McClung, Robert M.

Table of Contents Robert M. McClung Papers, 1925 - 1997
  • Extent:
    • 4 document cases
    • 2 oversize flat boxes
    • 1 map case folder
    • 3 linear feet
  • Restrictions: None
Scope & Content Note
The collection primarily documents the career of Robert M. McClung (1916-) as a writer and illustrator of children's and young adults' books about animals. Included are his first unpublished manuscript Robin in the Stars, written when the author was 8 or 9 years old; four volumes of World War II memoirs covering 1938 - 1945 with illustrations of Navy life and small plane maneuvers; two sketch books; written assignments from elementary school, high school, and preparatory school; and notes from New York University writing courses, including margin illustrations and a series of drawings of the human form. Biographical information includes several articles about McClung, awards, a list of publications, and photographs. Documentation of published writings includes reviews of most McClung children's books and original artwork for Redbird, Green Darner, Spotted Salamander, Ruby Throat, Buzztail, and Bees, Wasps, and Hornets, and How They Live. The published material also includes printed jackets from many of McClung's works.

Related Materials
The Amherst Authors Collection includes over 60 books by Robert M. McClung. These may be searched in the Jones Library's online catalog.
Biographical Notes
Robert M. McClung was born on September 10, 1916, in Butler, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. He graduated from Butler Senior High School in 1934, and then attended the Northwood School, a boy's preparatory school near Lake Placid, New York, for one year, before enrolling at Princeton University. At Princeton he majored in biology and wrote a senior thesis on caddis flies. He graduated in 1939.

After college, McClung volunteered at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. To support himself, he lived and worked at the Stuyvesant Neighborhood House, a center for neighborhood youth. He then worked briefly for an advertising agency. With America's entry into World War II imminent, McClung joined the V-7 program of the U.S. Naval Reserve in the summer of 1940. His duty included assignments to a number of Navy ships and flight training for carrier dive-bombers; he subsequently served on the carrier USS Kula Gulf as a Landing Signal Officer in the South Pacific. McClung was discharged in February 1946. He returned to his advertising job in New York but studied writing in the evenings at New York University. As a result of the contacts and progress made in those writing classes, McClung's first book, Wings in the Woods, was published by Morrow in 1948. The book reflected childhood experiences with nature on his family's farm.

In the fall of 1947, he began graduate work in zoology and natural history at Cornell University, hoping to work with zoo animals. During his graduate work, he published his second book. In 1948, he earned a master's degree in zoology. He then began work as an assistant in the animal department at the Bronx Zoo.

Shortly after returning to New York City, he met and married his wife, Gale Stubbs, a 1945 Mount Holyoke College graduate. McClung's career with the Bronx Zoo progressed, as did his writing, often based upon zoo animals.

From 1958 to 1962, McClung worked for National Geographic but decided to leave the Society in the interest of his own writing, which he was not permitted to undertake while working at National Geographic. He moved with his family, wife and sons Bill and Tom to Amherst, Mass. in 1962. For many years, McClung was active in local politics and conservation efforts. 
Series Inventory
The Robert M. McClung Papers are organized into the following series:
Series 1: Biographical Materiel
  • Biographical clippings
  • Awards
Series 2: Public Clippings
  • Wings in the Woods, 1948
  • Sphinx, the Story of a Caterpillar, 1949
  • Ruby Throat, the Story of a Hummingbird, 1950
  • Stripe, the Story of a Chipmunk, 1951
  • Spike the Story of a Whitetail Deer, 1952
  • Tiger, the Story of a Swallowtail Butterfly, 1953
  • Bufo, the Story of a Toad, 1954
  • Vulcan, the Story of a Bald Eagle, 1955
  • Major, the Story of a Black Bear, 1956
  • Green Darner, the Story of a Dragonfly, 1956
  • Leaper, the Story of an Atlantic Salmon, 1957
  • Luna, the Story of a Moth, 1957
  • Buzztail, the Story of a Rattlesnake, 1958
  • Little Burma, 1958
  • All about Animals and their Young, 1958
  • Whooping Crane, 1959
  • Otus, the Story of a Screech Owl, 1959
  • Shag, Last of the Plains Buffalo, 1960
  • Whitefoot, the Story of a Woodmouse, 1961
  • Possum, 1963
  • Mammals and How They Live, 1963
  • Screamer, Last of the Eastern Panthers, 1964
  • Spotted Salamander, 1964
  • Honker, the Story of a Wild Goose, 1965
  • Caterpillars and How They Live, 1965
  • The Swift Deer, 1966
  • Ladybug, 1966
  • Butterflies and Moths and How They Live, 1966
  • The Mighty Bears, 1967
  • Horseshoe Crab, 1967
  • Black Jack, Last of the Big Alligators, 1967
  • Redbird, the Story of a Cardinal, 1968
  • Lost Wild America, the Story of Our Extinct and Vanishing Wildlife, 1969
  • Blaze, the Story of a Striped Skunk, 1969
  • Aquatic Insects and How They Live, 1970
  • Thor, Last of the Sperm Whales, 1971
  • Bees, Wasps, and Hornets, and How They Live, 1971
  • Scoop, Last of the Brown Pelicans, 1972
  • Samson, Last of the California Grizzlies, 1973
  • Mice, Moose, and Men: How their Populations Rise and Fall, 1973
  • Gypsy Moth: Its History in America, 1974
  • Sea Star, 1975
  • Lost Wild Worlds: the Story of Extinct and Vanishing Wildlife of the Eastern Hemisphere, 1976
  • Peeper, First Voice of Spring, 1977
  • Hunted Mammals of the Sea, 1978
  • America's Endangered Birds: Programs and People Working to Save Them, 1979
  • Snakes: Their Place in the Sun, 1979
  • The Amazing Egg, 1980
  • Vanishing Wildlife of Latin America, 1981
  • Rajpur, Last of the Bengal Tigers, 1982
  • Mountain Gorilla, 1984
  • The True Adventures of Grizzly Adams, 1985
  • Whitetail, 1987
  • Lili, Giant Panda of Sichuan,1988
  • Hugh Glass, Mountain Man, 1990
  • America's First Elephant, 1991
  • Old Bet and the Start of the American Circus, 1993
  • Lost Wild America, 1993
  • Last of the Wild: Vanished and Vanishing Giants of the Animal World, 1997
Series 3: Writings
  • "Robin in the Stars" circa 1925
  • School Assignments 1924-1935
  • War Memoirs, vol I (1938-1942)
  • War Memoirs, vol II (1942-1943)
  • War Memoirs, vol III (1943-1945)
  • War Memoirs, vol IV (1945)
  • New York University class notes, 1947-1948
  • Sketchbook 1950-1958
  • Articles 1953-1957
  • New York University class notes, 1955-1956
  • Sketchbook 1957-1966
  • Articles 1958-1964
  • Articles 1965-1968
  • Articles 1969-1996
Series 4: Publication Artwork (oversize)
  • Box 1. Miscellaneous Publication artwork
  • Box 2. Publication artwork for Spotted Salamander
  • Map case folder: Book covers
Series 5: Photographs
  • Photographs - Portraits
  • Photographs - Views of house at 91 Sunset Ave. ("Allbreeze"), c. 1900-1915