PaleoLab

How Tyrannosaurus rex Came to Pittsburgh

The American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, N.Y.

Department of Palaeontology:
Walter Granger, D.Sc., Curator of Fossil Mammals
Barnum Brown, Sc.D., Curator of Fossil Reptiles
G. G. Simpson, PhD, Associate Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology
Edwin H. Colbert, PhD, Assistant Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology
Harold E. Vokes, PhD, Assistant Curator of Invertebrate Palaeontology
Rachel Husband Nichols, A.M., Staff Assistant
William K. Gregory, PhD, D.Sc., Research Associate
Charles C. Mook, PhD, Research Associate
Otto H. Haas, PhD, LL.D., Research Associate in Palaeontology

September the thirtieth
Nineteen hundred and forty-one

Dr. A. Avinoff
Carnegie Museum
Pittsburgh, Penna.

Dear Dr. Avinoff:-

When the men returned from their vacations they immediately started in to prepare the Tyrannosaurus skeleton for the Carnegie Museum. This work will be completed toward the end of October as we are putting data on each bone as to its relationship and have used flour paste and burlap strips to reinforce the thin pelvic bones so as to insure their safe transportation by truck. Every care is being taken in this preparation for the safe arrival of the specimen and we will again write you when the truck should be here to receive it. On account of its bulk this specimen will make a full load for a large truck.

Among the specimens secured last summer in the Big Bend region of Texas there was a much broken skull and jaws of a huge crocodile which, without doubt, is the same genus as your Phobosuchus (Deinosuchus) Hatcheri, Type No. 963 Carnegie Museum Collection. You may recall that Nopcsa found the name Deinosuchus preoccupied and renamed it Phobosuchus. We are restoring this large Texas skull, which is simply colossal (length 72”, width 36”) and I am writing to ask if you can loan us the skull fragments of your specimen which will give us the character of sculpturing for our restoration. I think if Kay or one of the laboratory men would take the fragments mentioned by Dr. Holland that they will have no difficulty in distinguishing skull and jaw fragments from the vertebrae and rib fragments. It would be of the greatest assistance if you could send these fragments to us as quickly as possible, by Express Collect, so that we could return them at the time your truck comes for the Tyrannosaurus skeleton.

Our Pterosaur mural is progressing and we are revamping our entire Pterosaur collection. Among your specimens is a Camphylognathus [sic] skeleton, No. 1124; also a little Pterodactylus, No. 11426 in which there is an impression of the skin membrane on the wing, neck and gular pouch. I should like to order a white plaster cast of these two specimens and we can color them here. In making the casts please have the blocks about ½” thick but reinforced with burlap strips and the blocks squared with a ½” margin from the outer bones. I am enclosing sketches for guidance. The cost of these casts can be charged to our open exchange account.

As ever,
Sincerely yours,
Barnum Brown

Encl. [two sketches in pencil on tracing paper]

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