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Sternberg Family Collection

Identifier: FC 012
This collection contains information on the family history and family tree of the Sternberg family. It also has articles written by Levi Sternberg, George Miller Sternberg and Myrl Walker (director of the Sternberg Museum after George F. Sternberg). There are maps of Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Correspondence and writing by George Miller Sternberg. The collection contains fossil photographs, field notes from Charles H. Sternberg and materials related to the building of the Sternberg Museum. There are also photographs of the family.


  • 1867-2009


Conditions Governing Access

Items cannot be removed from the University Archives. Please ask for the assistance of the Archivist when handling these items.

Conditions Governing Use

Written permission must be obtained from the Fort Hays State University Archives and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.


3.6 Linear Feet


The Sternberg Family Collection includes writings, field notes, photographs and other materials related to the history of the Sternberg family and their paleontological research and findings.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. George Miller Sternberg was born in New York on June 8, 1838. He was the oldest son of Reverend Levi Sternberg and Margaret Sternberg. He became an Assistant Surgeon in the United States Army on May 28, 1861. He is considered one of the first U.S. bacteriologist. In 1866, he was promoted to Major and assigned to Fort Harker in Kansas. During his time here, he became interested in fossils and started to collect fossil leaves from the Dakota sandstone nearby. Many of his fossils ended up at the Smithsonian. He also acquired land and started to ranch near the fort, and later his brothers Charles H. and Edward, and his father, Levi, would come to Kansas to live on his ranch with him. His younger brother, Charles Hazelius Sternberg started to collect fossils as well. Charles Hazelius Sternberg is the father of George F., Charles Mortram, and Levi Sternberg. Charles H. Sternberg became a paleontologist and many of the fossils he collected are displayed in museums throughout the world. He collected fossils for E.D. Cope, and got his sons, George, Charles M. and Levi involved in fossil hunting as well. George F. Sternberg, Charles’s son, was born August 26, 1883 in Lawrence, Kansas. Following in his father’s footsteps, he became a paleontologist. He did field work in the Midwest, West, Canada, and South America. He gained recognition for discovering and classifying a new sub-family of mastodons. In 1927, he was hired by Fort Hays State University as field vertebrate paleontologist and a curator of the museum housed in the University. At the museum, he developed public and educational programs to get people, especially kids and educators, involved in paleontology. He is well known for his excavation of the “fish within a fish” fossil. He retired from Fort Hays State University in 1961, and died in 1969. Fort Hays State University’s student geology club and museum are both named in honor of his family.


Materials has been arranged to preserve its original order.

Related Materials

All materials related to George F. Sternberg's research and tenure as director of the Sternberg Museum can be found in the George F. Sternberg Collection.
Revised by David Obermayer
2016; 2018

Repository Details

Part of the Fort Hays State University Archives Repository

University Archives
Forsyth Library
502 South Campus Drive
Hays KS 67601 United States