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Papers of Ray E. Stanford

Identifier: URES

Scope and Contents

The Papers of Ray E. Stanford consists of documents dated 1931 to 2000, with the bulk falling from the 1970s to the 1990s. Materials include correspondence, research data, papers, manuscripts, references, maps, posters and photographs.


  • Creation: 1919-2006
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1970s-1990s


Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


Ray Edmund Stanford was born in San Diego, California, on 4 December 1939. His interest in butterflies began by the age of eight. By the age of ten, he had started a checklist of species in his neighborhood. His parents recognized his interest in nature early on and enrolled him in a summer course at the San Diego Natural History Museum in 1948. Important teachers from this course and the next two summers included Tom Pagenhart, Paul Spade, Fred Thome, John Adams Comstock, Frauds X. Williams, and Charles F. "Harbie" Harbison.

Stanford became a member of the Lepidopterists' Society in 1955. The next year he took several short day-trips out of Miami, Florida, and saw butterflies and moths, with guidance from Mrs. Florence Grimshawe, a respected local lepidopterist. In 1957, as a high school senior in San Diego, Ray happened upon another collector in the Laguna Mountains of San Diego County, Paul Opler. This friendship and collaborative research continued for more than 35 years eventuating in the co-authored publication of "The Atlas of Western USA Butterflies, Including Adjacent Portions of Canada and Mexico."

Bill Tilden, Bob Langston, Don MacNeill and John Burns aided Ray's interest and ability in the study of Lepidoptera when he was a student at Stanford University. From 1961 to 1966, Ray moved back south, to attend and receive the M.D. degree from UCLA School of Medicine. After graduation, Ray moved to Denver, Colorado, where he completed a residency in Pathology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center by 1970. He was a member of the Pathology faculty there until retirement.

His involvement in the Lepidopterists' Society included a position on the Executive Council as Member-at-Large, Vice President, and Zone IV Season Summary Coordinator from 1979 to the 2000s. For decades, he served on numerous committees and was a de facto co-chairman of the Pacific Slope Section planning committee with Jerry Powell. They established the John Adams Comstock Award at the Pacific Slope Section meeting in 1979 honoring both students who present papers at the meetings and pioneer lepidopterists in the West. Ray was also a long-time member of the Xerces Society, having served as meeting chair and member of the Board of Directors, as well as the Zone III editor of the Fourth of July Butterfly Counts.

His interests include the biology and distribution of Lepidoptera in Western North America, taxonomy of North American skippers Hesperioidea, and conservation issues in general. He was a Research Associate at the Denver Museum of Natural History and the San Diego Natural History Museum. Publications include over a dozen scientific papers on Lepidoptera, notably the skipper section and range maps in "Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain States," edited by C. D. Ferris and F. Martin Brown. Much of his correspondence related to research was under the Western Lepidoptera Study Group.

Ray E. Stanford donated his personal butterfly collection of more than 100,000 insect specimens to Colorado State University's C. P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity within the Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest management in the College of Agricultural Sciences.


18.5 linear feet (9 record cartons, 16 rolls of maps and posters)

Language of Materials



Ray E. (Ray Edmund) Stanford was the author of "Butterflies of the Rocky Mountain states," co-authored "The Atlas of Western USA Butterflies, Including Adjacent Portions of Canada and Mexico," and donated more than 100,000 insect specimens from his personal collection to the C. P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity which is part of the Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management within the College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University. The collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, research data, papers, maps, posters, and references.


The collection consists of 2 series in 9 record cartons and 16 rolls of maps and posters:

Series 1: Office files, 1919-2006 and undated

Subseries 1.1: Individually filed, 1934-2000 and undated

Subseries 1.2: Accordion file #1 with alphabetical dividers, 1924-2006 and undated

Subseries 1.3: Miscellany, 1919-2005 and undated

Subseries 1.4: Accordion file #2 with alphabetical dividers, 1953-2002 and undated

Series 2: Oversize, 1943-2002 and undated


The Papers of Ray E. Stanford were donated by Paul A. Opler on behalf of Ray E. Stanford in May 2007.


As of January 2017, the collection was found housed in acidic boxes and folders. Portions of the collection did not have folders and oversized material was rolled. The finding aid was created with the collection as found and only very minimally processed for description, not for arrangement or preservation.

Inventory Note

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed.

Guide to the Papers of Ray E. Stanford
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Holly I. Fiedler
Copyright 2017
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA