Our Collections

Welcome to our highlighted section of our collection database. For a variety of reasons, including conservation concerns and, frankly, a lack of funding, none of the collections listed below are available online. However, this is not to say that they are not available for research to the community. This is why we have listed them below, albeit in a primitive format.

We are in the process of expanding the number of works included on our webpage and making sure the information about each object is as up-to-date as possible. If you would like to make an appointment to view any of our collections, materials, objects, specimens or artifacts shoot us an email. We would also be happy to send you visuals and any research information as requested.

Reference Collection

The general Reference Collection is located in the Cultural & Natural History Collection’s “Jaeger House.” As a whole, the collection provides the reference foundation for comprehensive research in many subject fields and most extensively in the South East Asia involving the Vietnam War era. The Reference Library serves all departments on campus, as well as members of the local community, visitors, correspondents and callers from all over the country and the world. The library is not available outside of the Jaeger House. For more information or research assistance, contact us at 909.448.4338

Revised November 2021

Reference Library – This guide links to our extensive reference materials, including dictionaries in foreign languages, as well as resources focused on specific subject disciplines. These reference books are from the generous donations of June Pulcini, Charles Cable, Galen Beery, Robert T. Neher, Ron Pulcini, Jeff Burkhart, Harvey Good, Archaeological Survey Association (ASA), Brian Ebersole, Jay Jones, among others.

Edmund C. Jaeger Papers
Its collection of Edmund C. Jaeger’s personal and professional papers includes family correspondence, photographs, journals, handwritten corrections for his manuscripts, and, most importantly, his original 1947 field notes recorded during the time that Jaeger first discovered the common poorwill going into a hibernation-like state known as torpor.

James Z. Gilbert Collection
The Pleistocene specimens were collected from the famed La Brea tar pits by James Zaccheus Gilbert, who is responsible for creating the core collection at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. Our Tar Pit materials were originally excavated during Gilbert’s early years and have been stored for over a century, untouched or examined by scholars. In addition to the Pleistocene specimens, the CNHC has a Condor specimen (Gymnogyps californianus) taxidermied by Gilbert in 1917, as well as fossil fish specimens that he and David Starr Jordon collected during their research trip in Lompoc, California, at the turn of the 20th century.

Esther Funk Ethnographic Collection
Esther Funk attended both the La Verne Academy and La Verne College, before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (1922) and a Master of Arts (1946) from the University of Southern California. A student under noted American anthropologist Edgar Lee Hewitt, Miss Funk traveled to Central and South America to study ancient Guatemalan and Peruvian and textiles. A copy of her original 3-volume thesis, “A Comparison of Ancient and Modern Peruvian Textiles” and two unpublished manuscripts, “Representative Guatemalan Indian Textiles and Design (1934)” and “A Study of Peruvian Textiles in the Cuzco Region (1935),” both of which include original photographs, are treasures within the CNHC catalog.

Harvey H. Nininger Tektite Collection
H.H. Nininger was an American meteoriticist and early Professor of Biology at La Verne College. After receiving his Masters degree from Pomona College, Nininger became interested in the scientific study of meteorites in the 1930s and assembled the largest personal collection of meteorites up to that time. The CNHC houses over 1,500 of his tektite specimens.

Edna P. Sutton Amerind Collection
Starting in the late 1920s and continuing for nearly sixty years, Edna Sutton worked with various southwestern Native American tribes, most notably the Navajo and the Hopi. Highly respected by all, her collection of pottery, baskets, ceremonial and utilitarian artifacts were donated to the university in the 1980s.

Curtis Bowman Mineral Collection
Dr. Curtis B. Bowman, former chief surgeon of the Bethany Brethren Hospital, was also a prolific mineralogist and geologist. His collection of specimens is housed both at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and at our CNHC. This collections totals over 400 high grade minerals and gems.

Claude and Marie Rupel Missionary Collection
During the years 1936-39, Claude Rupel was President of the Booker Washington Institute in Liberia, Africa. Founded in 1929 as the Booker Washington Agricultural and Industrial Institute, it was the country’s first agricultural and vocational school. During their years abroad, the Rupel’s collected various African artifacts, as well as artifacts from China and India. In 1985, Claude Rupel published his late wife’s recorded experiences, unedited, a copy of which is housed inside the CNHC and the Wilson Library Archives and Special Collections: “A Teacher in the Liberian Hinterland 1936-1940,” by Marie Pobst Rupel.

Paul and Naomi Missionary Collection
During the years 1939-41, Paul Rupel was President of the Booker Washington Institute in Liberia, Africa. Founded in 1929 as the Booker Washington Agricultural and Industrial Institute, it was the country’s first agricultural and vocational school. During their years abroad, the Rupel’s collected various African artifacts, as well as artifacts from China and India,

Louisa W. Hutchison Basket Collection
For nearly 70 years, Louisa Williamson Hutchison collected North American baskets into the early-half of the 20th century. Nearly two-hundred baskets representing dozens of Native American tribal affiliations make up this incredible basketry collection.

Miriam Muehlenbach Ethnographic Collection
Miriam Muehlenbach spent many years getting to know the Tarahumara or Rarámuri in the Basihuare valley of northwestern Mexico. Her collection of Tarahumara materials comprises utility, functional, musical, ceremonial, and all aspects of the Tarahumara culture. The CNHC houses one of the largest collections of Tarahumara artifacts in the country.

Paul Baum Mud Springs Artifacts
In the late 1940s Glendora High School teacher of biology and La Verne College alumni Robert Hoover, located stone tools in the now identified Mud Springs Native American settlement, located in San Dimas, California. In the 1970s, historian and La Verne alum Paul Baum collected thousands of artifacts from the same area, which suggested that Mud Springs was a village and not simply a campsite. Among the stone artifacts located are manos, metate, tools and cog stones. Cog stones are remarkable in that they are found only in Southern California and archaeologists and scholars are unsure what their exact function is.

Rudolph Fischer Herbarium
Rudolph Fischer an instructor at Bonita High School and La Verne College for over 40 years, amassed a collection of over 5,000 botany specimens collected by hundreds of students and botanists for over a century.