CROSSES THE ATLANTIC
America is a land of wonders, in which everything is in constant motion and every change seems an improvement.
—ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE (1805-1859),
DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA
ON A CRISP fall evening in 1829, Harvard librarian Thaddeus William Harris sank into the chair behind his writing desk, lit a small lamp, and adjusted its wick to a bright, clean burn. Pulling out paper and pen, Harris folded back his starched white cuffs before dipping the stylus. After a long, lackluster day shelving books, balancing accounts, and directing hapless students, he was looking forward to losing himself in "conversation" with his good friend and colleague in science, Edward Doubleday, in England.
Like Harris, Doubleday was an entomologist by training and passion. Their correspondence overflowed with earnest debate over new manuscripts and questionable identifications. Occasionally Doubleday described a pleasant weekend he'd spent collecting specimens in the English countryside, assisted by one or