Letter from GEORGE PERKINS MARSH to SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD, dated October 10, 1848.
If Bartlett & Welford of New York, or more especially the Rev. R. W. Griswold late of Phila, but now, as I believe, of New York, can't tell you where to find the Periodicals you want, no man can. I presume they are in the Library of Congress, & they must also be to be found in the Boston Athaenaum, & in the public libraries in Phila. Catalogues of public libraries I have none. Inquire also at the Society Lib in New York. You'll have no trouble with Danish, but the way of studying you propose is naught. Don't begin with analogies. If you do, by & by you'll find you can't tell what is what, & when you think you are speaking German, you'll me makking Dansk. You can get dictionaries c through Garrigue. Study the language per se, & the analogies will come fast enough to embarrass you, without being sought.
Dutch can be learned by a Danish & German scholar in a month. I'll lend you a
dictionary & grammar & bring them when I
come. In the mean time, order through Garrigue, Enige Bladzyden uit het Boek der Natuer, door H. Conscience. He can get it from Antwerp in six weeks. Conscience is a distinguished Flemish writer of works of fiction, and stylist. He is a purist, and is now engaged on a book to be called Wonderspiegel der Natuer, a popular view of natural history, one of the objects of which is to show and illustrate the capacity of the language for scientific nomenclature and description. The Bladzyden is a feeler for this purpose, and contains his terminology. Get also some of his novels, if you will, as Lambrecht Heusman, Hoe men Schilder wordt, c Aren't you glad about our mammoth? No Hydrarchos, nor any such gammon. Tooth really elephantine, vertical laminae, and all that. I rejoice with you over Prof. Henry's willfahrigkeit in the matter of your tractates. Give Mary my love, and ditto to the Saugling, if it is old enough to understand the message.
Yours trulyG. P. Marsh
References in this letter:
Charles Rudolph Garrigue, a New York publisher, obtained the plates to F. A. Brockhaus's Bilder Atlas zum Conversations Lexicon (Leipzig) with the intention of republishing them with an English text. Marsh suggested that Baird translate and revise the work. It was a massive undertaking on which Baird spent four years. Published in 1852 as The Iconographic Encyclopedia of Science, Literature, and Art, it established Baird's reputation.
Henrik Coscience. Enige Bladzyden uit het Bok der Natuer. Antwerp, 1846.