Chicago, William Stimpson, Chicago Academy Of Sciences discussed on After Hours with Rick Kogan
You must run out and get or order online, William Stimpson, and the golden age of American natural history. It's published by northern Illinois university press. It is written by run. Vassil. V. A S. I L E and it contains this about the scientists. I love this. From a letter, the references to alcohol or typical of Stimpson's letters of the period, nearly all the club members drink. And Stimpson seems to have Sumed more than his share you give for a guy who didn't have a lot of newspaper clippings. You didn't have documentary film you. You really in thirty years you bring him to life to me. And you also bring Chicago to life. He had a coming back from the journey in his first sort of. Job. But his first prominent place was at the Smithsonian where he was instrumental in laying the foundation of that amazing wasn't. So he came back from that north Pacific expedition really starved for scientific companionship. Yeah, he actually compared life on board ship to like a being in prison because a lot of the shirt was a lot of the officers had no respect for what he was doing. They did not like him because he was so young. And so they gave him a hard time. So when he came back to Washington, that's where all the specimens were sent. And he rented a house in a basically started renting rooms to other naturalists because Sonian in Washington was a was a kind of a central point for bringing collections. And so he started renting rooms to people and formed, what was called the mega Therion club, where they did some drinking where it was basically a club where they get together and. Drink and eat after a long day's work. They would go out and chase women. They talk about going to all the different wait a minute. Scientists chase women. That's unbelievable to me. I'm joking and later on this club actually lived at the Smithsonian during the civil war. So the head of the Smithsonian also lived in the building, and he had three daughters. And Stimson was definitely chasing after a couple of them, we know this from his letters that he was writing to his friends. So it was it was almost like an animal house type it sounds like the neighbors complain about them, because they're drinking and singing and having a good time, so, yes, naturalists are not just this very stayed knew who knew who knew he, then he of you do such a nice job of. And again, we'll go back to the beginning where the reason run Vescio got to know. This guy is when he was the among the founding. Ding fathers of the Chicago academy of sciences where run worked for some years with our mutual friend, Joel Greenberg. That is now it's at the foot of Armitage in the park. It's now, the main offices of Lincoln park zoo, you do a wonderful job, Mr. vessel of in Chicago. I read a lot of books about Chicago. You also write in here. Known today for its world class museums in eighteen sixty seven call the head nothing remotely worthy of the term. When people heard the word museum, they probably thought of Colonel woods museum, which was I don't know. We describe it to me, like a p t Barnum, they did fiasco productions. They did comedy. He had some specimens had live animals would bring elephants. So that, that's what people thought of in Chicago as museum before the Chicago academy science. And when he began this, how was he able to do it was at force of wheel? I mean he's certainly was smart. Well, actually Sokoto. There were number of mid western academy of sciences, eighteen forties and fifties. There was this movement, where people are becoming interested in organizing together for science, and Chicago is the only one to provide enough funding for a fulltime scientists and that was because there were a small group of flannel office. Who put up the money for this academy of sciences. Where was it initially the building the quote unquote, fireproof building was at Wabash near van Buren, so right downtown. And it was a going concern. One of the, the and he was charged with filling the planet. He was in charge of displaying and filling and. What would would've been like to walk in there? Eighteen seventy eighteen seventy one early in eighteen seventy well the goal initially was to together up as many specimens as possible to try to get the people of Chicago interested in actual history support this organization, and real challenges with that because Kaga was very much focused on money, money, money. Oh later on. It's going to be called hustler town. Well, it's out as well. Things change. Sadly, and they're also so many immigrants in Chicago in eighteen seventy. So it was a challenge, trying to get people to, to comment support the museum they had missed it on skeletons. They had collections really from all over the world on display. And then, of course, Cobra eighteen seventy one there's a fire that not only destroys the building. But destroys virtually all of these specimens that he had put in the building. You do. It's tragic in your book. I find it you know it's supposed to cry at the end. Yes. Then they go back to where he was getting loaded his project, private club. You can balance the fun with the, there's something thing sad about it. Because you realize the, the, the thing that said is you realize, okay, wait a minute. This guy's only as late thirties. So maybe he will resurrect is going, another trip. Do all sorts of stuff, then he dies. Which sort of? Aces, the tragedy for me what he di- of data Turkey. Lows is the leading cause of death in the nineteenth century. And he died back on the east coast. So what happened was the fire. They had the entire Smithsonian collection of marine invertebrates were loaned to him, the Illinois state collection of museums were loan to the kademi, because they have this, quote unquote, fireproof building opened in January of eighteen sixty eight and so he was telling everyone, you know, you can loan things here and you can store things here, they'll be perfectly safe from fire gone. And he actually lost from a three fires and his life. There's a fire at the Smithsonian where he lost specimens was a fire at the original academy in eighteen sixty six where they lost about half the specimens, and they lost everything in the great yoga fire. He must've been immunity almost thinking was to Burke Yetlis, but you almost think he could have died of a broken heart, and that's what some of the contemporary counts talk about so not only where all those specimens there. But he had a series of unpublished manuscript that back in the days before the copy machines, literally three manuscripts that would have made him famous Amos and they were all. Completely incinerated. So not only the specimens that those manuscripts based on, but the manuscripts themselves run this, this is really a remarkable book. You know, you're, you're a teacher now of history us history and anthropology Lockport township high school. And I know it took thirty years and that may be why your wife thinks this guy looks like art Carney, and I think he looks she's probably been living with Brody seen this picture. You my wife, the book, is that equated to her. I saw that. If not for her, you know, helping take care of the kids. Yeah. So thank you, Jennifer. It's tough, Jennifer. It's tough to be the wife of an author a, but you can be very proud of your husband, the book, again, is William Stimpson, and the golden age of American natural history is a real Chicago book to believe me, Ron seal, the last name is V. A S. I L E. It is a pleasure to know you run, and I wanna thank Joel Greenberg, for hooking us up as they say, thank you for having me. And maybe I can cite a figure out some way to get a story about this guy this guy, just fascinates me. And also he was married. He had a kid had three children. The guy did it. He's, he's someone who people should know about. He really should. I agree. Thanks important. Figure in Chicago history to thank you. Save drive home. Will teach you to stop smoking after the news here, the sounds.