Bailey Journals


May 1, 2022

For Further Information Contact Matt Kelly at 413-458-3664 or

For Immediate Release…

PITTSFIELD, MA — The Hoffmann Bird Club of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, announces the online release of the Journals of S. Waldo Bailey.  Born in 1885 in West Newbury, Massachusetts, Bailey started his meticulous journals at age 17.  He worked throughout the state in many capacities, including as a supervisor for the Civilian Conservation Corps in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, Warden at the Lenox Bird and Wildflower Sanctuary (now Mass Audubon’s Pleasant Valley), and, his favorite, Warden at the remarkable Bartholomew’s Cobble (now owned by The Trustees of Reservations). Spanning sixty full years, his detailed and entertaining writings chronicle the mostly Massachusetts travels of an incredible naturalist from his early days in Essex County to his prolonged time in the Berkshires. Born just twenty-three years after the death of a more famous writer, Henry David Thoreau, Bailey produced his own detailed observations of plants, animals, and the landscapes of Massachusetts.

The dozen or so 3-ringed binders were literally rescued from oblivion by Matt Kelly, and the over 4000 pages of single-spaced, typed pages were individually scanned by student Alexander Olney under the supervision of Professor Tom Tying of Berkshire Community College.  Wayne Hammond, of Williams College’s Chapin Library arranged for the journals to be placed online, through the Williams College website, so the public may have access to these most important chronicles.  The journals are said to be, “one of the finest collections of rare books and manuscripts to be found among American colleges and universities, in which natural history and the history of science are important components.”

Bailey’s Journals will be of tremendous interest to anyone enchanted by natural history, especially; ornithology, historical botany, climate change, and 20th century contemporary history, especially of both Berkshire and Essex Counties in Massachusetts.  Bailey notes the dates of the comings and goings of numerous birds, the flowering dates of plants and wildflowers, weather, and much more.  “I have seen the journals of Henry David Thoreau, and Bailey’s journals will definitely rank alongside them,” notes Kelly.  “Bailey not only records the minute details he sees in nature, but does it with a prosaic flair, which makes it nearly impossible to stop reading.”

The online journals, now, start with an introduction and historical background, then are separated by year, with a few years still unaccounted for.  Since Bailey typed his journals, they are now in searchable PDF format. There is one final file, which combines all the year’s files together, which makes it possible for researchers to search the entire database for keywords.  In a prior arrangement with the Bailey Estate, Kelly has transferred the copyright of the Bailey Journals to The Hoffmann Bird Club of Berkshire County, Massachusetts.  The journals will find a permanent home in Williams College’s Chapin Library.

The Hoffmann Bird Club was established in 1940 with a mission of promoting the study of birds in Berkshire County, and is open to everyone.  The club was named in honor of Ralph Hoffmann, an early 20th Century naturalist who was born in Berkshire County.  Visit the Hoffmann Bird Club for information on their meetings and field trips.   See the website at:

To view the Journals of S. Waldo Bailey, click here:

Click here to read an introduction to The Journals of S. Waldo Bailey