Contents tagged with founder's week
Created: 1/22/2015 Updated: 8/8/2016
Last week we celebrated our 158th birthday, this week we’re recognizing one of the founder who made it all possible. Dr. Edmund Andrews died on this day in 1904. Andrews was born in Vermont and expressed interest in botany and geology from an early age. Although he soon turned his professional focus to medicine, this love remained with him. He studied medicine at the University of Michigan, and became demonstrator of anatomy and professor of comparative anatomy. He became a published author and had his essays featured in medical journals. It was this work that then brought him to settle in Chicago.
Although he was a practicing surgeon, during his off-hours he returned to his love of nature. It was in his offices that the original members of what was to later become the Chicago Academy of Sciences began to meet. When the Academy was formalized in 1857, Andrews was named Curator of the Academy. By the time Robert Kennicott took over the position in 1863, Andrews had co-founded the Chicago Medical College, and had been appointed Surgeon in Chief of Camp Douglas. Although his medical work kept him occupied professionally, he still remained involved with the Academy. His interest in geology and glacial history led him to publish some of his findings in the Transactions of the Chicago Academy of Sciences, and he served as the President of the Board of Trustees for a number of terms and through some of its toughest years.
While we recognized and remember Dr. Edmund Andrews for his work with the Academy, he truly made a name for himself as a pioneering surgeon. To learn more about his contributions to the world of medicine, check out the links below.View Comments
Created: 1/14/2015 Updated: 8/8/2016
We are having a party this week! The Chicago Academy of Sciences was founded on January 13, 1857 and was the first science museum in Chicago. Our collections served as the nucleus for the organization of our institution and preserve our natural heritage. These specimens, artifacts, and associated documents are used as primary source material for environmental studies and historical research. To celebrate our birthday, we’ve brought out specimens from the museum collections that aren’t typically on display.
One question we are often asked is, “What is the oldest specimen in our collection?” The oldest specimen in our museum collection, in terms of when it was collected, are two Merlins collected in the Rocky Mountains in 1834 by J.R. Townsend. That's right -- bird specimens that are 182 years old! One of these is on display.
Falco columbarius richardsonii
Collected by J.R. Townsend, July 9, 1834
CAS ORN 1848 (old 11426)
Fossils, though, have the award for oldest in terms of when they were created! This "Tully Monster" fossil is from the Mazon Creek area, right here in Illinois, and is approximately 307 million years old.
Mazon Creek Area, Will Co., Illinois
Francis Creek Shale (Carboniferous, 307 MYA)
Donated by Earth Science Club of Illinois, 2013
The Academy’s museum collection includes spectacular geology specimens from the Midwest and locations across North America. These specimens help illustrate how rocks and minerals are used in our society.
No other data
Gilsonite (“natural Asphalt”)
Uintahite variety Asphaltum
Frisco County, Utah
Received from George H. Laflin
CAS GEO 1493
Gold and Silver Ore
Leadville, Lake Co., Colorado
No other data
From geysers at Yellowstone Park, Wyoming
Received from Mrs. E.E. Atwater, c1872
CAS GEO 1
Received from Frank C. Baker, c1920
CAS GEO 515
Rivers in Illinois have changed considerably over the last 200 years and pollution has severely impacted many native species of clams, mussels, and snails. Introduced species, such as Quagga and Zebra mussels, are making an appearance in our waters as well.
Glenwood Park, Fox River, Illinois
Collected by Academy, Sept. 7, 1908
CAS MAL 22356
Collected by W.W. Calkins, c1890
CAS MAL 1803
London Docks, England
CAS MAL 12780
Fullerton Beach, Chicago, Cook Co., Illinois
Collected by Academy, July 9, 2013
This plant specimen from our botanic collection was collected by Floyd Swink, a prominent botanist who co-authored "Plants of the Chicago Region." In 2013, Gerould Wilhelm, Swink's coauthor, visited our collections facility to review some of our plant specimens and annotated several, including this one. These “conversations” left by researchers who utilize our collection adds to the scientific knowledge of those specimens.
Antennaria parlinii parlinii
Palos Park, Cook Co., Illinois
Collected by Floyd A. Swink, May 17, 1952
Annotated by Gerould Wilhelm in 2013
CAS BOT 3775.1
Other specimens from our ornithology collection are also on display.
Blue Jay ♂
Mount Forest, Cook Co., Illinois
Collected by B.T. Gault, January 9, 1890
CAS ORN 15859
Peregrine Falcon ♂
Falco peregrines tundrius
Collinson Point, Alaska
Collected by Chas. D. Brower, July 1934
CAS ORN 7862
Peregrine Falcon ♂
No other data
Steve Sullivan, our Curator of Urban Ecology, studies squirrels and manages Project Squirrel. Locally in the Chicago area, we primarily have Grey and Fox squirrels. This species is found in the Southwest.
Abert’s Squirrel ♂
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Collected by a Park Ranger, June 1965
CAS MAM 4519
It is important to document species even if they’re not flashy or colorful. This one drawer of moths from our entomology collection contains species in the same subfamily, Catocalinae, that were found from across North America and span almost 80 years!
Collected from: AZ, CA, FL, IA, IL, IN,
LA, MO, NM, NY, OK, PA, TN, TX, UT
Collected between 1898 to 1976
Our herpetology collection, which includes amphibians and reptiles, is largely preserved in an ethyl alcohol solution. These salamanders were collected in Indiana.View Comments
Northern Slimy Salamander
Turkey Run, Parke Co., Indiana
Collected by W.L. Necker, May 30, 1932
CAS HERP 1472-1479
Our display is located in the Beecher Lab in Wilderness Walk hall. Come visit the Nature Museum, see these marvelous specimens in person, and help us celebrate our natural heritage!
Created: 1/17/2014 Updated: 8/9/2016
Chicago native and ornithologist Dr. William Beecher becomes the Academy’s Director. He holds this position for 24 years.
Dr. William Beecher works on background for a diorama.
From the Chicago Academy of Sciences Archives, Photography Collection.
Junior Academy of Sciences formed for middle and high school children, to provide additional learning opportunities for young people in science studies and research.
Beecher implements redesign of exhibit spaces, including opening of the third floor of the Laflin building to the public.
Paul G. Heltne, PhD, zoologist and primatologist, is appointed Director of the Academy. He holds this position until 1999.
An Education Department is formally established at the Academy, although education has been a primary focus of the institution since the 1910s.
Museum sponsors “Understanding Chimpanzees Symposium,” welcoming primatologists from all over the world, including well-known Jane Goodall, and providing public attendance to portions of the symposium as well.
For the first time since 1951, the endangered Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrines, successfully produces eggs that hatch on a ledge of a downtown Chicago office building. Mary Hennen, Collections Manager/Assistant with the Academy, worked on the Peregrine Falcon Monitoring Program while at the Academy and conducted research. She took this project with her, when she left the Academy to work at the Field Museum of Natural History.
Juvenile Peregrine falcon
Fall - Pilot programs for Science on the Go! began. This program, still active today, provides training and resources for kindergarten through eighth grade educators in teaching science through more hands-on lessons and cooperative learning.
Jon D. Miller, Vice President of the Academy, establishes the Center for the Advancement of Scientific Literacy under the auspices of the Academy.
The Academy initiated plans for an addition at the Laflin building to expand and modify it to provide more room for exhibition, collections storage, and office space. The Chicago Park District who owns the land on which the Laflin building rests, disallowed expansion, citing the need to limit construction in park areas to ensure the continuation of park lands for future generations as dictated by their original charter. At the same time, the Lincoln Park Zoo also began looking to expand their operations. The Chicago Park District offered the Academy the opportunity to build a new museum building on the site of the Park District’s North Shops Maintenance Facilities in exchange for transferring the Academy’s Laflin building to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Today the Laflin Building is used by the Lincoln Park Zoo as administration offices.
June 4 - Academy closed to the public to begin move out of the Matthew Laflin Memorial Building at Armitage and Clark Street in Lincoln Park, where the institution had resided for 102 years. Staff offices, the museum collections, the archives, and the scientific library, were moved to another building on Clark Street owned at that time by the museum and to additional space on Ravenswood. The second facility is now the Ravenswood Collections Facility. To maintain a public face for the Academy during construction, the museum had a temporary facility on the third floor of North Pier on Illinois Street which was open to the public.
The Chicago Academy of Sciences breaks ground for a new building in Lincoln Park. In recognition of the donation made to the Academy by Mr. and Mrs. Notebaert, the building was named the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network, a citizen science program dedicated to “collecting quantitative data on butterfly populations” moved under the auspices of the Academy through Doug Taron, Curator of Biology and Vice President of Conservation and Research.
Summer – Museum begins partnership with El Valor, a multi-cultural and multi-purpose organization whose, “…mission is to support and challenge urban families to achieve excellence and participate fully in community life,” through a summer camp for children. The partnership has expanded today to programs for adults with disabilities, conductive education, family field trips to the Museum, after school programs, and professional development for Head Start teachers including visits to their classrooms.
October - The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum building opens to the public. The Academy’s collections and Collections Department staff offices remain at the Ravenswood Collections Facility, where they are still housed today.
Education Department began onsite workshops. To date this initiative has reached 20,000 students.
Joe Schactner appointed President and CEO of the Academy.
Butterfly Restoration Program started with funding from the BP Leaders Award. The Swamp Metalmark, Calephelis muticum, and Silver-bordered Fritillary, Bolaria selene, were the first imperiled species added to the program.
Fall - Teacher Leadership Center opened at the Museum.
Laureen Von Klan appointed President and CEO of the Academy.
Education department revamps its Science Teaching Network (STN). Started in the early 1990s the program provides training for teachers through an intensive summer institute that is followed by classroom support in the fall. Since this year, 300 teachers have been through the program.
Nature Museum Summer Camps began.
Summer – Museum opens its first self-curated exhibit, “Lawn Nation” since its move into the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
Collections Department begins to inventory all of the natural history holdings within the Academy’s collection with grant support from the Institute for Museum and Library Sciences. The initiative took 5 years to complete and over 280,000 specimens and objects were verified.
Museum began participation in Blanding’s Turtle Recovery Program, a conservation effort spearheaded by the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, to rear and release endangered Blanding’s Turtles, Emydoidea blandingii, into their natural environment. Sub-Adult Blanding’s Turtles put on display at the Museum. Celeste Troon, Director of Living Collections, heads the museum effort.
Butterfly Conservation Lab opened at the Museum, a permanent research lab for the Butterfly Restoration Program.
An expanded version of Project Squirrel, a citizen-science program, moved under auspices of the Academy through Steve Sullivan, Senior Curator of Urban Ecology. The program was created in 1997 by Joel Brown and Wendy Jackson both professors at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Collections Department begins two-year project to process about 250 linear feet of materials in their Manuscript Collection in the Archive with grant support from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation.
Participation in Blanding’s Turtle Recovery Program expands. Museum helps head start hatchlings for two years, release two year old head starters with radio transmitters in the fall, track them in the spring to replace radio transmitters, track females to see if they are gravid, collect females when they are, release them after they have laid, and track the head starters again in late summer to put on their winter transmitters.
July 1 - Deborah Lahey appointed President and CEO of the Chicago Academy of Sciences and its Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. She had previously served on the Board of Trustees and then as Chief Operations Officer (Dec 2009 to June 2010).
February – First meeting of what would become Project Passenger Pigeon (P3) occurred at Museum. Initial participants included representatives from Smithsonian Institution, Cornell University, Michigan State University, the Indiana State Museum, Wesleyan University, University of Wisconsin, University of Louisiana, National Council for Science and the Environment, and the Illinois Natural History. Project has expanded to include over 160 organizations from all over the United States and will culminate in various events throughout 2014.
April 11 – Self-curated exhibit “Nature’s Architects” opened.
Museum began head starting more Blanding’s Turtles.
Working with Chicago Film Archives, Collections Department began assessment and re-housing of their motion picture film collection, about 1370 individual reels, with grant support from the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation. Collection composed of original nature studies to some commercially produced reels. Project to be completed in early 2014.
Museum became the home for the Chicago Conservation Corps.
Butterfly Restoration Program released lab-reared Regal Fritillary, Speyeria idalia, butterflies into natural habitat.
Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network takes a national leadership role serving as a model for similar programs in states all over the United States. A collective database for information from networks all over the country is developed to provide easier access to information.
February 10 – First Annual Chicago Volunteer Expo held at Museum. Over 60 local nonprofit institutions participated, providing information on volunteer opportunities in one convenient location.
March 23 – Self-curated exhibit “Food: The Nature of Eating” opened.
Butterfly Restoration Program released lab-reared Swamp Metalmark, Calephelis muticum, butterflies into natural habitat.
Project Squirrel released smartphone app.
Blanding’s Turtle Conservation Lab constructed to accommodate the 42 hatchlings entrusted to the Museum for head starting as part of the Blanding’s Turtle Recovery Program.
Assistant Collections Manager
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Created: 1/15/2014 Updated: 8/9/2016
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The Academy re-emphasizes its commitment to education in the natural sciences. Its programming is not only for young students, but also continuing education and certification for teachers that focuses on understanding and interpreting the natural sciences. In addition the Academy starts offering regular free lectures on various scientific subjects to the public.
Laflin Memorial Building, Chicago Academy of Sciences, ca. 1915
From Chicago Academy of Sciences Archive, Photography Collection, 8x10 Glass Plate Negatives
Academy establishes a Children’s Library to “promote science education and engage young people in the study of the natural sciences.”
Children reading in the Children’s Library of the Chicago Academy of Sciences
From the Chicago Academy of Sciences Archive, Photography Collection
May-June - Academy participates in city-wide Child-Welfare Exhibit, promoting education and highlighting institutions that already have programs established.
Work starts on developing new exhibit displays to better represent the natural flora and fauna of the area. Work completed by Frank C. Baker, Curator and Malacologist, and Frank Woodruff, Curator, Taxidermist, and Ornithologist, under initial guidance of Wallace Atwood, Acting Director and Secretary of the Board of Trustees.
June - The Atwood Celestial Sphere opens at the Academy. It is the first planetarium in the United States and was designed by Wallace W. Atwood, Acting Director of the Academy. The Sphere is now a part of the Adler Planetarium’s collections.
(left) Atwood Celestial Sphere as seen from the outside. (right) Atwood stands inside his completed Sphere. From Chicago Academy of Sciences Archive, Photography Collection
Frank Woodruff made Director of the Academy and completed his first life-size diorama depicting the dunes ecosystem and the Calumet River.
Photographic print of compiled image for Calumet River diorama background made up of four shots. From Chicago Academy of Sciences Archive, Photography Collection, 8x10 Glass Plate Negatives.
Alfred M. Bailey, Ornithologist, appointed Director of the Academy.
Bailey makes trips to Louisiana to conduct still and motion picture photography of birds migrating along the coast. Bailey had worked at the Louisiana Academy of Sciences earlier in his career and had formed relationships with other ornithologists and bird enthusiasts in the area.
Seguard and Bailey (with camera) filming birds in Louisiana.
Chicago Academy of Sciences Archive, Photography Collection.
Bailey, working with collectors in Alaska, starts collecting birds and birds eggs, culminating in the publication in the Academy’s Program of Activities, “Birds of the region of Point Barrow, Alaska” in 1933. Bailey had worked in southeastern Alaska from 1919-1921 on a survey for the Bureau of Biological Survey, so again had contacts and interest in the area before coming to the Academy.
Academy, with University of Chicago, sends field team to Great Smoky Mountains where a new subspecies of rock vole, Microtus chrotorrhinus carolinensis is discovered.
Academy co-sponsors further field research in Great Smoky Mountains in cooperation with the U.S. National Park Service. Specimens from this survey still reside in Academy’s collections, and trip resulted in publication, “Mammals of the Great Smoky Mountains,” part of the Bulletin series published by the Academy in 1938.
A Northern Short-tailed Shrew, Blarina brevicauda, collected during the Faunal Survey of the Great Smoky Mountains. Chicago Academy of Sciences Mammalogy Collection.
Dr. Howard Gloyd appointed Director of the Academy.
Howard K. Gloyd, standing in Arizona desert.
From Chicago Academy of Sciences Archives, Photography Collection.
Additional activities while Director of the Academy (1936-1957) were the expansion of the Academy’s scientific publications, the continued additions to the public lecture series historically offered by the Academy, and Gloyd’s personal research on snakes with an emphasis on rattlesnakes.
Dr. Gloyd, a rattlesnake expert, organizes expeditions to Arizona. The specimens he collected are still in the Academy’s scientific collections today. The first expedition was in 1937, the second in 1940, and the third in 1946.
Amber KingView Comments
Assistant Collections Manager
Created: 1/13/2014 Updated: 8/9/2016
Group of men interested in natural sciences begins to meet in offices of fellow member, Dr. Edmund Andrews. Other original members were: Dr. James V.Z. Blaney, Dr. Nathan S. Davis, Sr., James W. Freer, C.A. Helmuth, Dr. Hosmer A. Johnson, Henry Parker, J. Young Scammon, Dr. Franklin Scammon, Richard K. Swift, Joseph D. Webster, Eliphalet W. Blatchford, and Henry W. Zimmerman.
“Chicago Academy of Natural Sciences” officially founded only eleven years after the Smithsonian Institution and 36 years before the Field Museum of Natural History.
“A definite organization was completed at a meeting held January 13, 1857…[and] officers elected”.
Academy incorporated into Illinois state law as “The Chicago Academy of Sciences.”
“A majority of the members of the Academy, acting in accordance with a vote of the Academy, have incorporated themselves under the title of The Chicago Academy of Sciences….”
February 22 - Meeting held to discuss creation of natural history museum with Robert Kennicott’s specimens as the “core collection”; resolution adopted by attendees to create a museum and to appoint a committee to act as trustee of any funds raised.
March 23 - Robert Kennicott appointed “Curator of the Museum” by the Board of Trustees.
April 13 - Committee appointed on February 22 turned into the Board of Trustees through an amendment to the Academy’s constitution.
January 1 - The Academy opened as a museum to the public in rooms in the Metropolitan Block located at 134 North LaSalle Street.
February 16 - Act of Incorporation passed by the Illinois House and Senate for the Academy.
William Stimpson became the Curator and Secretary of the Academy replacing Robert Kennicott who was leaving Chicago on an expedition to Alaska. Kennicott met Stimpson while working in Washington, D.C. as both men worked for the Smithsonian Institution.
April 7 - Board of Trustees elects Robert Kennicott to the office of “Director of the Academy” while he is in Alaska on his exploration trip.
May 13 - Robert Kennicott dies in Alaska on the Nulato River.
June 7 - Fire in the Metropolitan Block where the Academy rented space for exhibits damaged the museum’s holdings, including specimens and library materials.
November 12 - William Stimpson elected as Director of the Academy.
Land is purchased on the corner of Wabash and Van Buren streets for a new museum building.
Academy opens in new rented spaces on Thirtieth Street between Indiana and Prairie Avenues.
Chicago Microscopical Club (State Microscopical Society of Illinois) is organized as an independent organization but maintains close affiliation with Chicago Academy of Sciences through 1950s, using Academy spaces for meetings and education programs. Many of the founders of the Club are also founders of Academy, such as Dr. Hosmer A. Johnson and Dr. Edmund Andrews..
The Academy’s collection is estimated to be the fourth largest in the country.
October 8-10 - The Great Chicago Fire destroys much of Chicago; the Academy’s building and holdings are decimated, including materials housed in a special “fire-proof” vault. Apparently a keystone fell through the top of the vault during the fire, thus creating an opening and allowing the fire into the vault.
May 26 - Director, Dr. William Stimpson, dies nine months after the Great Fire. It is thought that he died of heartbreak as he lost his life’s work in the fire, stored in the Academy’s “fire-proof” vault.
Academy moved into the Interstate Exposition Building on the lake front. This was a temporary structure that later was demolished to build the Chicago Art Institute.
Real estate tycoon, Matthew Laflin, donated $75,000 to construct a new museum. The building was to be named the “Matthew Laflin Memorial.” Total funds available for the new building were $100,000; the Laflin donation represented 75% of the total costs of the building. $25,000 received from the Board of Commissioners of Lincoln Park.
October 10 - The cornerstone for the Academy’s new building is laid.
October 30 - The World’s Columbian Exposition closes and many exhibits of plants, fossils, and animals originally displayed at the Exposition remain. Academy Board of Trustee, Edward Ayer, proposes accepting and incorporating these specimens into the Academy’s collection, but other Trustees are wary, citing the need to quickly launch the massive fund drive needed to quickly finish the building as well as transporting and finding housing for the specimens. Ayer resigns from the Board and turns to Marshall Field for the funds to build a new museum with Field’s name, ultimately becoming the Field Museum of Natural History.
October 31 - The Academy’s new building is dedicated and opens in Lincoln Park. The institution’s name, “Chicago Academy of Sciences,” was engraved on the front arch accompanied by the dedication of the building, “Matthew Laflin Memorial.” This building was referred to internally as the “Laflin Building.” The building was originally intended to be the north wing of a larger museum building with additions to be constructed in the future.
Chicago Academy of Sciences circa 1894
Amber KingView Comments
Assistant Collections Manager
Created: 1/10/2014 Updated: 8/9/2016
In 1856 a group of like-minded men enthusiastic about the natural sciences began to meet in Chicago. The original group consisted of Dr. James V.Z. Blaney, Dr. Nathan S. Davis, Sr., James W. Freer, C.A. Helmuth, Dr. Hosmer A. Johnson, Dr. Edmund Andrews, Henry Parker, J. Young Scammon, Dr. Franklin Scammon, Richard K. Swift, Joseph D. Webster, Eliphalet W. Blatchford, and Henry W. Zimmerman. The group began adding other names immediately to their list of members and formally became “The Chicago Academy of Natural Sciences” on January 13, 1857, “The Chicago Academy of Sciences” by 1859, and in 1999, “The Chicago Academy of Sciences and its Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.” The dedication and labor of many people ensured that the Academy continued to serve the public throughout its 157 year history, and will continue to do so in the future.
The men who strived to establish the Academy in the early years faced many obstacles almost from the beginning. The financial “Panic of 1857” turned many of the promised financial subscriptions into useless bits of paper. Two fires impacted the collections, the first on June 7, 1866 in their rented spaces that decimated over half of the collection and then again during the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 that destroyed the Academy’s building and almost all of its holdings. A second financial panic effected the economy from 1873-1879, that hampered efforts to raise funds to pay off debt incurred to rebuild after the fire. When the Academy rebuilt their structure after the Great Chicago Fire, they also paid to erect an additional structure for business purposes designed to generate income for the Academy through the rents to be charged, but business expansion did not return aggressively to the area, so few were interested in the property and the Academy ultimately went into foreclosure. In spite of these early challenges, the Academy’s members and trustees never lost their dedication to establishing a permanent museum of the natural sciences and finally succeeded in 1894 with the completion of the Matthew Laflin Memorial Building which served the Academy until 1994. Here is a brief overview of just a few of the individuals who helped bring about this outcome.
It was in the offices of the Dr. Edmund Andrews (1824-1904) that the original members began meeting in 1856. Dr. Andrews was a practicing surgeon and also a teacher of anatomy and helped to form the Chicago Medical College. He developed and maintained an avid interest in geology, particularly in glacial history, publishing some of his findings in the Transactions of the Chicago Academy of Sciences. At the formalization of the Academy in 1857, Dr. Andrews was appointed the first Curator of the Academy and held that position until Robert Kennicott took over in 1863. Later he served as President of the Board of Trustees for a number of terms, the longest from 1883-1891.
Robert Kennicott (1835-1866) was encouraged from an early age to learn about nature from first-hand experience. He began his more formal training when his father sent him to study with Dr. Jared Kirtland, a well known and respected naturalist. Through this connection, Kennicott met Spencer Fullerton Baird, assistant secretary of the Smithsonian, and in 1853 moved to Washington, D.C. to assist and collect for that institution. Kennicott’s participation in an exploratory expedition into northwestern Canada that was funded by the Hudson Bay Company, the Smithsonian, and individual Chicago patrons, provided the final spark for the impetus to find and open the museum to the public on January 1, 1865, since the Academy would have access to a sizeable collection almost immediately.
George C. Walker (1835-1905) was a benefactor and life-time member of the Academy. He served on the Board of Trustees as Secretary and President as well as numerous terms as Treasurer. He owned various companies but the bulk of his wealth was made in local real estate. Walker became friends with Robert Kennicott and adopted the passion for the creation of a museum heralded by the latter. Walker committed the funding necessary to ship the specimens intended for the Academy and collected by Kennicott in his 1859 expedition to the Yukon and Arctic tundra from Washington, D.C. to Chicago. He then became the chairman of a ten man committee formed in February 1864 whose sole purposes was to obtain the money necessary to make cases and obtain the space necessary to display the collection.
Dr. Jacob W. Velie (1829-1908) trained as doctor in Hammondsport, New York, worked as a dentist in Rock Hill, IL, and a druggist in Bath, NY. During this time, he was an active naturalist, developing his own collection and participating in expeditions. For example, in 1864 he worked for five months with Dr. C.C. Parry, the noted botanist, in the Rocky Mountains. He became associated with the Academy in 1870 when he became assistant curator under Dr. William Stimpson. After the Great Chicago Fire, Dr. Velie and Dr. Stimpson traveled to Florida, Cuba and the Yucatan on a collecting trip of which many specimens were donated to the Academy, helping to start the rebuilding of the collections. Velie served as curator for the Academy until 1893, constantly adding to the Academy’s collections during that time.
Matthew Laflin (1803-1897) was a prominent Chicago businessman. He built the Bull’s Head Tavern (then at Madison and Ogden) which became the city’s first stockyard as it provided pens for the cattle drivers. It was through his son George Laflin that Matthew Laflin offered $75,000 to the Academy if an agreement could be reached with the Lincoln Park Commissioners to provide the land to build the structure and an additional $25,000 toward its completion. An agreement was reached and the work began in 1893 with the final completion in 1894.
Amber KingView Comments
Assistant Collections Manager