Primary tabs

Page: of 2
Download: PDF (13.28 MiB)
Publication InformationSpencer F. Baird,Commissioner.United States Commission, Fish and Fisheries,Newport, R.I., July 27, 1880.

Page 1

Dear Mr Marsh.

I am in receipt of your letter of the 7 of July, & shall at once carry out your suggestion of asking the State Department to give you the necessary instructions in reference to the acquisition of the Pompeian relics.

Mr Goode has just come back from Berlin. He was treated with immense consideration by every one & had a very good time. We took our full share of all the prizes, apart from the acquisition of the Emperors Epergne. As you suggest, I shall not care to keep it in my house; but expect to have it as one of the trophies of the Fish Commission, in the National Museum.

As prices go for such things I do not see why Mr Story cannot make a standing

Page 2

statue in bronze for $15,000. If he does not accept the trust it will be necessary to get permission from Congress to transfer the offer to somebody else, but at present no one can do the work buth Mr Story, his name having been introduced in the Bill by Senator Morrill.

We have been in Newport several weeks, & are daily expecting our new Steamer, the Fish Hawk to carry on our Scientific work. We are making immense collections of zoological objects in this coast, a goodly share of which we have already presented to Italian institutions at Genoa, Florence, & elsewhere.

With love to Mrs Marsh & yourself, from all of us, I remain

Sincerely yours.Spencer F BairdHon. Geo. P. Marsh.U.S. Minister,Rome,Italy.

References in this letter:

In the 1860s Baird had became concerned about the decline of Atlantic fish populations. In a 1870 report to the House Committee on Appropriations he suggested the appointment of a Fish Commissioner to direct research into the problem. President Grant appointed Baird the first director of the newly formed U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries in 1871.

An ichthyologist, George Brown Goode (1851-1896) worked with Baird as assistant director of the U.S. National Museum. He succeeded Baird as museum curator (1887-1888) and on the U.S. Commission on Fish which he directed from the time of Baird's death until his own.

An International Fishery Exhibition was held in Berlin in April, 1880.

The Emperor of Germany awarded Baird an elaborate silver trophy at the International Fisheries Exhibition of 1880 held in Berlin. It is now shown with the Centennial Exposition in the Arts and Industries Building.

William Wetmore Story (1819-1895), a graduate of Harvard Law School, eventually left the law for sculpture, settling in Rome. Two of his most famous pieces, both reflecting an interest in exotic subjects, are "Cleopatra" (1858) and "The Libyan Sibyl" (1861).

A native of Strafford, Vermont, Justin Smith Morrill (1810-1898), was a Whig who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1855 to 1867 and the U.S. Senate from 1867 until his death in 1898. He was the author of the great land grant bill that bears his name and became law in 1862. Morrill was a Smithsonian Regent (1865-1898) and a trustee of the University of Vermont (1865-1898).