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)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Review of America’s Other Audubon (Brain Pickings Blog)

The Brain Pickings review of America’s Other Audubon by Joy M. Kiser (Princeton Architectural Press,  2012)  includes some nice illustrations from the book.  The works are by a family of illustrators and lithographer, all amateurs by today's standards, Gennie, Virginia, and Eliza Jones.

 From the preface by Smithsonian Curator of Natural-History Rare Books Leslie K. Overstreet:
The creation of a talented young woman and her dedicated family in a small Ohio town far from the intellectual and artistic centers of mid-nineteenth century, Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio was a singular and remarkable achievement. It is almost impossible for us today to imagine how ambitious the project was in its own time or how daunting the physical and technological obstacles that had to be dealt with and overcome. Even more, in our modern world of the professionalization of science, it may seem astonishing that amateurs like the Joneses could produce something scientifically important and lasting.

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