Scope and Contents note
Title: Charles S. Thaeler, Jr. papers
Identifier/Call Number: MVZA.MSS.0258
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology Archives
Language of Material:
0.4 Linear feet
Date (inclusive): 1956-1963
Language of Materials:
Materials primarily in
Thaeler, Charles, Jr., 1932-2004
Conditions Governing Use
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.
Conditions Governing Access note
The collection is open for research.
[Identification of item], Charles S. Thaeler, Jr. papers, MVZA.MSS.0258, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology Archives, University
of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Charles S. Thaeler, Jr., born on January 9, 1932, mainly studied pocket gopher species in California and the Western United
States during his time with the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley. Although formally a graduate PhD student under
Dr. Seth B. Benson from 1964-1969, Thaeler was affiliated with the MVZ prior to his enrollment as a graduate student. The
Thaeler Field Notes Collection contains his research from 1956-1963 on the genus Thomomys, smooth-toothed pocket gophers,
which were the subjects of his PhD dissertation entitled “An Analysis of the Distribution of Pocket Gopher Species in Northeastern
California (Genus Thomomys)” (1968). Thaeler’s research took him all throughout California, but he mainly focused his research
on Northern California counties, including Lassen, Shasta, Siskiyou, Plumas, and Mendocino county.
Although the Thaeler Field Notes Collection provides a glimpse into Thaeler’s life through his journal entries, the Thaeler
Correspondence, also housed in the MVZ, reveals much more about the man behind the words. Thaeler’s warm personality and humorous
side exude from his numerous letters and memos to friends and colleagues. He liked to simply go by “Charlie”, and he often
asked how his friends and their families were doing. A family man himself, Thaeler was married to Marianne Hobbs Thaeler and
had three boys, Charles III, Kent, and Bret.
Thaeler was an Assistant Professor of Biology at Indiana University until 1966, after which he and his family moved to New
Mexico. In New Mexico, Thaeler joined the faculty of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces as an Assistant Professor of
Biology. In 1975, Thaeler became a Full Professor of Biology, and he taught courses in systematics while also being involved
in the field of cytogenetics. He was also Chairman of the Committee on Systematic Collections under the American Society of
Mammalogists while at NMSU in the early 1980s.
Thaeler continued his tenure at NMSU until at least 1985, during which he mentored at least five successful PhD students.
He died on November 18, 2004 in Roswell, NM at age 72.
Scope and Contents note
The Charles S. Thaeler, Jr. papers consist of two bound volumes spanning the years 1956-1963. The field notes focus mainly
on the Thomomys genus, smooth-toothed pocket gophers, with some research on the Empidonax genus, birds of the tyrant flycatcher
family. The notes include journals, catalogues, and species accounts from localities within California and Nevada. Some of
the field notes contain map sketches. The Thaeler correspondence spans from his time at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology as
a graduate student to his time as a professor of biology at New Mexico State University.
The arrangement of the collection is chronological and in its original form. The sections are bound in the order presented
in this guide.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Pocket gophers--United States.
Thomomys bottae--California--Geographical distribution.