

MS Sound D3

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Gordon C. Sauer, 1998; family of Gordon C. Sauer, 2003

Related Materials

Personal Papers of Gordon C. Sauer, PP 349, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Separated Materials

The Gordon C. Sauer Carte-de-visite album of 19th-century naturalists removed to MS 310

Manuscript letters from John Gould removed to MS 313:1

Manuscript letters to John Gould removed to MS 313:2

19th-century manuscript letters removed to MS 313:2

Books cataloged separately

  1. Allen, David Ellison. The Naturalist in Britain: A Social History. London: A. Lane, 1976. [LOCATION HERE?]
  2. Beal, F.E.L. The Blue Jay and Its Food. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., [1897?]. Located at Spencer Research Library at Ellis Aves C1345.
  3. Beal, F.E.L. Food of the Bobolink, Blackbirds, and Grackles. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1900. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1349.
  4. Beal, F.E.L. Food of Our More Important Flycatchers. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1912. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1347.
  5. Beal, F.E.L. Food of the Woodpeckers of the United States. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1911. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1350.
  6. Beal, F.E.L. Food of Some Well-Known Birds of Forest, Farm, and Garden. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1912. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1348.
  7. Beal, F.E.L. Our Meadow Larks in Relation to Agriculture. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1913. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1346.
  8. Collister, Allegra. Annotated Checklist of Birds of Rocky Mountain National Park and Shadow Mountain Recreation Area in Colorado. Denver: Denver Museum of Natural History, 1970. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1357.
  9. Denison, Edgar. Missouri Wildflowers: A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Missouri and Adjacent Areas. Jefferson City, MO: Missouri Department of Conservation, 1972. Located at SRL at C22536.
  10. Dunning, Harold M. The History of the Trail Ridge Road. Boulder, CO: Johnson Publishing Co., 1967. Located at SRL at C22537.
  11. Feduccia, Alan. Catesby's Birds of Colonial America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves D784.
  12. Fisher, A.K. Hawks and Owls from the Standpoint of the Farmer. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1907. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1353.
  13. Girouard, Mark. Alfred Waterhouse and the Natural History Museum. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981. Located at SRL at CK 145.
  14. Gould, John. Tropical Birds from Plates by John Gould with an introduction and notes on the plates by Sacheverell Sitwell. London: B.T. Batsford, 1948. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1358.
  15. Graves, Algernon. A Catalogue of an Exhibition of the Engraved Works of the Late Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A.. London: Henry Graves & Co., [1900?]. Located at SRL at C22570.
  16. Hall, Thomas B. Dr. John Sappington of Aline County, Missouri, 1776-1856. Arrow Rock, MO: Friends of Arrow Rock, 1975. Located at SRL at C22539.
  17. Henshaw, Henry W. Does it Pay the Farmer to Protect Birds. Washington: ?, 1908. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1352
  18. Henshaw, Henry W. Value of Swallows as Insect Destroyers. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1907. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1351.
  19. Judd, Sylvester D. Birds as Weed Destroyers. Washington, D.C.: ?, [1899?]. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1355.
  20. Judd, Sylvester D. The Food of Nestling Birds. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1901[?]. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1356.
  21. Locke, McKenzie. The Birds of Guilford, Connecticut: An Annotated List. New Haven, CT: Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, 1961. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1354.
  22. McAtee, W.L. Birds That Eat Scale Insects. Washington: [?], 1907. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1340.
  23. McAtee, W.L. Plants Useful to Attract Birds and Protect Fruit. Washington: G.P.O., 1910. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1341.
  24. McAtee, W.L. Our Grosbeaks and Their Value to Agriculture. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1911. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1342.
  25. McAtee, W.L. Relation of Birds to Grain Aphides. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1913. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1344.
  26. McAtee, W.L. Woodpeckers in Relation to Trees and Wood Products. Washington, D.C.: G.P.O., 1911. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves C1343.
  27. Meyer de Schauensee, Rodolphe. On Some Avian Types, Principally Gould's in the Collection of the Academy. [Philadelphia?]: [?], [1957?]. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves D783.
  28. Nelson, Ruth Ashton. Plants of Rocky Mountain National Park. Estes Park[?], Colo: Rocky Mountain Nature Association, 1970. Located at SRL at C22538.
  29. Religious Tract Society. Instinct of Birds. London: S. & J. Bently, Wilson and Fley, 1842. Located at SRL at A58.
  30. Rickett, Theresa C. Wild Flowers of Missouri. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1954. Located at SRL at C22540.
  31. Settergren, Carl D. Trees of Missouri. Colubmia: University of Missouri, Agricultural Experiment Station, 1964. Located at SRL at D7149.
  32. Tunncliffe, C.F. A Sketchbook of Birds. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979. Located at SRL at Ellis Aves CK11.
  33. Zon, Raphael. Forests and Water in the Light of Scientific Investigation. Washington: U.S.P.G.P.O., 1927. Located at SRL at C22534.



Guide to the Gordon C. Sauer Collection
Sauer's Gouldiana Research about John Gould and other papers
Finding aid prepared by skt, 2013. Finding aid encoded by skt, 2013. Finding aid revised by skt, 2014; mwh, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Gordon C. Sauer Collection, MS 304, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States