Founding of the MVZ
October 28, 1907
Dear President Wheeler,
Should the University of California within the next six months erect a galvanized iron building furnished with electric light, heat and janitor's services and turn it over to my entire control as a Museum of Natural History for the next seven years, I will guarantee the expenditure of $7000 yearly during that time for field and research work relating exclusively to mammals, birds, and reptiles of the west coast, with the understanding that the University of California would be in no way responsible for the management of the funds for carrying out the work, or selection of collectors....
Very sincerely, Annie M. Alexander
The funds that Annie Montague Alexander was offering to the University would be used to pay salaries of the Museum staff, to make and prepare specimen collections from throughout the state, to purchase supplies, casework, and equipment for the housing and long-term preservation of specimens, and to cover the costs associated with producing publications which would result from research based on the collections. Alexander's letter further recommended the appointment of Joseph Grinnell as Museum Director. Together, these two individuals would create a "center of authority" for the study of vertebrate biology and evolution on the West Coast that became comparable to the major museums on the East Coast, in the Midwest, and across the Atlantic.