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Jon Shepard Papers, 1962-1997

By Chris Petersen

Collection Overview

Title: Jon Shepard Papers, 1962-1997

Predominant Dates: 1966-1995

ID: MSS ShepardJ

Primary Creator: Shepard, Jon, 1941-

Extent: 0.6 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The collection's correspondence folders are arranged alphabetically by correspondents' last names.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Jon Shepard Papers are comprised of correspondence between Shepard and fellow lepidopterists primarily concerning survey research on Pacific Northwest butterflies as well as specimen exchanges and butterfly collections at various universities and museums. Shepard is an alumnus of Oregon State University who earned an honors bachelor of science degree in Biology in 1963.

Scope and Content Notes

The Shepard Papers consist primarily of letters received by Jon Shepard as well as a much smaller volume of letters authored by Shepard. The correspondence documents Shepard's personal involvement in lepidoptery as a scientific discipline as well as work conducted by the community of professionals and amateurs pursuing the collection and classification of butterflies and moths across the Pacific Northwest. In this, the collection provides particular insight into the issues and interactions that were of consequence to this community during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Shepard's letters contain exchanges with several dozen colleagues. The collection holds relatively large caches of correspondence written by the following individuals: Gary Anweiler, F. Martin Brown, Curt Eisner, Clifford Ferris, L. Paul Grey, Crispin Guppy, John Hinchliff, William H. Howe, Robert M. Pyle, James A. Scott, Ray E. Stanford, and Dave Threatful.

Recurring topics within the correspondence include advancements in a wide array of regional classification pursuits; the exchange of samples; the development of collections at repositories across North America; the emergence of new educational and employment opportunities within the field of lepidoptery; and Shepard's work on his book, The Butterflies of British Columbia. Many of the letters also include personal exchanges between Shepard and professional colleagues who became friends. A dispute between Shepard and Lloyd Janz concerning specimen inventory is likewise documented in the collection.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Jon H. Shepard was born in Weiser, Idaho in 1941, and spent his high school years in Washington state. Interested in insects, and especially butterflies, from an early age, Shepard enrolled at Oregon State College in 1961, following two years of coursework at a community college. While at Oregon State, Shepard participated in the school's Honors Program, writing an honors thesis - which was later published - on a genus of blue butterflies. As an undergraduate, he likewise conducted bibliographic work on asilid flies in support of Charles Martin, an Oregon State Entomology professor. He completed his Biology degree at OSU in 1963 and earned a master's degree in Entomology from Washington State University in 1965.

Shepard and his wife relocated to Nelson, British Columbia in 1966, a community that served as their home base for more than forty years. During that time, Shepard carved out a career in lepidoptery, teaching at community colleges, serving as a sabbatical replacement for various colleagues, and engaging in contract work. He also pursued his own research and collecting agendas, and in 1974 he began a long tenure as the regional coordinator for the Season Summer Lepidoptera Society.

Over the ensuing decades, Shepard researched butterflies all across the Pacific Northwest. In the early 1990s, he worked with the James Entomological Collection at WSU, and in the late 1990s he joined a group of Northwest lepidopterists known as The Evergreen Aurelians. He also co-authored a book, The Butterflies of British Columbia, that was published in 2001.

Shepard's interests shifted toward moths in the early 2000s, and he spent much of the decade collaborating on the Pacific Northwest Moths Collection, a massive project managed out of Western Washington University. In the summer of 2014, Shepard and his wife moved to Corvallis, where Jon became involved with the Oregon State Arthropod Collection, working as a volunteer curator and donating his own personal collection to the repository.

Author: Chris Petersen

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 2 boxes

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: The Shepard Papers were donated to SCARC by Jon Shepard in April 2015.

Related Materials: An oral history interview with Jon Shepard is held in the Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Collection (OH 26). Other SCARC collections with a strong focus on entomology include the Norman H. Anderson Papers (MSS AndersonN), the A.B. Cordley Entomological and Horticultural Scrapbook (MSS Cordley), the Ernst J. Dornfeld Papers (MSS Dornfeld), the Louis G. Gentner Papers (MSS Gentner), the John D. Lattin Papers (MSS Lattin), the Frank Radovsky Papers (MSS Radovsky), the Robert G. Rosenstiel Papers (MSS Rosenstiel), the Entomology Department Records (RG 027), and the Ken Gray Photograph Collection (P 256).

Preferred Citation: Courtesy Jon Shepard Papers (MSS ShepardJ), Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries.


Shepard, Jon, 1941-

People, Places, and Topics

Entomology--Study and teaching (Higher)--Oregon--Corvallis.
Natural Resources

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