History of Taxidermy?

Submitted by T.Baker on 09/17/2002. ( tbaker@porterville.k12.ca,us )

HELP! Next month I have to make several 15 minute presentations to some 4th graders on the history of taxidermy. Can you guide me to any good sites or other sources (maybe even you) of information that would help?
Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!

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Try This

This response submitted by Old Fart on 09/17/2002. ( )

Do a search using "taxidermologist", Steve Rogers has answered questions like this in the past and there probably is something there. BE ADVIZED it may be a bit more involved than you want. No matter what you find it will be informative!

Have lots of props!

This response submitted by The Taxidermologist on 09/17/2002. ( stephen.rogers@attbi.com )

4th graders are prone to having a shorter attention span than teenagers, so I would bring a whole lots of props - tools, books, slides, photos, post cards, skins, skulls, etc.

The books I would recommend, you would need to have access to a serious natural history library in one of only ten localities in the US, or access to one of the collectors of natural history/taxidermy books, of which there are also perhaps a dozen people who do it with fervency and have amassed a substantial collection. Many people collect taxidermy books and think they have a very complete collection, if not the largest in the US, but there are more books/pubs out there than most realize.

There are actually few books that really summarize the history of taxidermy in the world, let alone in the United States. Assuming you would only have access to books written in English, I will attempt to list a few pubs that you should consult. It is only 4th graders that you have to entertain, but I am placing this reference in the Taxidermy.net for future people who ask this general question.

The earliest written records on taxidermy techniques in Engish was only in the mid 1700's, and they were translations from French, and later German. The first reasonably complete text did have some summaries of earlier history of taxidermy, that translated from French by Sarah Bowditch :
(Sarah Wallis Bowdich Lee, Mrs. Robert Lee). 1823. Taxidermy: or The Art of Collecting, Preparing, and Mounting Objects of Natural History, for the use. of Museums and Travellers. Third Edition. Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, London. 168 pp. + 5 Plates.

The second, and presumable original summary written in English (though much information was "borrowed") was by Captain Thomas Brown:
Brown, Capt. Thomas. 1833. The Taxidermist's Manual; or the Art of Collecting, Preparing, and Preserving Objects of Natural History. Designed for the use of Travellers, Conservators of Museums and Private Collectors. A. Fullarton & Co., London and Edinburgh. xii + 150 pp. + 6 Plates.
This publication was printed at least to 28 editions, modified in an American Edition, plagerized directly by at least 4 other publications, etc. but remained a good record of early history of taxidermy. Definitely consult this.

William Swainson wrote the next chronological text of importance:
Swainson, William. 1840. The Cabinet Cyclopedia. Conducted by the Rev. Dionysius Lardner, L.L.D., F.R.S., L & E., M.R.I.A., F.R.A.S., F.L.S., F.Z.S., Hon. F.C.P.S., &c. &c. Assisted by Eminent Literary and Scientific Men. Natural History. Taxidermy, Bibliography, and Biography. Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longmans, London. 392 pp.

The United States first summaries of the history of taxidermy and a compilation of all previous texts on the subject appeared in the publications of the Society of American Taxidermists:
Society of American Taxidermists. 1881. First Annual Report American Taxidermists 1880-81. Daily Democrat and Chronicle Book and Job Print, Rochester, New York. 36 pp. + 3 Plates.

Society of American Taxidermists, William T. Hornaday, Compiler. 1883. Second Annual Report American Taxidermists 1881-82. Judson J. Whitel, Book and Job Printer, Rochester, New York 58 pp.

Society of American Taxidermists, Frederick A. Lucas, Compiler. 1884. Third Annual Report of the Society of American Taxidermists March 24th, 1882, to July 1, 1883. Gibson Bros. Printers, Washington D.C. iii + 127 pp.

Montague Brown had the next history in the second edition of Practical Taxidermy:
Brown, Montague. 1884. Practical Taxidermy: Manual of Instruction to the Amateur in Collecting, Preserving, and Setting up Natural History Specimens of all Kinds. To which is Added a Chapter upon the Pictorial Arrangement of Museums. Second Edition. L. Upcott Gill, London. viii + 354 pp. + 22 pp. Advertisements.
Then added a large bibliography in his later text:
Brown, Montague. 1896. Artistic and Scientific Taxidermy and Modelling. A Manual of Instruction in the Methods of Preserving and Reproducing the Correct Form of All Natural Objects. Including a Chapter on the Modelling of Foliage. Adam and Charles Black, London. xii + 463 pp. + 22 Plates.

The Americans also had a major publication in the 1890's that dealt with history of Taxidermy:
Shufeldt, R. W. 1894. Scientific Taxidermy for Museums (Based on a Study of the United States Government Collections). From the Report of the U.S. National Museum for 1892, Pages 369-436, (With Plates XV-XCVI). Government Printing Office, Washington D. C.

Most of the 20th century didn't have many publications dealing with taxidermy history - but were history themselves. In fact the last 250 years have had hundreds of original publications on the history of museums or history of exhibit techniques, or history of individuals involved in it. There are dozens of books on Charles Willson Peale, perhaps a little over a dozen on Akeley, biographies by James Clark (3), Stoddard, Hornaday (3), Rowland Ward, Waterton (5+), Davie, Rockwell, Jonas, etc. etc. all which can be construed as being Historical. On top of this there are hundreds of magazine articals on taxidermy, exhibits, museums, etc. The best articals in magazines is the two part artical by Rowley 1927 The developement of Museum Taxidermy in Museum Graphic, and any of the Lucas verions The Story of Museum Groups American Museum Natural History Guide book series.

The best recent book dealing with a history of Museums/dioramas is
Wonders, Karen. 1993. Habitat Dioramas. Illusions of Wilderness in Museum of Natural History. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, Fig. Nova Series 25, Upsala, Sweden. 263 pp.

Two recent books in England summarize English taxidermy from the Victorian era:
Frost, Christopher. 1981. Victorian Taxidermy, Its History and Finest Exponents. By Author, Long Medford, England. 48 pp.

Frost, Christopher. 1987. A History of British Taxidermy. By Author, The Enchanted Aviary, Lavenham, Suffolk, England. vi + 157 pp.

All old catalogues, price lists, and books are historical, ans important to use.

The best historical web cite, bar none, is by a friend of mine in England who runs Two Hoots Taxidermy. It is linked to this site through the opening page on taxidermists web pages. I have catalogued perhaps a few dozen taxidermy information sites on the web that deal with taxidermy - use good search engines and it is amazing what is out there.

For your talk, I would suggest you concentrate on a natural history museum near you and explore the history of its' taxidermy/exhibits department. The LA county of Cal Academy Museums in California (if that is where you are from) could generate a whole lecture with no real problem.

Good luck with your talk!

LA County OR Cal Academy

This response submitted by Lousy typer on 09/17/2002. ( sorry )

Faux pax

What's a faux got to do with it

This response submitted by cur on 09/17/2002. ( )

Unless the faux is in the henhouse, it is causing no harm. Stephen is a student of the history of taxidermy par non!

I have only been around the field since the end of the recent ice age and cannot help you beyond that era.

It was kind of Stephen to step up to the plate and take time from his busy schedule to assist Mr(s?) Baker.

Faux pas my gluteous maximus.

Which came first? Taxidermy,George Roof, or Bill Gaither

This response submitted by another wrinkle rancher on 09/17/2002. ( )

It's been a long struggle for all three!

Twas me

This response submitted by The lousy typer on 09/17/2002. ( )

And it is faux pas : definition - a social blunder; a tactless act or remark; a breech of good manners.

I had to attend a meeting and couldn't check what I typed, and realized I typed "of" instead of "or". The Cal Academy would want to be considered separate than the LA County, and vice versa, thus the faux pas. In recent postings I have see people refer to the Chicago American Museum of Natural History, and also James L. Clark of the Field Museum of Natural History. These are also Faux pas. In this instance I just wanted to set the record straight.
The Taxidermologist


This response submitted by cur on 09/17/2002. ( wildart )

I knew what fox paws were all along. A faux pas is like farting in front of your date's mom when first you meet. (Of course, if she smiles and returns the function in kind, then the faux pas would be relegated to a social/gender order thing....Meaning that you should probably let the lady pass gas first as things go.....I suppose. Or, perhaps a faux pas would be calling your mother-in-law, "Ole horse-face" when you really meant to think and not say the words.

Using the wrong name when referring to an agency or institution is not in itself a faux pas. Introducing a member of an institution and using the wrong name for his facility, like introducing Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson as the head of the American Islamic Society - now THAT is a real fox paw.


This response submitted by buckshot on 09/17/2002. ( )

damn funny real god-damn funny.thats gospol if i ever heered it

C'mon guys!

This response submitted by Miss Love on 09/18/2002. ( slightlyholoierthanthou.org )

It's "Faux Paws" (Foster's Faux Paws to be exact!)

Cur, the fox marks on your butt MAY be considered complimentary!

Since it isn't May though... I'll just call ya "Divit"...



This response submitted by T.Baker on 09/18/2002. ( )

Whoa there! I only have 15 minutes. Looks like I'll have to ask for more time so I can incorporate all of this for these forth graders! I'm sure their life would be empty not knowing about faux pas et al.


Geez, heck!

This response submitted by ragtyme on 11/24/2002. ( )

Geez wild art. I always thought faux pas was the wine & cigarette break I took during copulation. Thanks for clearing up the matter.

Senior Project

This response submitted by Jeremiah Lott on 01/21/2003. ( Jlott@mail.d271.k12.id.us )

I have to do a research paper on the history of taxidermy for my senior project, and I was wondering where I could find lots of info to help me out.

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