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George F. Sternberg Collection

Identifier: FC 013
The George F. Sternberg Collection consists of general information about George F. Sternberg’s life newspaper clips related to career, correspondence, field notes and diaries, lists of fossils sold by him, video footage of several of his digs, unknown audio records, scrapbooks related to his interest in paleontology, photo albums of his paleontological digs, several bound notebooks and writings related to his time as curator of the Sternberg Museum.

Digital Collections - FHSU Scholars Repository - Scan of George F. Sternberg Collection


  • 1920-2009


Conditions Governing Access

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

Further certian items are extremely fragile and should be handled only with supervision of archival staff.

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.


11 Linear Feet


The George F. Sternberg Collection includes scrapbooks, diaries, field journals, photographs, correspondence and other materials related to his career in paleontology, his teaching at Fort Hays State University, and work as curator of the Sternberg Museum.

Biographical / Historical

George Fryer Sternberg (1883-1969) was born in Lawrence Kansas. The Sternberg family included multiple well-known paleontologists. George F. Sternberg made his first discovery at a site along Beaver Creek in Logan County Kansas of a nearly complete plesiosaur.

George married Mabel Claire Smith in Phillipsburg on December 31, 1907. They had three children together before divorcing. George later married Anna Gertrude Zeigler on October 11, 1930.

During his career, Sternberg found many fossils across North and South America. Sternberg’s discoveries have been featured at numerous museums including the British Museum, London; Victorian Memorial Museum, Ottawa, Canada; and Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C. Sternberg is best known for his 1952 discovery of the “fish-within-a-fish,” which is one of the most complete specimen of its kind. The fossilized skeleton of a 14-foot Xiphactinus audax contains the 6 foot skeleton of another fish it had eaten.

In 1927, George F. Sternberg was hired as curator of geology and paleontology and managed those collections for the Kansas State Teachers College of Hays (now Fort Hays State University.) In 1933 he became the curator of museums and helped create the Sternberg Museum of Natural History. The museum was originally created as a teaching collection for students and faculty attending the college but quickly grew and was soon opened to the public. Sternberg, along with other Fort Hays State University faculty, also conducted numerous paleontological digs throughout Kansas.

Sternberg retired in 1961 and died October 23, 1969, in Hays.


Materials have been grouped by material type and then arranged chronologically.

Related Materials

Further materials related to the wider Sternberg family can be found in the Sternberg Family Collection
Research and processing by Coryell Deege. Finding aid revised by David Obermayer.
Description rules
Language of description

Revision Statements

  • 2023-07: Finding aid structure updated to reflect intellectual arrangement, and box labels added to clearly identify containers. Series definitions established. Samantha L. Harper, 2023-07

Repository Details

Part of the Fort Hays State University Archives Repository

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