Internet & Technology

A national treasure: Accounting for the natural history specimens from the Lewis and Clark Expedition (western North America, 1803-1806) in the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia

Description
Nearly all of the natural history specimens now surviving from the Lewis and Clark Expedition across western North America in 1803-1806 are in the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. These specimens encompass geology (two rocks and seven
Published
of 12
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Related Documents
Share
Transcript
  PROCEEDINGSOFTHEACADEMYOFNATURALSCIENCESOFPHILADELPHIA 150:47-58. 14 APRIL 2000 Anationaltreasure:Accounting·forthenaturalhistoryspecimensfromtheLewisandClarkExpedition westernNorthAmerica,1803-1806 intheAcademy   NaturalSciences   Philadelphia EARLE E. SPAMER,RICHARD M. MCCOURT Department of Botany,Academy of Natural Sciences of Pbiladelpbia,1900Benjamin hanklin Parkway,PbiladelpbiaPA19103·1195,U.S.A. ROBERTMIDDLETON AdjunctCurator of Mineralogy,Academy of Natural Sciences of PbiladelpbiaP.O.Box 870, RockportME04856,U.S.A. EDWARDGILMORE VertebrateZoology,Academy of Natural Sciences of Pbiladelpbia,1900BenjaminFranklinParkway,PhiladelpbiaPA19103·1195,U.S.A. SEAN B DURAN ExbibitsDepartment,Academy of Natural Sciences of Pbiladelpbia Present address: MiamiMuseum of Science, 3280SombMiamiAvenue,Miami  I 33129, U.S.A. ABSTRACT-Nearly all of the naturalhistory specimens now survivingfromthe Lewis and ClarkExpedition across westernNorthAmerica in 1803-1806 arein theAcademy ofNatural Sciences ofPhiladelphia. Thesespecimensencompassgeology (two rocks and seven minerals),paleontology (one vertebrate fossil), botany (226 herbarium sheets),and herpetology (one specimen).This is abriefaccountingonly,but it is the firstsuch summary ever oftheAcademy's Lewis and Clarkholdings.Alsoincludedhere are the first illustrationsoftherock,mineral, and reptile specimens. Dataaccompanyingthe snake specimenindicatethat it is fromtheexpedition-anuncertainassociation-andthispaperprovidesacircumspectual analysis of thesedata. INTRODUCTION The Lewis andClark Expedition of 1803-1806 is celebrated in America.Thiswasanexplorationmandated by the u.s. Congress through theefforts of President Thomas Jefferson,principally to determine the practicality of acommercialroute,mainly by water, from the MississippiRiver to thePacificOcean.JeffersonappointedMeriwetherLewisandWilliam Clarkto organize and command the  Corpsof Discovery , and itwas by their names that theventureeventuallybecame known.The explorerswere to mapthegeographyenroute,andtoidentifyresources and Native American inhabitation of thehugeLouisiana Territory, purchased by the United States from France inApril 1803, and the foreign territoryfrom the Continental Divide to thePacific. From thevantage of scientificdiscoveryitwas in everyrespectanexploration of unknown land,anditwashighlyorganized. By Jefferson'sdirection,beforeleavingtheeasternseaboardLewiswas tutoredby leadingscholars in a number of sciencesandinstructedinthepractical 47 methods bywhichto collectspecimens.Lewissupervisedconstruction of theirboat in Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania, and departed down the Ohio River on 31 August 1803. The fullystaffed and outfittedexpedi tion began theirjourney uptheMissouriRiver on 14 May 1804, returning to S1. Louis,Missouri, on 23 September 1806. Now approachingitsbicentenary,theLewisand Clark Expedition is inspiringrenewedinterestacrossa broad range of scholarlyfields,science andhistory alike. In thepastfewyearsseveral popularbooks on theexpeditionhavebeenpublished,atelevision documentary hasbeenproduced,NativeAmericaninterpreter and ethnobotanistSacagaweahasbeenfeatured on the new one-dollarcoin, and scholars and the laypublic alill:e havebeenincreasingly keen to know more-and to see the surviving relics-of what arguably is the United States'mostdaring and firsttransnationalexpedition.Somewriters inpopular literaturehavemadeinterestingcomparisons of thedangers and unknowns faced bothby theLewisand Clark Expedition and theastronauts who landed on  48 the moon. Buttheydiffergreatlyinseveralmajor areas-forehand knowledge of destinationandterrain;thecalculateddangers to theexplorers;thekinds of technologyusedforlocation-finding,survival,andscientificstudy;andthekindsofknowledgederived from theexplorationandmaterialsreturned.TheCorps of Discoveryandthe moon landingswereliterallyworldsapart.Eveninretrospect,however,thespecimens that werereturned by LewisandClarkwere as exotic,instructive,andscientificallyvaluable as moon rocks.Asignificant amountof taxonomicresearchhasbeenconducted on thepressedplantspecimensre turned by LewisandClark.Mostrecently,theentirecollectionhasbeenreevaluatedbysystematicbotanistsandhistorians(Revealetal., 1999; Moulton,1999).But of lesser renown arethenon-botanicalnaturalhistoryspecimens. None arenewdiscoverieshere, butthey areoverlooked in theclamorforhistoricalreviews of theexpeditionandforpreservationoftheLewisand Clark Herbarium.Afossilfishjaw is knownto paleontologists,doublyimportant as thetypespecimenforitsspecies.Therocksandminerals,infrequentlymentionedinwidelyscatteredliterature,apparentlyhaveneverbeenillustratedbefore. An alcohol-preservedsnake purported tobefromtheexpeditionhasreceivedlittlemore than aparentheticalnote in print more than acenturyandahalfago. The results of LewisandClark'sobservationsandcollections of naturalhistoryspecimensaremeticulouslydescribed from thewrittenaccountsoftheexplorers. Their journalshavebeenpublished,revised,andtranslated bymany editorssincetheearlynineteenthcentury,usuallyabridged,but now theyareavailable,unabridgedandnewlyannotated,inthejust-completedseries byMoulton (1986-1999).AllofthewritingsofLewis,Clark,and other membersoftheexpedition whokept journals,aretranscribedandannotatedtothe pointthat historianshavearemarkablerecord of themovementsanddoings ofnot justtheexpedition as awholebut ofmanyof itsindividualmembers. The journalsthemselvesareallwellkeptnow;mostof them areattheAmericanPhilosophicalSociety (APS) in Philadelphia.(ForanaccountingoftheLewisand Clark Expeditionwrittenmaterials, see Moulton,1986.) The specimensthatwerecollected,however,sufferedfar more ignoblefates;asignificantnumber ofthem arelost.Mishapsoccurred in thefield,somedid not survivethetripbacktoSt.Louis,andsomeweredestroyed by pestsduringshipmentandlaterstorage. Many specimens,recordedininventoriesmade in easterncities,can notnow belocated.Evenso,whatdoesremain is astonishing.HistoriansandscientistsalikehavelocatedtheLewisand Clark naturalhistoryspecimens,eitherfrompurelyhistoricalinterest as relics of agreatexploringexpedition, or forparticulartaxonomicstudiesrelating E.E. SP AMERET AL. toresearchathand. What is known of theanimalspecimens is thatnearlyallweredispersed,lost,anddestroyed,mostlyduringthenineteenthcentury. The rocksandmineralslikewisehavebeenmostlylost. The plantspecimenshavebestsurvived,due partly toforgetfulness,partlytounsanctionedremovaltoEngland,andpartlytoacompletelyfortuitousseries of eventsthatledtotherepatriation of virtuallyall of theplantspecimensinPhiladelphianearlyacenturyaftertheexpedition.AlthoughtheAcademy is thecustodianofalmostallnaturalhistoryspecimens known to survive from thisexpedition,nosummary of theirstatushasbeenpresentedinoneplace. Now, inspired by thebicentennial of theexpedition,morerequestsforinformationandaccesstothespecimenshavebeenarrivingfromresearchersandthecuriousalike. Where beforemostinterestwasheldinthescientificallycriticalspecimens, now eventhemoreordinary(thoughhistorical)specimensareseenwithgreatinterest.Since by rightsthesespecimens,thegains of a Government expedition,arealegacypreservedfortheAmericanpeople, as well as beinguniquescientificresearchmaterialsfortheworldatlarge,theAcademymust both accountfor them andmakethebestpossibleeffortstoprovideinformationaboutthem. The presentpaperservestheimmediatepurpose of documentingtheAcademy'sholdings of Lewisand Clark naturalhistoryspecimensattheclose of thetwentiethcentury. It addsanoverviewoftheAcademy'srole as custodianandincludesaliteraturelist of popularandscientificstartingpointsforhistoricalresearchrelatingtothesespecimens. ROCKS AND MINERALS Geology,whichbroadlyincludesthedisciplines of paleontology(whichwediscussseparately)andmineralogy,was not amainconcern of theLewisand Clark Expedition.Variousnotesweremade of geologicaloccurrencesalongtheroute,such as saltdeposits,andafewmineralogicalobservationsweremade, but collectionswere not many when compared to thosemade of animalsandplants.Eventhedisposition of thegeologicalcollectionsquicklybecameconfusedaftertheirdeliverytoJeffersonandlatertotheAmericanPhilosophicalSociety. Any history of mineralogy in North AmericabeginswithAdamSeybert of Philadelphia. He wasthefirstmajormineralogist of this country andwastheauthoritywith whom anyoneinterestedinmineralogyconferred.GreeneandBurke (1978) providedathoroughhistory of earlyAmericanmineralogy,includingdiscussions of Seybert'scollection,thefirst in America.Asynopsis of Seybert'sconnections with eighteenthandearlynineteenthcenturycollectorsandcollections,inAmericaandEurope,waspublished by  LEWIS ANDCLARKNATURALHISTORYSPECIMENSINANSP 49 Fig. 1. MineralscollectedduringtheLewisandClarkExpedition,fromtheSeybertCollectionnowintheAcademyofNaturalSciences.Theonlyspecimenwithapreciselyknowndateofcollection is the CrossedcrystalsofSulphatofLime (fourthspecimenfromleftinuppergroupof five), fromthe banksoftheMissouri 23 August 1804 (SeybertCollection, 799). Thetwolowerspecimens,withtheSeybertCollectionnumbers 803 and 804, werecollectedfromtheCalumetBluffs,Missouri,thoughtheirdatesarenotrecorded.ThesespecimensandthoseinFigs.2and3werepartofAdamSeybert'scollectionofrocksandminerals,purchasedbytheAcademyofNaturalSciencesin 1812. Thiscollectionformedpartofthecore of theAcademy'spresentpanregnalcollectionsnumberingtensofmillionsofspecimens.Fig. 2. Apieceofnaturallyburnedcoalifiedstrata,fromnear Fort Mandaninpresent-day North Dakota.(ANSP 3916, PetrologicCollection;SeybertCollection, 535.) Wilson(1994:149).Seybert's2,000-specimencollectionwasbought by thenewlyfoundedAcademyofNaturalSciencesin1812for 750and is amongtheveryfirstoftheAcademy'saccessions.His 1825 autograph Catalogue Fig. 3. Apieceofpumice,foundfloatingontheMissouriRiver.(SeybertCollection, 534.) ofMinerals , now in theArchives of theAcademy,enumeratestheentirecollection.However,GreeneandBurke (1978: 29,footnote 20) notedthat  The numbersoftheentriesdo not correspond to thoseofthemineralsintheSeybertcollectionattheAcademy;  50thesearetagged in correspondence withthe entries in alatercatalog in Seybert's hand dated1825. Green andBurke (1978:29-30)have provided the best review available of the sketchyconnection of Seybert with the Lewis andClark collections.Seybert had obtained 34specimenscollected during the Lewis and Clark Expedition, but  How Seybertacquiredthesespecimens is not indicated (Greene and Burke,1978:29).Specimensincludefossils,sedimentsamples, and hand specimens of rocks. They wereitemized by GreeneandBurke (1978:29-30, footnote 22). The Seybert Collection list,however,does not contain all of the specimens known to havebeensent from the field by Lewis and Clark. Moulton (1987:472-478) reproduced alist of 67 or 68 rocks and mineralsreceived from Lewisat the APS, as invento ried there by John Vaughan on 16 November 1805. The transcriptions ofmany lineitemsincludesubse quent annotations written by Adam Seybert.(The confusion in the number of specimens may bethe error either of Lewis or Vaughan,according to Moul ton. The listincludes the fossilfishjaw,discussed more fullybelow.) Moulton s observation (p. 472) thatmost specimens have been lost is followed with an emollient, that The specimens may not haveall arrived safely at Philadelphiaconsidering that someitemshave thenote 'labelonly' (p. 473). Moultonnoted that somespecimenswerelater movedto the Academy, where they were integrated with the Academy s generalcollectionsand not differentiated as Lewis andClark pieces. This may beso,given thatit is a common museum practice to absorb into one collection the entire holdings of another, but curiousgiven that data containedwith suchcollections,including previousdonors, areusuallytranscribed. Throughout the Academy s MineralogyCollection there are numerous suchaccessions, noted on nine teenthcentury labels,including among them hundreds from the APS.So perhaps theLewis and Clark specimensare there afterall, now acknowledged only as from the APS. Moulton also may not have known thatthe historicSeybert Collection is stillsegregated andin fact is stored in a contemporary cabinetbuilt foritand bearinga metal plaque with thedate1825. Presumablythe cabinetcomplementstheautographcatalogue compiled by Seybert shortly beforehisdeathOater that year). Curators havesearchedseveraltimes throughthe Academy s collections for evidence of Lewis and Clark geologicalspecimens. Either most are now lost, or they do in factlie in thecollections withoutany indication thatthey were from Lewis and Clark. Only fivespecimenscan now beascribedcertainly to thisexpedition, two rocks and three minerals(Figs. 1 3; quotations are from Seybert'scatalogue;alsosee appended notes): E.E. SPAMER ET AL.  Pumice,foundfloatingontheMissouri.Captn.Lewis. -SeybertCollection, 534. 2  Slag like Lava. inthe sides of the hillsin theneighborhood of fortMandane 1609 miles abovethemouthoftheMissouri.Captn. Lewis. -  NSP 3916  PetrologicCollection , ex SeybertCollection, 535. 3 CrossedcrystalsofSulphatof Lime. locality same as 798  c. [798 =  banks of theMissouri. 23d Augst. 1804. Captn. Lewis ] - SeybertCollection, 799. 4,5  Crystallizedsulphatof Lime. Calumet Bluffs. Missouri.Captn.Lewis. - SeybertCollection, 802-805. Noteon no. 1: Lewis'sdonationto APS recordedthereon 16 November 1805 includesnoticeoftwospecimensof pummiceStone ,eitherofwhichcould be thisone.They are (as quoted as partofthe FortMandanMiscellany byMoulton, 1987: 478) the one cited in noteno. 2, below, and:  62 SpecimenofthepummiceStonefoundamongstthe piles ofdriftwoodontheMissouri,Sometimesfound as lowdown as themouthofthe osage river.I can hearof no burningmountain in theneighborhoodoftheMissou ri or its Branches,butthe bluffs oftheRiver are nowon fire at Severalplaces, particularlythatpartnamedinourchartoftheMissouri The Bllrning Bluffs. Theplainsinmany places, thoughoutthis grea6t extentofopencountry,exhibitabundantproofsofhavingbeenonceon fire- Witnessthe Specimens of Lava andPummicestonefoundintheHillsnearfort mandon- Inaddition,no. 67 in the APS listfurthernotes: Thetract of CountrywhichfurnishesthePummiceStone seen floatingdowntheMisouri, is ratherburningorburntplainsthanburningmountains- Noteonno. 2: A mid- orlate-nineteenthcentury Acade mylabelfromthePetrologicCollectionreads, SupposedLava:-Slagfromburning coal strata,NearFortMandan.UpperMissouri.Am.Ph. Soc. indicatingithadbeenreceivedfromtheAmericanPhilosophicalSociety,butthatconflictswiththe fact that it is fromtheSeybertCollectionboughtbytheAcademy in 1812. ThelatterlabelmightreflectsomeinformationthathadaccompaniedthespecimentoSeybert.Lewis'sdonationtothe APS of 16 November 1805 includednoticeofspecimensamongwhichmay have beenthis one (as quoted by Moulton, 1987:478):  67. ASpecimenof Lava &pummiceStonefoundin great abundanceonthe Sides oftheHillsintheNeighborhoodofFortMandan 1609 miles abovethemouthoftheMissouri-exposed by thewashingoftheHillsfromthe rains &melting Snow.- Noteon no. 3: Noneofthejournalsforthe Lewisand ClarkExpeditiononthis date mentionthismineral  if. Moulton, 1986: 502-503). Noteon nos. 4, 5: Only 803 and 804 are presentwiththeirnumbersstill affixed. Other mineral specimens were found associated with thosecitedabove(also shown in Fig. 1), butwhether they, too, are from Lewis andClark is not as certain.   they are, they couldbe any of severallisted in theLewis and Clark, APS, and Seybertinventories. The Academy'sPetrologicCollection, or non mineralogical rock and sedimentcollection,wasplaced  LEWIS ANDCLARKNATURALHISTORYSPECIMENSINANSP 51 Fig .. 4. Saurocephalus ャ Harlan, HOLOTYPE (ANSP 5516, VertebratePaleontoloogy),collected 6 August 1804 by p。エョセォ Gassofthe LeWIS andClark  クー・セゥエゥッョ ?n sッャ、セ・イ Rive.r nearitsconfluencewiththeMissouriRiver,inpresent-day Harmon County,Iowa. From theAmencanPhIlosophIcal SOClety to theAcademyofNaturalSciences. in storage in 1978.ANSP3916itemizedabovewaswithheldandreturnedtotheSeybertCollection. In 1993, by action of theBoard of TrusteesoftheAcademy,thePetrologicCollectionwasformallytransferredtotheWagnerFreeInstituteofScience,inPhiladelphia(SpameretaI.,1993). In theinventorylist,madein 1978 from alllabelinginthecollection,there is noindication that thiscollectionincludesanything frem LewisandClark.FOSSILSFossilsarerarelymentionedinLewisandClark'sjournals,andjustonespecimen is known tosurvive(Fig. 4).  t is anupper-jawfragmentwithteeth,which Harlan (1824: 331-337, pI. 12, figs. 1-5) described as anewgenusandspecies, Saurocephaluslanciformis (ANSP5516,VertebratePaleontology);this is theholotype of thespecies.ItwascollectedfromCretaceousstrata on SoldierRivernearitsconfluencewiththeMissouriRiver[HarrisonCounty,Iowa], by PatrickGass on 6August 1804. Harlan (1824) gave thespecimen'sprovenance as  found in acavernsituate[ d] afewmilessouthoftheriver[Missouri],nearacreeknamedSoldier'sRiver ,whichinformationseemstohavebeentakenfromthefieldlabel. That label,untilrecentlystillaffixedtothespecimen, is written in Lewis'shand,thus: N° 9 petrifedjawboneofafish or someotheranamalfoundinacavern S8a;Ulg,istaflb€l a few milesdistantfromthe  ゥウウッオイゥ セ S. sideoftheriver- 6;h ofAugust 1804. The labelwasplacedintheAcademy'sArchives in theearly1990s.Unfortunately,neitherLewis,Clark, nor Gassmadereferencetothisspecimenintheirjournals  cf Moulton, 1986: 452-454, 1996: 26). Itwasreceived by theAPS on 16 November 1805. The fragment that survivestodaylackstheupperleftsegment as viewedinHarlan'sillustration(1824, pI. 12,fig.3). The specimenhasbeendiscussedandre-illustrated in numerouspublications, as cited by Spameret al. (1995: 91-92). PLANTS Byfarthemostnumerousandmost-studied of theLewisandClarknaturalhistoryspecimensarethepressedplants. The Academyof Natural Sciencesholds226herbariumsheetsinitsLewisand Clark Herbarium;ninemoresheetsareintheherbariumattheRoyalBotanicGardens(Kew,Surrey,England).Afewsheetsinotherinstitutions that purport to beLewisandClarkcollectionseitherarehorticulturalspecimensgrownfromseedlater, or specimenscollected by others on laterexpeditions.Regardinghorticulturalspecimens,seedstaken from materialsreturned by theexpeditionare known tohavebeendistributed.
Search
Similar documents
View more...
Related Search
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks