By Lester D. Stephens
Within the a long time sooner than the Civil warfare, Charleston, South Carolina, loved reputation because the middle of clinical task within the South. via 1850, basically 3 different towns within the United States--Philadelphia, Boston, and New York--exceeded Charleston in normal background stories, and the town boasted a very good museum of ordinary historical past. reading the clinical actions and contributions of John Bachman, Edmund Ravenel, John Edwards Holbrook, Lewis R. Gibbes, Francis S. Holmes, and John McCrady, Lester Stephens uncovers the real achievements of Charleston's circle of naturalists in a sector that has conventionally been brushed off as mostly without clinical pursuits.
Stephens devotes specific cognizance to the targeted difficulties confronted by means of the Charleston naturalists and to the ways that their spiritual and racial ideals interacted with and formed their clinical goals. finally, he indicates, cultural commitments proved more desirable than medical rules. while the South seceded from the Union in 1861, the contributors of the Charleston circle positioned local patriotism above technology and union and supported the accomplice reason. the resultant struggle had a devastating effect at the Charleston naturalists--and on technological know-how within the South. The Charleston circle by no means totally recovered from the blow, and a century could elapse earlier than the South took an equivalent function within the pursuit of mainstream medical research.
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Additional info for Science, Race, and Religion in the American South: John Bachman and the Charleston Circle of Naturalists, 1815-1895
Soon he would know that it was the same species he had captured during the spring, when the upper part of its long body bore a coat of dark brown. Standing in silence, he could watch it pounce upon its prey, perhaps a small meadow vole, Microtus pennsylvanicus, or a tiny shorttail shrew, Blarina brevicauda, foraging desperately to satisfy its voracious appetite. Before long, as he moved into the woods, he might catch a glimpse of another mammal whose pelage changed from brown to white as winter approached, the snowshoe hare, Lepus americanus.
But ﬁnd time he did, for his interest in plants and animals came only slightly behind his interest in his family and his commitment to God. Indeed, in his judgment, to study nature was to study God’s handiwork. Much of his early scientiﬁc work in Charleston was devoted to experimentation in hybridization. In fact, Bachman conducted a number of successful experiments in crossing species, especially ducks, one of his favorite animals, and he read widely upon the subject of hybridization among domestic species.
In the former, Bachman o√ered descriptions of eight North American lagomorphs (rabbits, hares, and pikas), though, like his contemporaries, he placed all of them in the genus Lepus. The lengthy article provided excellent information on the known species, showing that Bachman was an authority on the order Lagomorpha. In every case, he o√ered body measurements, pelage color(s), habits, and geographical distribution (insofar as it was known), and the dental formula. The pika, or ochotonid, it turned out, had already been described, but the prodigious collector and able Philadelphia naturalist John K.
Science, Race, and Religion in the American South: John Bachman and the Charleston Circle of Naturalists, 1815-1895 by Lester D. Stephens