Catalogue


A glorious enterprise : the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and the making of American science /
Robert McCracken Peck and Patricia Tyson Stroud ; photographs by Rosamond Purcell.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, c2012.
description
xvii, 437 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 32 cm.
ISBN
0812243803 (hbk : alk. paper), 9780812243802 (hbk : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, c2012.
isbn
0812243803 (hbk : alk. paper)
9780812243802 (hbk : alk. paper)
catalogue key
8450953
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2012-06-29:
This oversized volume is the Academy of Natural Sciences' celebration of its bicentennial, a reminder that it's the oldest natural history museum in the Western hemisphere. (It must now put "at Drexel University" at the end of its name owing to a new collaboration.) As self-celebrations go, this one is made great by its wonderful array of images, both historical and newly taken by photographer Purcell. However, the captions to the images, new and old, are inconsistent, leaving readers ignorant in many cases of when particular pieces were collected or where. Purcell's photographs celebrate the original 19th-century labels and housing for many of the specimens as much as they do the pieces themselves-a meaningful tribute to the ongoing historical value of such components. The text by Peck (curator, art & artifacts, Academy of Natural Sciences; coauthor, with Valerie Bramwell, All in the Bones: A Biography of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins) and Stroud (The Man Who Had Been King: The American Exile of Napoleon's Brother Joseph) is a chronological narrative of the academy's history. Verdict As the academy has been involved in much scientific exploration, there's a lot that will interest history-of-science aficionados if they're willing to make their way through some less gripping institutional details as well. A handsome volume that should be in all serious collections on the history of the natural sciences.-Margaret Heilbrun, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2012-11-01:
This massive compendium, dealing with different aspects of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia--the oldest surviving natural history museum in the Western Hemisphere--stresses the authors' belief that science should reflect democratic values. Peck (Academy of Natural Sciences) and Stroud (independent scholar) describe how a group of amateur naturalists got together in 1812 for "the purposes of rational, free, literary, and scientific conversation." In founding the academy, they wished to distinguish it from the more popular, less scientific museum of Charles Willson Peale, the Philadelphia Museum. Gerard Troost, mineralogist and former pharmacist, was the most accomplished naturalist among the founders. Among those profiled in this work are Thomas Jefferson, John James Audubon, and Robert Peary, who were associates of the academy. The chapters reflect the full panorama of America and its history; e.g., "The Lure of the West," "The American Golgotha: Defining Race in the Early Republic," "'I Must Have Fame': Robert Peary Explores the Arctic," "Academy Expeditions, 1928 to 1960." This magnificent volume is beautifully illustrated, including excellent woodcuts, reproductions of Audubon's drawings, and oil paintings and stereographs. It should interest students of American history, American studies, art, as well as natural history and the voyages of exploration. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All academic and general readers. J. S. Schwartz emeritus, CUNY College of Staten Island
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A fascinating history, lavishly illustrated, of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, America's earliest scientific institution. The book's eighteen chapters offer not a single narrative, but a set of panels in which are figured episodes and topics that carry us from the beginning of the nineteenth century up to the present. For those who do not already know the Academy, A Glorious Enterpriseshould prompt a visit to the displays and library of this extraordinary home of scientific research."-Charles Gillispie, Professor Emeritus of the History of Science, Princeton University
"A handsome volume that should be in all serious collections on the history of the natural sciences."- Library Journal
"A book to remember. . . . To wander through A Glorious Enterpriseis to absorb the nineteenth century's passion for botany and zoology; the twentieth century's mania for exploration of distant, difficult or desolate places; and present-day preoccupations. . . . All of these tales are fascinating, but the book's true fascination comes in its color photographs and illustrations, scores of them."-Cornelia Dean, New York Times
"A book to remember. . . . To wander through A Glorious Enterpriseis to absorb the nineteenth century's passion for botany and zoology; the twentieth century's mania for exploration of distant, difficult or desolate places; and present-day preoccupations. . . . All of these tales are fascinating, but the book's true fascination comes in its color photographs and illustrations, scores of them." -Cornelia Dean, New York Times
"Magnificent in both its scope and its ambitious physicality, A Glorious Enterpriseis a fascinating miniature museum in and of itself, exploring the cultural history of natural history with equal parts rigor and romanticism-the hallmark of great science."-Maria Popova, Brain Pickings
""To leaf through A Glorious Enterpriseis to see history unfold. Two hundred years in the making, this beautiful book is a paean to the Western Hemisphere's oldest natural history museum-the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia-and the passionate men and women who shaped its reputation. Like a sophisticated cabinet of curiosities, the tome brims with treasures illustrating the museum's 18-million-piece collection."- Audubon
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, June 2012
Choice, November 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
'A Glorious Enterprise', the first complete history of the Academy, tells the story of the brilliant and passionate men and women who endeavored to acquire and disseminate knowledge of the natural world.
Main Description
Founded in 1812, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia stands today as the oldest natural history museum in the Western hemisphere. Early expeditions organized at the Academy were of central importance to the exploration of America's western wilderness, and the plant and animal specimens that were brought back formed the foundation of a collection that today contains some eighteen million items. What began as a small gathering of devoted amateurs has grown into a vibrant international center for scientific education and research. A Glorious Enterprise, the first complete history of the Academy, tells the story of the brilliant and passionate men and women who endeavored to acquire and disseminate knowledge of the natural world. Thomas Jefferson, John James Audubon, Robert Peary, Ernest Hemingway, and James Bond are just a few of the colorful Academy associates profiled in this lively narrative. Naturalist and historian Robert McCracken Peck and historical biographer Patricia Tyson Stroud take readers behind the scenes of the Academy, recounting the signal moments and achievements that shaped its first two hundred years-from its landmark discoveries in North America and around the world, through the construction of its famed dioramas in the 1930s, to the pioneering work of Academy scientists in water pollution and conservation long before these were topics of popular concern. The book is richly illustrated throughout with hundreds of archival images and stunningly original works by acclaimed photographer Rosamond Purcell that cast specimens from the Academy's collections in a new light. Like Academy members on a quest for wondrous specimens, lovers of the sciences, American history, museums, and libraries will want to add A Glorious Enterpriseto their collections. Filled with lively anecdotes, captivating biographical details, and fascinating facts, this beautiful and enlightening history will be treasured for years to come.
Table of Contents
Preface
A Gathering of Gentlemen: The Founding and Early Years
The Lure of the West: Exploration and Exodus
A Widening Sphere
The American Woodsman Comes Calling: John James Audubon and the Academy
The American Golgotha: Defining Race in the Early Republic
Gorillas Grab the Limelight: Paul Du Chaillu, John Cassin, and the Professionalization of Science
The Marvelous Bipedal Masterpiece: Religion, Politics, and Public Display
Fossils, Finders, and Feuds: Leidy, Hayden, Cope, and Marsh
"I Must Have Fame": Robert Peary Explores the Arctic
Early Man at the Academy
Volcanoes to Caverns: Exploring for Minerals
Academy Expeditions, 1928 to 1960
Dioramas Defy the Great Depression
Science and Celebrity: The Academy Goes Hollywood
Visions in Microscopes: Water Quality and the Environment
Regrouping and Looking Forward in the Postwar Years
Reaching Out: Festivals and Friends
The Academy's "Glorious Enterprise" Completes Its Second Century
Milestones in the Academy's History
Presidents of the Academy of Natural Sciences
Trustees of the Academy of Natural Sciences
Awards and Medals
Acknowledgments
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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