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John Hall Sage Papers

Identifier: 1979-0015

Scope and Content

John Hall Sage's papers reflect his lifelong interest in ornithology. Sage's papers contain the history and minutes of the American Ornithologists' Union, from 1800 until 1925. A majority of the Union papers focus on the years Sage was a member, from 1888-1925. His papers reflect his research on the birds of Connecticut, and contains manuscripts and other materials used by Sage to write his Memorials and Other Gifts in Trinity Church, Portland, Conn., of 1910. The collection contains administrative and financial records, books, clippings, correspondence, manuscripts, notes, postcards and other items arranged chronologically and dating from 1763-1925.


  • 1763-1940

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open and available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from the owner(s) of the copyright.


John Hall Sage was born on April 20, 1847, in Portland, Connecticut. A lifelong resident of the state, Sage attended public schools in Bridgeport and Portland before working as a clerk for the Aetna Life Insurance Company. He later embarked on a career in banking at the First National Bank of Portland and in 1925, he became chairman of the Board of Directors of the Portland Trust Company. Along with a business associate, Sage became interested in birds and began to publish his observations in the field. From his first publication in 1878, Sage published over 100 titles on the birds of Connecticut and other topics for the American Ornithologists' Union. A lifelong member of the Union, Sage took copious notes of the Union's meetings as Secretary, and also served a term as the Union's President. His published reports record a majority of the Union's history.

Mr. Sage passed most of his life at his home, spending his vacation whenever possible in the Maine woods, while for the weekends in summer time he joined his family at their cottage on the Rhode Island coast. He twice made tours of Europe; once in the spring of 1878, when he visited England, France, Germany and Holland, and again in 1897, when he went to Italy and thence to Switzerland, France and England. In 1898 he joined Dr. C. Hart Merriam on his biological survey of Mt. Shasta, California, and in May 1915 was one of the members of the American Ornithologists' Union who attended the meeting in San Francisco.

Not just a devoted member of the Union, Sage was a Fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Connecticut Botanical Society, the Connecticut Historical Society, the New York Academy of Sciences, the Linnaean Society of New York, the Biological Society of Washington, the Cooper Ornithological Club and the Wilson Ornithological Club. He also took part in the early activities of the Audubon Society at the state and national levels. For his contributions to science, Sage received an honorary Master of Science degree from Trinity College in Hartford, CT. While his main interest was ornithology, Sage also pursued research on topics in botany and biology, and researched the history of Trinity Church in Portland, Connecticut.

John Hall Sage died in 1925.


55.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The John Hall Sage papers contain the administrative and financial records, books, clippings, correspondence, and manuscripts of John Hall Sage. The collection also includes the papers of the American Ornithologists' Union, an organization of which John Hall Sage was a member, serving as both President and Secretary. The collection focuses mostly on John Hall Sage's lifelong interest in ornithology.

General note


Published works

  1. List of Birds Found About My House in Portland, Connecticut, Portland, Conn.:John Hall Sage, 1898
  2. Officials of the Parish of Trinity Church, Portland, Connecticut, Portland, Conn.:Middlesex County Printery, 1909
  3. Memorials and Other Gifts in Trinity Church, Portland, Connecticut, Portland, Conn.:Middlesex County Printery, 1910
  4. The Birds of Connecticut, Hartford, Conn.:Printed for the State Geological and Natural History Survey by Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co., 1913.
John Hall Sage Papers
Archives & Special Collections staff
2011 June
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Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US