Letter from SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated August 23, 1867.
My Dear Mr. Marsh
Your letter of July 26. was forwarded to me here, and I hasten to report what I have
done in the matter of the humming bird. I gave the order to John G Bell of New York,
who you probably are aware is best taxidermist, and he promises to do
his best. I believe I wrote you that Bell has been actively engaged in furnishing
live animals to the menageries and vizaria of the King of Italy, and that the King
had invited him to visit Italy. He is also a correspondent and friend of Count
Castiglione, and talks of going to Florence in September or October. If he does he
will take the birds with him and deliver personally. His own proposition is to take
several pairs and let you make your own selection. I have advised [him] to select
our typical North American
Ruby throated hummer, as "neat and not gaudy" but you can have those of more brilliant plumage if you prefer I would like a little fuller explanation of your ideas as to character of bird, etc. but as there will not be time for this before Bell leaves, I will adopt the ideas mentioned above. I will five Bell a letter to you if he goes. He is a genuine American, and [will] not be nonplussed by anything he may see in Florence.
I have made no bargain as to price but Bell will act honestly in the matter.
We are all doing well here and send much love to you and Mrs Marsh
Sincerely YoursS. F. BairdHon. G. P. MarshFlorenceItaly