Letters and Recollections of Alexander Agassiz: With a Sketch of His Life and Work

Letters and Recollections of Alexander Agassiz: With a Sketch of His Life and Work

Read FREE!

Letters and Recollections of Alexander Agassiz: With a Sketch of His Life and Work

Letters and Recollections of Alexander Agassiz: With a Sketch of His Life and Work

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Any one who attempts to present a faithful impression of Alexander Agassiz's life is confronted with unusual difficulties, for his versatile and restless energy covered a very extraordinarily wide field, and his personality was so large that we are hampered in our view of him by our own limitations. The morphologist considers his earlier work the most important; the geologist, that his reputation rests chiefly on his extensive investigations of coral reefs; the zoölogist remembers his vast collections of marine life gathered in a dozen extended voyages widely scattered over the surface of the globe; and to still others he appears as the creator of a vast museum and one of the greatest benefactors of the oldest university in America; while those who delve among ancient civilizations and primitive races might well be surprised at the extent of his poaching in their preserves, a mere détour in his many wanderings in the pursuit of science or search of health. In the world of affairs he was known as an extremely capable and successful mining man, who was said to employ his leisure moments in some sort of scientific study.

When I first began to collect material for a life of my father, I hoped that it would be possible to tell it in his own words. But grave objections to such a plan soon appeared; one of the foremost being the mysterious disappearance of most of his later correspondence with his stepmother. It is, moreover, a much more dif-

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