Our shell collection came from Rev. Reuben Tinker, a Presbyterian minister in 1845 who served as a missionary in the Hawaiian Islands. It is believed that he acquired the rare shells on a voyage of exploration and research to the South Seas. John D. Patterson is the second donor who is thought to have gathered the shells before the 1870s as indicated in his insurance report of 1877.
In 1972 our collection was cleaned, classified, and identified in over 300 varieties by Rev. Marlin Stewart. The prize of this collection is the Golden Cowry, a shell sought by thousands of collectors due to the limited amount available. Our shells had two holes by which the shell was hung around a Figi Island Chief’s neck as a symbol of royalty.
Our Victorian bird collection features 255 varieties from North and South America from 1845 – 1872 which have all been cleaned, classified, and identified by Dr. John Rapple om 2018.
In the early 1900s HW Mossman preserved and donated most of the taxidermied mammals in the Patterson Library, with the help of taxidermist Arthur Becker of Brocton. Mossman was a student of Westfield Academy at the time and later became a Professor of Anatomy at the University of Wisconsin. He was also a contributor to the Encyclopedia Americana. We have a red squirrel, a red fox, a raccoon, an albino squirrel (from Ed Besch), a skunk, a chipmunk, two golden eagles, two loons, an Albatros, 2 pheasants, a white owl, a white dove, four ducks and a seven foot sailfish.