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Item Description

Title: Letter from SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated June 13, 1881.


  • 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 June 13, 1881., Original located at the University of Vermont's Special Collections in the George Perkins Marsh Collection, filed by date., (accessed December 16, 2017)


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

Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, D.C., June 12, 1881.

Dear Mr Marsh.

Among the special exhibits that we are bringing together in the new National Museum, is one of the building stones of North America, such as we can obtain from every portion of the Country & of which the collection promises to very complete, as it is based particularly upon the gatherings of a special census agent, of the building stones, & who has fifteen or twenty trained geologists visiting different quarries & collecting specimens. Of these, a hundred frequently come in, in a single day. They are arranged to be cut down to four inch cubes, each face dressed differently, one of them, however being finely polished. From present indications there will not be less than four or five thousand samples, perhaps more, of every variety of building stone. In this Collection, Vermont is especially well represented, every quarry having its series of samples , & among them is a very fine block of statuary marble from one of the Rutland quarries.

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We are now very desirous of obtaining a series of samples of Italian marbles, especially those used for statuary purposes, such as will illustrate the first & second qualities of the Carrara marble, and also & those from Paros & Mount Pentelicus & any others, used in Italy by artists. We would like these for the purpose of comparing their physical & microscopical properties with the American & judging of their relationships. I think that such a series would be of the utmost possible value in our inquiries, & I hope you may be able to put us in the way of obtaining them. They need not be dressed or trimmed, but simply blocked out in the rough so as to cut down to the proper size. If possible, besides these, we would like one of each kind that will cut a 12 inch cube also.

I am quite willing to pay the rough money value of the specimens, or to make exchanges of American building stones, ores, or any specimens of natural history that we can furnish from our vast stock of duplicates. The specimens should be sent to us by any convenient mode of transmission, addressed to the Smithsonian Institution, care of the Collector of Customs, New York.

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With kindest regards to Mrs Marsh from all of us, believe me,

Sincerely Yours,

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

P.S. We expect to test the crushing force of our samples, as also to make thin slices for microscopic investigation.

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