honestly, could not resist.
William T. Hornaday: Taxidermy and Zoological Collecting
Here’s another spoiler for our 1st floor exhibit case: Dave brought this beautiful book from his home to go in our display among our information about William T. Hornaday. This book, Taxidermy and Zoological Collecting, was published in 1891 during his term as Chief Taxidermist for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
From an artistic, historical, and biological standpoint, this book is absolutely fascinating to look through! In so many aspects was Hornaday ahead of his time in regards towards animal preparation and taxidermy, and this book discusses some techniques which we still employ in our museum today. In many aspects of his personal life, however, Hornaday was a controversial and stubborn figure, but nevertheless passionate about wildlife and working ultimately towards its conservation. Someday I’ll tell you all about the time he put a pygmy person from the Congo named Ota Benga on display in the National Zoo in the primates exhibit as a way to illustrate convergent evolution, but that is totally another story.
Ralph Stanley (traditonal mountain song)
‘O, Death. O, Death.
Won’t you spare me over ‘til another year?
Well, what is this that I can’t see
With ice cold hands takin’ hold of me
Well I am death, none can excel
I’ll open the door to heaven or hell
‘O, death’ someone would pray
‘Could you wait to call me another day?’
The children prayed, the preacher preached
Time and mercy is out of your reach
I’ll fix your feet ‘til you can’t walk
I’ll lock your jaw ‘til you can’t talk
I’ll close your eyes so you can’t see
This very hour, come and go with me
I’m death I come to take the soul
Leave the body and leave it cold
To draw the flesh off of the frame
Dirt and worm both have a claim
O, Death. O, Death.
Won’t you spare me over til another year?
My mother came to my bed
Placed a cold towel upon my head
My head is warm my feet are cold
Death is a-movin’ upon my soul
Oh, death how you’re treatin’ me
You’ve close my eyes so I can’t see
Well you’re hurtin’ my body
You make me cold
You run my life right outta my soul
Oh death please consider my age
Please don’t take me at this stage
My wealth is all at your command
If you will move your icy hand
The old, the young, the rich or poor
All alike to me, you know
No wealth, no land, no silver no gold
Nothing satisfies me but your soul
O, Death. O, Death.
Won’t you spare me over ‘til another year?’