Journal of the History of Biology 33 (3):493 - 534 (2000)

The post-Civil War American natural history craze spawned a new institution -- the natural history dealer -- that has failed to receive the historical attention it deserves. The individuals who created these enterprises simultaneously helped to promote and hoped to profit from the burgeoning interest in both scientific and popular specimen collecting. At a time when other employment and educational prospects in natural history were severely limited, hundreds of dealers across the nation provided encouragement, specimens, publication outlets, training opportunities, and jobs for naturalists of all motivations and levels of expertise. This paper explores the crucial role that specimen dealers played in the larger natural history community. After briefly examining the development of local taxidermy shops in the mid-nineteenth century, it then traces the history of four large natural history dealerships established in the United States during the latter half of the century: Ward's Natural History Establishment, Frank Blake Webster's Naturalists' Supply Depot, Southwick & Jencks' Natural History Store, and Frank H. Lattin & Co. By the early twentieth century, changing tastes in interior design, the growth of the Audubon movement, and the dramatic expansion of alternate training and job opportunities for naturalists led many specimen dealers either to shift their emphasis or to shut their doors.
Keywords natural history  specimen dealers  entrepreneurial natural history  merchant naturalists  natural history dealers  taxidermy  taxidermists  collecting  Henry A. Ward  Frank B. Webster  James M. Southwick  Fred T. Jencks  Frank H. Lattin
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/A:1004856813466
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,410
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Life Sciences in the Twentieth Century.Garland Allen - 1976 - Journal of the History of Biology 9 (2):323-323.
Cultures of Natural History.N. Jardine, J. A. Secord & E. C. Spary - 1997 - Journal of the History of Biology 30 (2):306-309.
Darwin and His Finches: The Evolution of a Legend.Frank J. Sulloway - 1982 - Journal of the History of Biology 15 (1):1-53.

View all 26 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Wallace, Darwin, and the Practice of Natural History.Melinda B. Fagan - 2007 - Journal of the History of Biology 40 (4):601 - 635.
Natural History and the Encyclopédie.James Llana - 2000 - Journal of the History of Biology 33 (1):1 - 25.
Natural History and the Clinic: The Regional Ecology of Allergy in America.G. Mitman - 2003 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 34 (3):491-510.
Ethology, Natural History, the Life Sciences, and the Problem of Place.Richard W. Burkhardt - 1999 - Journal of the History of Biology 32 (3):489 - 508.
Is Human History Predestined in Wang Fuzhi’s Cosmology?Jeeloo Liu - 2001 - Journal of Chinese Philosophy 28 (3):321–338.


Added to PP index

Total views
44 ( #259,297 of 2,519,700 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #406,314 of 2,519,700 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes