Friday, June 17, 2016

Summary of Chapter 3: The Education of O.C. Marsh

Othniel Charles Marsh was born a farm boy into a modest family located in Lockport, a city north of Buffalo, New York. During his childhood, Marsh's father Caleb could not support his family and was financially unstable. Mary, Marsh's mother, passed away when he was only three years old. He and his older sister joined a step family of six children while their father remarried. Marsh began college at the very late age of 24, his delay being caused by Caleb forcing him to work to feed all the mouths in their extended family. This was an unfortunate time for Othniel as his father was very unforgiving and would punish him for his mistakes. During these events excavations were being conducted to widen the Erie Canal. The heaped-up rock from the excavations contained minerals and other valuable fossils. Marsh was influenced by his neighbor Ezekiel Jewett, who taught him what the rocks might reveal. Due to dowry given to Mary Peabody, Marsh was able to receive over $1,000 passed down to him. He then went on to attend Phillips Academy located in Andover, Massachusetts. Marsh did not focus fully on his studies until his sister died in her twenties. The grief caused Marsh to then focus on his studies fully. He excelled in his classes and was able to achieve the rank of valedictorian as well as a captain of the football team.
One of Marsh's and the worlds the most influential figures during the nineteenth century was Othniel's uncle George. He was born into a poor family of eight children and supported his mother after his father died when he was sixteen. George eventually was able to erase his family's debt and went on to become a very wealthy trader. Historians are very flattering in the subject of George's lifetime. Both preachers and writers praised Peabody for his generosity. Others would comment upon his love life, referring to failed marriages and a supposed mistress who he kept in Brighton. He kept a good relationship with Marsh and his sister Mary.

Summary of Peabody Celebrates 150 Years in Style

 The Peabody Museum is currently celebrating its 150th anniversary year with the exhibit "Treasures of the Peabody: 150 Years of Exploration and Discovery." More than 150 people attended the event, which began at around 5:30 P.M. They were treated to jazz and a very well prepared section of food. David Skelly, the director of the Peabody, opened the events with an opening remark. He remarked that the exhibit was created to tell the history of the Peabody Museum.
Within the exhibit contains a extended timeline of the Museums history from its founding in 1701 to the present day. The exhibit also contains a very small portion of the Museum's collection. Though, only 0.04 percent of the collection itself can be shown during one period of time. Due to the advanced history of the Museum, Thomas Near claimed that it would be complicated to encapsulate the records. Near claims that the curators of the Peabody were successful in forming an informative exhibit that presents the artifacts in a dignified manner. Geology professor Bhart-Anjan Bhuller believed that the Peabody's vertebrate paleontologists were modern-world successors of O.C. Marsh. Bhuller believes in both technological and physical display of the museum's artifacts. With 3-D printing, Bhuller claims that genetic research could be displayed at the large-scale. David Skelly views the 150th celebration exhibit as an image to look into the future of the Peabody.

Free Response Questions

1. O.C. Marsh was enthusiastic Darwinian who had an interest in collecting fossils from the excavated rock from the Erie Canal. His neighbor Jewett had a profound influence on his interest in collecting different Native American material. His fossils and artifacts eventually led to the first collections being created inside of the Peabody.

2. The article and chapter 3 of the House of Lost Worlds both have very different styles of writing. While both writings revolve around the history of the Museum, Richard Conniff retells the history of O.C. Marsh and George Peabody with in depth information on their education and family. Cameron Hill's article describes the importance of the 150th anniversary of the Peabody.

3. Darwinian is defined as relating to the ideas or theories of naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin. In chapter 3 of House of Lost Worlds, we learn that O.C. Marsh was an "enthusiastic" Darwinian who followed his theories. By the use of his discoveries, Marsh attempted to confirm the truth of these theories.

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