Finders, Keepers: Eight Collectors

Finders, Keepers: Eight Collectors

by Stephen Jay Gould, Rosamond W. Purcell
     
 

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A few that did survive have fallen, figuratively, into the clutches of two of America's most innovative minds: photographer Rosamond Wolff Purcell and paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. What these collections say about the collectors, and about human beings in general, is the subject of this strangely beautiful and rich compendium. Here are Purcell's wonderfully

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Overview

A few that did survive have fallen, figuratively, into the clutches of two of America's most innovative minds: photographer Rosamond Wolff Purcell and paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. What these collections say about the collectors, and about human beings in general, is the subject of this strangely beautiful and rich compendium. Here are Purcell's wonderfully exotic photographs of teeth and other human artifacts from the collection of Peter the Great; moles, pigs, and dogs from van Heurn's many boxes of perfectly preserved skins; and all manner of preserved life from Rothschild's Birds of Paradise to the fish of Agassiz. Here also is Gould at his best, delighting in the unusual and making connections to our own history and evolution that only the most fertile and whimsical mind could imagine - and that few will be able to resist. This is a book for those with a craving for beauty, knowledge, and a fascination with the unusual.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Purcell's color photographs of historic collections of taxidermy, fossils and other exotic artifacts are accompanied by an essay by Gould. (Jan.)
William Beatty
For their second striking combination of Purcell's beautiful photographs and Gould's provocative text (the first was "Illuminations" ), the pair consider eight collectors, whom they discuss on the bases of what they collected and what kind of people they were. Among the eight are both the great--naturalist Louis Agassiz and czar Peter the Great--and the obscure--Dutch local biologist Willem van Heurn and amateur paleontologist Mary Anning. The items they collected run from outre preparations of human fetuses (don't gaze at these unless you have a strong stomach) to such more usual but outstandingly exemplified specimens as fossilized ammonites, a mind-boggling battalion of European moles' skins, a collection of braincasts (most housed in cigar boxes), and birds of paradise carcasses and details. The assembling of the materials in Peter the Great's Wunderkammern, many of them the anatomical preparations done by Frederick Ruysch, opens the book and sets the stage for the other collectors, each with his or her personal quirks and scientific (or nonscientific) approaches and methods. A worthy companion to its award-winning predecessor.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393030549
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
09/17/1992
Edition description:
1st Edition
Pages:
155
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 11.40(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology at Harvard University. He published over twenty books, received the National Book and National Book Critics Circle Awards, and a MacArthur Fellowship.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 10, 1941
Date of Death:
May 20, 2002
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Place of Death:
Boston, Massachusetts
Education:
B.S., Antioch College, 1963; Ph.D., Columbia University, 1967

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