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Letter from SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 9, 1849.

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Title: Letter from SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 9, 1849.


  • Baird, Spencer Fullerton, 1823-1887


  • Marsh, George Perkins, 1801-1882

Source Document

Extent: 1 letter

Genre(s): letter


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Letter from SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 9, 1849., Original located at the University of Vermont's Special Collections in the George Perkins Marsh Collection, filed by date., (accessed January 21, 2018)

Letter from SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 9, 1849.

Transcribed by : John Thomas, Ralph H. Orth and Ellen Thomson

TEI mark-up by : James P. Tranowski andEllen Thomson

Published by: University of Vermont. All rights reserved.

Publication Information

Carlisle Aug. 9. 1849.

My dear Mr. Marsh

I hasten to employ the first moment of health and leisure in giving you an account of my trip to Virginia and its somewhat unfortunate consequences. I left Carlisle on the 13 of July accompanied by three of my trained corps of student collectors, and made straight for Winchester Va. I remained in that vicinity two days in the course of which I secured the skeletons of two elk which had died in a park. The next stage was to Harrisonburg by stage. Here we engaged a square carriage, horses, and driver and commenced in earnest to collect specimens. Our plan was to ride along the road until we got to a stream of water, then to get out and sweep it with our seine, selecting such fish as we deemed proper. We generally made 30 or 35 miles a day. I examined pretty thoroughly the minor tributaries of the Shenandoah and James river on the east, and the Greenbriar on the west of the mountains One night sleeping by an open window during a rain I caught a "cold on the stomach"! as the doctor termed it which soon turned to a severe dysentery. I managed to get to the white sulphur springs and there took my bed which I kept for 10 days. I had two of the fiercest sort of physicians who dosed me in true southern style. They made me take about 15 Dover powders, & the same number of doses of Calomel not to mention Castor oil and other fixins. Wednesday of last week the Doctor said that I was getting no better there and that perhaps the riding home would be beneficial, and advised or rather permitted me to leave -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- A mattress was procured and laid in the carriage to which I was carried by my companions. In this way they took me a distance of about 130 miles. Strength pouring in on me every hour, I took stage and rode 70 miles to Winchester in one day, feeling all the better for it. Next day 42 miles in carriage to Hagerstown and Tuesday morning to Carlisle. I now feel quite well baiting a certain stiffness in the joints & muscles & a difficulty in moving about in my usual active manner. I am doing much better however than I have any right to expect and strength will, I hope, come in due time..

How do you like Garrigue's name for Bilder? It is rather a formidable one, and will, I am afraid deter many a simple minded man from subscribing. I send him to day the Mss. 80 columns the German text and will send as much more in the course of a few days. I think the book will have a run.

With regard to the Bosphorus things. I want very much to get the fishes I dont believe they have ever been collected, and will therefore furnish a fine field for Neuigkeitin. The fresh water fish of Turkey are of most interest, and after that, the salt water ones. Please have a clean sweep made of them several specimens of a species. If any snakes, salamanders or other reptiles can be caught have them pickled likewise. Sculls or skeletons of any mammalia if they come in your way are very -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- desirable, as also are the insects, particularly the Coleoptera & Lepidoptera, but these are troublesome to get. Fishes are easiest collected of all, as an arrangement can be made with some fisherman who will bring everything in.

I hope you will write occasionally after you cross the waters. I shall miss your home letters exceedingly. It sent quite a chill over me when I found you were actually going out of the country, and that I might not see you for years. I dont know another person, after my own famiy who could have excited the same sensation. What if you turn Turk and never return? In that case I will come and smoke a pipe with you some of these days even if tobacco does make me sick.

The illness of Mrs. M. distresses us very much. I hope and trust she is better by this time. Please present to her our warmest love. Good bye, dear Mr Marsh.

Yours most affectionately

S. F. Baird

[In a different hand]
And the love of your daughter Mary --

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