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017_A.C. Bent Letter to Keyes Dec. 29, 1915


017_A.C. Bent Letter to Keyes Dec. 29, 1915


A.C. Bent, of the Smithsonian Institution, is responding to Keyes' letter about the loss of water fowl in Iowa and telling him about his progress on the book he is writing.


Bent, A.C.




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Cornell College Archives, Mt. Vernon, Iowa

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Charles Reuben Keyes

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College Archivist, Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, Iowa. Phone: 319-895-4240,

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A.C. Bent Letter to Keyes Dec. 29, 1915

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Washington, U.S.A.

Taunton, Mass., Dec. 29, 1915

Mr. Charles R. Keyes
Mt. Vernon

Dear Mr. Keyes:

I was much pleased to receive your interesting letter of the 20th inst., and to learn that you had returned from abroad.
I am sorry to hear that the conditions in Iowa are such that the water birds are gradually disappearing, but this is not [to] be wondered at in a region which is increasing in population and in agricultural pursuits. The conditions are practically the same in North Dakota where the prairie has almost entirely disappeared, and most of the sloughs where the ducks bred have been drained and cultivated. Even Saskatchewan, which I visited two seasons in succession, is making rapid strides in the same direction, and it was appalling to see how marked the change was from one season to another.
You still have an interesting lot of water birds breeding at Eagle Lake and I sincerely hope that something can be done to preserve this interesting locality as a reservation for breeding water fowl. We ought to have a number of such reservations throughout the middle west if we are going to save from total extinction many of our most interesting species.
You will be interested to know that my work on the Life His-

C.R.K. #2 Dec. 29, 1915

tories is progressing well and that I expect to have my manuscript for volume one deposited in Washington before the end of this winter. The Life Histories for this volume are now all written except fourteen of the Steganopodes. The distributional part of the work is in the hands of Dr. Bishop and I am afraid it will take him a year or so more to finish it. Then it will probably take the Smithsonian a year or so more to decide upon the illustrations and have the plates made, so you can see it will be some little time before the work is actually published. In the meantime, the manuscript will be open to any additions or corrections which new information may make desirable.
Some time this winter, I expect to publish a complete list of the information wanted as a final appeal to ornithologists to get this for me.
Hoping to hear from you again when you have anything interesting to report, and wishing you the compliments of the season, I am

Sincerely yours,
AL Bent