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Letter from SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated October 31, 1881.

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Title: Letter from SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated October 31, 1881.


  • 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 October 31, 1881., Original located at the University of Vermont's Special Collections in the George Perkins Marsh Collection, filed by date., (accessed January 23, 2018)

Letter from SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated October 31, 1881.

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

Spencer F. Baird,
United States Commission, Fish and Fisheries,
Washington, D.C., Oct 31., 1881

Dear Mr Marsh:

I have just received your "fishy" letter of Oct. 12, and have read it with great interest.

As far as the swallow tate is concerned, I have of course heard it before, and have received from my informants equally veracious assurances that the swallows, after going into the ponds in winter, turn into frogs. All stages of the transformation have been seen by many reputable witnesses. I expect that the tail is the most difficult thing to get rid of. It can be proved, however, that the swallows do not -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- all go into the water or turn into frogs, as some of them, at least, go south, appearing in large quantities in the West Indies, Mexico and South America.

I see no improbability in the eel story, except the size which is rather a large measure.

I have been in correspondence with Mr Story and Mr Price, the latter being the U.S. Consul at Leghorn, in regard to the samples of building and ornamental stones for our great collection in the National Museum: both gentlemen promise hearty assistance. If it comes in your way to obtain and send to us, either through Mr Price or anybody else, specimens of any ancient buildings, in such a form that we can work them up -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- into four-inch cubes, I will be glad to get them. Of course, the philosophical way to determine the durability of stone is to take samples which have been exposed for centuries in public buildings, and then to study minutely their physical and chemical properties, obtaining thereby some facts which in the case of untried material would be applicable. If the stones still retain any portion of the original face, of course, so much the better.

We are making up a great many special exhibits that cannot fail to be of great educational value. In addi- -------------------------------- Page -------------------------------- tion to the building-stones we have one of the materia medica, one of chemical products; one of paints, oils and dyes; one of foods; one of the derivatives, with their applications, from tar and petroleum; to say nothing of textile substances and fabrics in all stages of construction.

Our new building promises to be admirably adapted for such displays, and being equivalent in size to a Smithsonian edifice, 2000 feet long, you can imagine what chances we have for exhibition purposes.

We returned a few weeks ago from our summer sojourn at Wood's Holl, Mass; where we have been carrying on the work of the -------------------------------- Page --------------------------------Fish Commission. We have found on the edge of the Gulf Stream, about one hundred (100) miles from shore, a most wonderful fauna, vastly exceeding in richness and extent anything known to science. New species of aquatic animals by the hundreds have rewarded our efforts, including also a very valuable food-fish of immense size and abundance, and previously entirely unknown.

Mary and Lucy send warmest love to you and Mrs Marsh.

Yours sincerely

Spencer F Baird
Hon. Geo. P. Marsh
U.S. Minister

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