Sunday, August 15, 2010

Letter of the Day: August 15

Shelton, Hanley, Staff. [United Kingdom]

Aug. 15, 1875

My dear Sir,

A long time is elapsed since I wrote you last, above a year now, and it is still longer since I received your polite letter on the subject of the craniological collection of your museum.

I have wondered whether the Congress had authorized the publication of the second Catalogue of Crania, which you told me you had prepared. I think you told me that the only reason for the delay of this important publication arose from the indifference of the Chairman of the Committee to which this subject was referred. I trust this strange and culpable indifference has at last been overcome, and that your Catalogue is now printed, or at least on the press. Pray tell me it is.

I some time since decided to put my “Supplement” to the press, and the whole is now printed except the preface and title page. The printers, who have a great deal of very important work to do, have delayed the compile thus for a long time, but I think it will soon be ready for distribution. It will contain some short account of about 300 skeletons and skulls which have been added to my collection since my “Thesaurus” was issued. Perhaps the most noteworthy of the additions consists of a fine skeleton of a Tasmanian man. This is now an extinct race, at least there is only one woman living. This skeleton struck me as so important an acquitision that I was induced to write a short memoir upon it, which was printed in English in the Transactions of the Dutch Society of Sciences of Haarlem for 1874. I am sorry to say that I have not a copy to send you, but you will find my memoir, entitled “On the Osseology and Peculiarities of the Tasmanians, a race of man recently become extinct,” if you refer to any of the Libraries in Washington which exchange with the Haarlem Society.

(Examining?) the recent accessions to my Collection I am sorry to say that there are no skulls of the Tribes of North America.

I regret that death should have deprived the world of Profs. Agassiz and Jeffreys (sic Jeffries) Wyman, both most excellent men. The latter was a good craniologist and would have done much for our Science had he lived longer.

I remain, yours faithfully,
J. Barnard Davis

Geo A. Otis, Esq.

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