Huntington history of science curator Dan Lewis has written a compelling account of the study of birds at the end of the nineteenth century, using Smithsonian Curator of Birds Robert Ridgway as the lens through which he examines Ridgway and his contentious, passionate colleagues. This feathery tribe had goals that intersected, collided and occasionally merged in their writings and organizations. Driven by a desire to advance science, as well as by ego, pride, honor, insecurity, religion and other clashing sensibilities, they struggled to absorb the implications of evolution after Darwin. In the process, they dramatically reshaped the study of birds.
In writing the book, Lewis relied heavily on the Huntington Library's rare materials, including books and letters by Ridgway and his circle; books on color theory; and a wide range of materials into which he delved deeply and meticulously to tell the fullest story possible about this group and their impact on modern science.
"Lewis's account draws deeply and meticulously from a vast assortment of primary sources. As a museum curator himself, he insightfully highlights the values of objectsthat is, the mortal remains of birds as vital sources and the history and values of natural history museum. Lewis's voice is enthusiastic, straightforward, and sometimes even playful." Julianne Lutz Warren, Environmental History
"The Feathery Tribe introduces an important scientist along with his professional coterie and their struggles to establish ornithology in America . . . Lewis demonstrates the considerable value of scientific biography as historians continue to explore the significance of the field sciences to the history of science." Frederick R. Davis, Isis
- 368 pages
- 9 4/5 x 6 2/5 x 1 1/5"
- Author: Daniel Lewis
- Published by Yale University Press
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