J. H. Fleming, Ornithologist Extraordinaire

1940s

J. H. Fleming, Ornithologist Extraordinaire

Era: 

  • 1933 - 1968
  • plaque honouring a donor

    This plaque was commissioned by the ROM to honour one of its most important donors

  • a bird of paradise mounted

    Fleming was not flamboyant, but Birds of Paradise like this one were the highlight of his collection.

J. H. Fleming dies. He has had office space at the ROM since the 20s, when he willed his ornithological collection to the Museum. It was then the largest and most comprehensive private collection of skins, mounts, eggs in North America, with a special focus on birds of paradise. With it came his library and the bird journals he had kept since the age of 17, along with his worldwide correspondence. At his home on Rusholme Road, he added two extensions - for a library and a museum. Birders from around the world were welcome there. His business acumen meant that, as President of the American Ornithological Union (the first Canadian to hold this important post), he was able to keep the organization solvent during the depression. His connections opened many doors for later curators. He is also commemorated as the person who banded the first bird in Canada {there is a plaque in High Park}.

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