Synopses & Reviews
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.
Most of us collect things, but seldom have entire collections been preserved.
About 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.