Autograph draft of letter to Alexander Graham Bell. William T. Hornaday.

Autograph draft of letter to Alexander Graham Bell

Publisher Information: 1906.

Hornaday, William Temple (1854-1937). Autograph draft in ink and pencil, unsigned, with numerous emendations, to Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922). 4 pp. on 3 sheets, on letterhead of the New Willard Hotel in Washington DC. Washington DC, 3 December 1906. 265 x 202 mm. 2 small marginal tears, small rust-stains from paper clips on first leaf, but very good.

From William Temple Hornaday, zoologist, conservationist and the first director of the New York Zoological Park (now known as the Bronx Zoo), to inventor Alexander Graham Bell in Bell’s capacity as a trustee of the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents, nominating zoologist William Jacob Holland (1848-1932) to fill the post of Secretary left vacant on the retirement of Samuel Pierpoint Langley. In choosing Langley’s successor, Hornaday urged the Smithsonian to follow the example of America’s industrial magnates:

"The American nation is now preeminent in international politics and policies, in mechanical industries, and in agriculture. There are many reasons why our national scientific institutions should be equally preeminent . . . Today the Board of Regents is seeking a scientific captain of industry who will be competent to plan a new future, and carry those plans into effect . . . On selecting great captains of industry, it is the way of the business world to look first of all for experience, and the expert knowledge which long experience alone can give . . . Inasmuch as the American people expect that the National Museum shall be preeminent in zoology, the logic of the situation seems to call for the selection of a zoologist. Amongst our scientific men who may justly be regarded as available for the vacant secretaryship, I know of one only who is a general zoologist, thoroughly experienced in museum-building, and also is of sufficient scientific and literary stature to meet the requirements of the situation. That man is William J. Holland, Ph.D. and LL.D. now director of the Carnegie Museum, of Pittsburgh . . ."

The Smithsonian’s board ended up choosing geologist Charles Doolittle Walcott to fill the post. Holland remained director of the Carnegie Museum until his retirement in 1922.

Book Id: 46172

Price: $300.00

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