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Spencer F. Baird

Nature volume 36, pages 397398 | Download Citation



THE news of Prof. Baird's death will be received by English naturalists with the most profound regret, the more so as no intimation of the indisposition of the celebrated American man of science had been communicated to his friends in this country, and the intelligence was therefore unexpected. By Englishmen who knew Prof. Baird personally the loss must be especially felt, but there are many who had never met him in the flesh, to whom the news of his decease must come as that of a dear friend. As one of the latter class, we venture to express our sympathy with our scientific brethren in America on the decease of one of their most eminent and respected colleagues. As chief of the Smithsonian Institution, Prof. Baird possessed a power of conferring benefits on the world of science exercised by few directors of public museums, and the manner in which he utilized these powers has resulted not only in the wonderful success of the United States National Museum under his direction, but in the enrichment of many other museums which were in friendly intercourse with the Smithsonian Institution. We know by experience that the British Museum is indebted beyond measure to Prof. Baird, and we need only refer to the recent volumes of the “Catalogue of Birds” to show how much our national Museum owes to the sister Museum in America for hearty co-operation. We had only to write and express our wants, and immediately every effort was made, by Prof. Baird's instructions, to supply all the desiderata in our ornithological collection, and this without the slightest demand for an equivalent exchange, though of course in the case of the British Museum every effort was made to reciprocate the good feeling shown towards that institution by the great American Museum. There must be many private collectors in this country who will indorse our acknowledgments to Prof. Baird for the unrivalled liberality which he has always shown in the advancement of the studies of every ornithologist who invoked his aid.

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