the largest research collection of bird
eggs in the United States. The foundation was very excited when
the collection was acquired in 1977. Dr. Lloyd Kiff, curator at the
foundation's museum, noted that the eggs in the Jacobs collection,
which were taken between the 1880's and 1920's, were quite valu-
able for modern ornithologists because "at that time, there was no
pollution in the air and the density of the egg shells now makes it possible,
by comparing the thinness of eggshells of birds of the same species today in
the present polluted air, to determine the amount of pollution which now
exists." J. Warren Jacobs would be very proud to know that his life's
work is still making a contribution to the advancement of science.
Although many of his fellow townsmen, who referred to him
as the "birdman," or a "robber of bird nests," and members of his own
family, never understood his passion for the study of bird life, his
whole being was spent in a feverish attempt to know and under-
stand the natural world. When asked to sum up her father's life, one
of Jacobs' daughters remarked that "he was many things to many
people and completely misunderstood by most." I believe it was best
summed up by the minister at his funeral who remarked, "Anyone
so close to nature must surely have been close to God."
About the author: D. Kent Fonner is the 35-year-old grandson of J. Warren Jacobs. His mother, Helen Jacobs Fonner is the 12th child of J. Warren Jacobs. Kent has a Bachelor of Arts degree (History and English) from Waynesburg College; a Master's of Arts degree (History) from Duquesne University; and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He is the regional manager for the First Commonwealth Trust Company in Somerset, PA.