Established under the antebellum leadership of Joseph Henry and Spencer Baird, the respect given the Smithsonian Institution had far-reaching effects on budding geological careers and the conservation and curation of fossils at national and state levels. Specifically, F. V. Hayden received sufficient perceived encouragement in his geological and natural history endeavors to prevail under no less than hardship conditions. Consequently, Hayden triumphed on his return from the field in 1856, with specimens that would quickly alter his immediate destiny and that of F. B. Meek. The five documents accepted for publication in 1856 by the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia produced not only a large number of new species, but Hayden’s northern Great Plains stratigraphy and a biostratigraphic/biochronologic catalog of species original to western studies. Others were now also repeatedly citing Hayden with Meek for non-molluscan specimens based on his collections, with new species named in his honor. The nature of western geological exploration changed because of Hayden’s successful employment as geologist and naturalist to the G. K. Warren and W. F. Raynolds Missouri and Yellowstone expeditions. Onsite, ‘fact-based’ mapping with fossils in stratigraphic sections were arguably now required. No more qualified or experienced individual left the western territories as the Civil War commenced.
Meek’s deathbed monograph provided a redescription and the first figures of Meek and Hayden 1856 taxa. Although there are reasons suggested herein, a conundrum exists as to why Meek replaced many 1856 ‘types’ with different specimens, sometimes from different localities. The specimens used in the 1856 Meek and Hayden papers were first unpacked for study by Meek and Hayden in Albany. Shipment of fossils from field to museum, however, was not without peril. The presumption is that the specimens accompanied Meek when he moved to Washington in 1858.
A National Museum sponsored and implemented program fostered an ever-expanding ‘duplicate’ distribution of specimens to national and international institutions. Henry and Baird were dedicated to this program. Starting in 1861, surplus fossil invertebrates were removed from National Museum holdings. Many thousands of specimens were transferred, with nearly one thousand specimens documented in a single shipment to one institution. How much of the Hayden collection was affected and how many types were redistributed is as of yet unknown. The remaining Hayden collection in the National Museum is pared-down to type and figured specimens. Hayden’s ‘buckets’ of specimens are being, in some cases, slowly virtually repatriated.