On Her Own Terms: Annie Montague Alexander and the Rise of Science in the American West

By Barbara R. Stein | Go to book overview

5
Meeting C. Hart Merriam

Alexander quickly realized that simply collecting fossils would not “absorb her interest. ” By 1904 the focus of her study had broadened to include Recent animals 1 as well as fossil forms, and during the next year she began to contemplate how she might make a more significant contribution to research in paleontology. In 1905 she also met two biologists, William Bryan of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu and C. Hart Merriam of the Biological Survey in Washington, D. C. Both men influenced the development of an idea that had already begun to germinate in her head, but Merriam's encouragement and support ultimately inspired Alexander to carry out her plan to found a museum of vertebrate zoology on the Berkeley campus.

Although Alexander's passion for paleontology remained undiminished, before the Africa expedition she had written enthusiastically to Beckwith about a new interest. The detail in her letter indicates the enthusiasm and intensity with which she pursued this new occupation:

What do you suppose my latest fad is? Collecting skulls of wild animals! I have about 45 now representing 40 different species, mostly carnivores. Really you don't know how fascinating it is. …I'm expecting a box over tomorrow from the city and shall tell Charlotte to have it secretly conveyed to the attic. I think my room will have to be remodeled to accommodate these new acquisitions. My study of osteology led me first to get some dog skulls. My experiences connected with this first quest were too revolting to relate—suffice it to say that I made two visits to the Pound, bought a new clothes boiler at Mamma's request and the result was scientific—I have one complete skull, another in which a longitudinal median section has been made, a third in which the various bones have been separated from each other. The study of

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On Her Own Terms: Annie Montague Alexander and the Rise of Science in the American West
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Introduction xiii
  • On Her Own Terms *
  • 1 - Samuel Alexander and Henry Baldwin 3
  • 2 - Life in Oakland 13
  • 3 - A Passion for Paleontology 22
  • 4 - Africa, 1904 35
  • 5 - Meeting C. Hart Merriam 48
  • 6 - Alaska, 1906 58
  • 7 - Meeting Joseph Grinnell 63
  • 8 - Founding a Museum of Vertebrate Zoology 76
  • 9 - An Unusual Collaboration 88
  • 10 - Louise and Prince William Sound 97
  • 11 - Support for Paleontology 107
  • 12 - Hearst, Sather, Flood 114
  • 13 - Innisfail Ranch 120
  • 14 - Vancouver Island and the Trinity Alps 138
  • 15 - The Team of Alexander and Kellogg 148
  • 16 - From “a Friend of the University” 155
  • 17 - Founding a Museum of Paleontology 165
  • 18 - A Restless Decade 181
  • 19 - Europe, 1923 190
  • 20 - The Temple Tour 203
  • 21 - The “amoeba Treatment” 214
  • 22 - Fieldwork–the Later Years 224
  • 23 - Saline Valley 244
  • 24 - The End of an Era 253
  • 25 - Hawaii–“my Only Real Home” 261
  • 26 - The Switch to Botany 274
  • 27 - Baja California–tres Mujeres Sin Miedo 290
  • 28 - Investing in the Future 299
  • 29 - An Enduring Legacy 308
  • Epilogue 315
  • Appendix 317
  • Notes 321
  • Index 359
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