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Item Description

Title: Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD, dated April 9, 1866.


  • Marsh, George Perkins, 1801-1882


  • Baird, Spencer Fullerton, 1823-1887

Source Document

Extent: 1 letter

Genre(s): letter


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Type of Resource: text

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Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD, dated April 9, 1866., Original located at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washinton, D.C., RU7002., (accessed January 21, 2018)


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TEI mark-up by : James P. Tranowski and

Published by: University of Vermont. All rights reserved.

Publication Information

Florence April 9 66

Dear Baird

I have yours of Feb 18' and have considered it. Also I sent Salvadore thy missive. The bird book has not come but en revanche, I have seen Elliot's monograph of the Pittidae. I say nothing of his science, but his English might be bettered. I read your pamphlets on vagabond birds with much interest. The facts you state about transition varieties, transitory or permanent, are very interesting, and of course, have a very important bearing on the species question and other greater questions which lie behind that. In a box which goes to N.Y. about this time, I send you a small Italian vogelbach (or Fischbuch, I forget which) I think the Italians are not doing much in a scientific way. Matteucci is great, I know, and what is more, is an excellent friend to us, but he is completely broken down with over work. I regret it greatly, for many reasons. Have you seen Mantegazza's essay on animal grafting? I dare say you have, or other things as good, but very curious it is, particularly the transplantation of a cock's spurs from his heels to his head, and other like oddities. I did suspect you of having a hand in the Academy business, but I -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- thought the Academy's operations were confined strictly to the natural & physical sciences. I do not think [...] plan of a separate Academy good. The French Institute system is better. We [...] are, sadly deficient in method about everything. They do these things better in France--Why not extend the plan of our Academy in a similiar way? I see one objection in some people's eyes, plain enough. A. B. and C. can [...] an Institute of one ["brands?"] , not so easily, if it has five. By the way you say I am assigned to the section of Nat. Hist. Ethnology & Archeology. Secretary Gibbs puts me down to Ethnology & Philology. Well, it does not matter much. --

I fear we cannot do anything with booksellers about exchanges, because the Italian booksellers have no organisation. If a Naples booksellers publishes a volume, he advertises that if anybody will send him a P.O. order for the price, he will forward the book, but he never thinks of sending it to a Florentine bookseller to sell. Of course, nobody -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- will take the trouble to get a P.O. order for three francs, & his book remains unsold. Three months ago, a book I wanted was published at Bari, with which place we have a daily RR communication. My bookseller did not get it in less than eight weeks from the order, & then only on writing a third time. In short, bookseller knows nothing of booksellers in Italy, but they get French & German publications readily enough. The trouble is partly with the nefarious management of the RR. There are no expresses, if you send a grande velocita you pay as much for freight on your parcel [as it] is worth; if a piccola velocita, your correspondent never gets it, or at best months afterwards. I had a small box of books sent from Genoa--12 hours by RR--last autumn. It was two months before it was delivered, & then only after an energetic interference on the part of the government. -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- There is here however, a German bookseller who has the breath of life in him. He is now away but when comes back I will see him. ---

Don't know "weentry" conjecture it to be an improvement on Scotch wee. I perceive, however, that in some English dialects to ween is to whimper. Perhaps that is a more probable etymology. I am full of delight over a [...], or ["lever-wood?"] Alpenstock my brother Charles has sent me, It is not too heavy, and it is stronger than all the woods of Europe. I hope to flourish it over some glaciers this summer.

Mrs Marsh is poorly & will be obliged to go to Paris to consult abler physicians then she can find elsewhere

She joins me in love to you all

Yours truly

G P Marsh note:Prof Baird

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