Letter from SPENCER FULLERTON BAIRD and MARY CHURCHILL BAIRD to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated December 21, 1872.
My Dear Mr Marsh.
I am in the receipt of your letter, & proceeded to make the inquiries you
desired in reference to the Gettysburg water. I find that druggists in Washington do
not think much of it. It was very much advertised, & great efforts were made
to push it a year or two ago, but very little is sold or even kept in this City.
Indeed, I found no gruggist who had it at all, but was referred to a grocer who was
said to keep it. The amount of mineral matter in the water is so exceedingly
trifling that its presence is not appreciable to the taste, this being more like
that of good, fresh, pure Spring water than anything else. The most important
ingredient in it is said to be lithia, but the quantity is so extremely slight that
a good chemist told me he found it impossible to determine its presence even by
means of the spectroscope. I can, therefore, give very little
encouragement of its being of any use, at any rate, as bottled. Parties who have gone to the Springs & taken it by the hogshead claim to have been benefitted in some respect; but even among these there is a contradiction of opinon. They put the water up in quart bottles, which are sold at the rate of $2 a case of two dozen each. The dose is a wine glass two or three times a day; & if you take a quart at a time I am told it does not hurt one.
I will try to obtain a pamphlet detailing its virtues, & send to you. For this I must write to Philadelphia.
Lucy received the photographs you were so kind as to send her & has enjoyed their examination very much. The others that you speak of will also be very welcome to her, Greeleyite or no Greeleyite. They have been a great consolation to her in her defeat!
Please let me know the expense of these articles, & whether there is any one here to whom I can pay it, or whether I shall send it to Italy.
We are all well & working a head about in our usual style. As is customary I have plenty to do & never feel at a loss as to my next ooccupation. I am now printing my book on the Birds of North America, my Report on the Fisheries, & a second volume of my Annual Record of Science & Industry, to say nothing of numerous minor occupations that serve to fill in the chinks.
Dr Hayden has returned, bringing with him some magnificent new pictures of mountain scenery, & I presume he will do himself the favor of sending you another set. He was greatly pleased with your letter, & has carried it about in his pocket till nearly worn out. With much love to Mrs Marsh from all of us, believe me
Sincerely Yours.Spencer F Baird
Hon. George P. Marsh
My dear Mr. Marsh,
I meant to add largely to this letter, but neuralgia is stronger than I, today, & I can only contribute a mite, to tell you of our continued love for you & your dear wife -- Spencer has given you no idea, on the other pages, how hard he is working, & he tries to keep us all going at the same pace -- Lucy even has her share to do -- I hope the fishes & the birds & all the creatures of creation & science are the better for our labors -- Lucy has enjoyed the photographs, as very few girls would. She has tomes from the Congressional Library, & is studying the pciture galleries of Europe, which she says she shall never see, just from sheer cowardness in regard to the dangers of the sea. By procuring these photographs for her you have given her hours of pleasure & profit, & she thanks you very much for your kindness. She is not very strong this winter, & likes to curl up on the library sofa, & travel -- We all send love & affection & Christmas greetings to you & to dear Mrs. Marsh.
Yours affy. Mary H. C. Baird.
References in this letter:
Lucy Hunter Baird, 1848-1913, the only child of Spencer Fullerton and Mary Helen Churchill Baird. She shared her father's interests in the natural world. As a child, Lucy had, as a pet, a large black snake, whose tail touched the ground when held by Lucy, sitting on her father's shoulders. It was her memoirs and reminisces which formed the majority of the William H. Dall biography of her father.
Horace Greeley (1811-1872), founder and editor of the New York Tribune, was opposed to the severe Reconstruction measures of the Radical Republicans.
Spencer Fullerton Baird, Thomas Mayo Brewer and Robert Ridgway, A History of North American Birds. Land Birds. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, 1874.
United States. Bureau of Fisheries.United States Commission of fish and fisheries. Part I. Report on the condition of the sea fisheries of the south coast of New England in 1871 and 1872.. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1873.
Annual Record of Science & Industry 1871-1878. 8 vols. New York, Harper & Bros., 1872-1879. This series was a continuation of the Annual of Scientific Discovery. Baird edited the publication with the assistance of eminent scientists of the day.
The geologist Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden (1829-1887) was head of the U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories from 1867 to 1879.