Darwin sought to not only produce a new scientific truth, but also to put an end to polygenism, the current scientific discourse on human origins that gave tacit and at times explicit support for slavery: ‘... when the principle of evolution is generally accepted, as it surely will be before long, the dispute between the monogenists and polygenists will die a silent and unobserved death.’ (Charles Darwin, Descent of Man, p. 235)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Maria Martin Bachman's sketches and paintings for Audubon: On-line Exhibition from the Charleston County Public Library

The surviving works by Maria Martin are to be found under arranged under the headings:

Fire Damaged Paintings: Gallery 1, Gallery 2, and Gallery 3.


Sketchbook Paintings: Gallery 1, Gallery 2.


Sketchbook Paintings: Unidentified Insects


Birds of America Paintings
These are well worth the time spent in viewing them. Below is one of the paintings from Audubon that that was in part painted by Maria Martin. Fittingly, it is of Bachman's Warbler, named by Audubon for her husband or perhaps for her as well.

Bachman's Warbler (Vermivora bachmanii)
The rare bush Maria Martin drew, Franklinia (Franklinia alatamaha) was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin.  Bachman's Warbler was one of several species of animals named by Audubon in honor of John Bachman.  Sadly, due to the advance of industrial forest management, Bachman's Warbler is thought to be extinct.  According to the National Audubon Society:

Since Western science discovered it in 1832, the Bachman's Warbler has been elusive for ornithologists and birdwatchers. Given that the last individual was confirmed alive in 1961, the Bachman's Warbler is probably extinct. A bright yellow-headed songbird with a black crown and throat patch, this insectivore preferred nesting in shrubs in bottomland hardwood forests and wintered in Cuba – a combination that rendered it extremely vulnerable to habitat destruction.
All of the Audubon painting that Maria Martin contributed to are here via the Charleston County Public Library and from it there is this the painting of the similarly named Bachman's Sparrow (Aimophila aestivalis) to which Maria Martin Bachman also contributed:

[Updated May 16, 2016; September 28, 2019]

Related posts:
Audubon's Birds and some often Overlooked Contributions of Women to Natural History

A Short Biography of John Bachman (1790-1874)

Podcast - Charleston's Women Naturalists: Jennifer Scheetz, Archivist, Charleston Museum  
The "American School": A brief timeline of the Monogenist/Polygenist Debate.

Notes on Royal Society’s “Types of Mankind” post
Review of America’s Other Audubon (Brain Pickings Blog)