The Robert C. Stebbins papers collection consists of bound and unbound field notes, correspondence, photographs and artwork,
theses and doctoral dissertations, conservation study reports and data, maps, manuscripts, the manuscript and papers for the
Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, EBMUD correspondence and papers, and digital material from his memorials.
Robert C. Stebbins was born in 1915 in Chico, California. Early in his childhood, his family moved to Southern California
(Pomona, CA, and Sherman Oaks, CA). He first attended UCLA for a degree in Civil Engineering. He switched his major to biology
during his undergraduate career, and he received his PhD in Zoology from UCLA in 1943. In addition, Stebbins obtained teaching
credentials at the elementary, high school, and junior college level in 1942, due to his strong interest in teaching. Stebbins
joined the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ) in 1945, as the first herpetology curator. During his time at the MVZ, he helped
curate the herpetology collection, standardize preservation methods, establish curriculums, and create courses for the Department
of Zoology (Mulcahy, 2006). His publications and research during this time pertained largely to Ensatina; these include studies
on geographic distribution, locomotion, and the parietal eye. In 1978, he retired from the University as a professor, but
he continued his research and work in conservation and in East Bay Park Development. He is the author of many books, including
his most well-known work, the Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians in the Peterson Field Guide series (Stebbins,
1966, 1985, 2003). Stebbins was an accomplished artist and he dedicated a large portion of his time over the years to his
artwork. He drew and painted the illustrations for his Field Guide and his field notes and personal research feature many
hand drawn illustrations.
Copyright restrictions may apply. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted to the Museum of Vertebrate
Zoology Archives in writing for approval. Please contact the Museum Archivist for further information.