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Item Description

Title: Letter from SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated May 31, 1871.


  • Baird, Spencer Fullerton, 1823-1887


  • Marsh, George Perkins, 1801-1882

Source Document

Extent: 1 letter

Genre(s): letter


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Type of Resource: text

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Letter from SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated May 31, 1871., Original located at the University of Vermont's Special Collections in the George Perkins Marsh Collection, filed by date., (accessed January 21, 2018)


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

Washington, D.C. May 31, 1871

My Dear Mr Marsh.

I received your letter of the 5th of May in due course of time, & at once instituted inquiries relative to the points mentioned; namely, whether the right arm is used among the savage peoples of America in preference to the left, as it is among the whites.The inquiries were directed to Prof. Wyman & Mr Geo. Gibbs, both of whom are competent from their experience to speak on this matter. So far, however, I have received no reply from either, & as I expect to leave home in a few days, I write now to say so and that I will address you again whenever any information from them reaches me.

I have acknowledged, I believe, the receipt of the Italian fishery pamphlet you so kindly sent me. I shall be glad to receive any thing, bearing upon that or similar subjects, coming into your possession.

I hope to leave Washington next Saturday for the scene of my Summer's labors, at Wood's Hole, Barnstable County, Mass., & expect to remain there three or four months. In the course of the Summer we hope to have a visit from Carrie Crane, who has greatly endeared herself to our family, & to the seeing of whom we look forward with great pleasure. -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- Her residence is only about 20 or 30 miles from Wood's Hole, & we expect to entice her down to our home by the sea, & I wish you & Mrs Marsh could also visit us, as we hope to have a very good time.

I shall of course, be mainly engaged in prosecuting my official duties as U.S. Commissioner; & to this end, have all possible facilities extended to me. I shall have permanently in the harbor, ready for my service night & day, two small yachts, one with steam, & the other, sail, & can also call upon two larger steamers whenever I desire. All the naturalists in the country are coming down, partly to help me in my work, & partly to get a share of the plunder, in the way of material amongst the immense mass of fish & marine invertebrates that I expect to overhaul. Among those expected are the two Agassiz, Wyman, Verrill, Packard & others.

You gave me a blowing up for not quoting the address when my scientific articles were derived. I hope for pardon for that, when I tell you that I expect hereafter to reproduce every thing written during the year, in the form of an annual, to be published by the Harpers, & in which every reference will be duly made. Of course, by such an authentication & by arranging -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- the articles systematically with suitable indexes, I expect to furnish something so entirely different from the magazine matter, that the possessors of that journal will want the other work beside.

This business has become with me one of considerable importance, & its proceeds constitute an important item in meeting the enormous expenses of living in Washington. My latest en[ter]prise in this line, is, to have completed arrangements for a regular report weekly of the proceedings of the various learned societies in the U.S. & Dominion of Canada, to which I hope to add those of Cuba & Mexico.

Lucy is greatly indebted to you for the autographs you sent her, & hopes, one of these days to thank you in person, & to exhibit the quite appreciable richness of her portfolio.

With much love to Mrs Marsh from all of us, believe me

Sincerely & truly yours,

Spencer F Baird note:Hon. Geo. P. Marsh.U.S. Minister,Florence,Italy

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