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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/408

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

may be led by the natural course of his work from one branch to another, which at first view seems quite distinct from it. Professor Haldeman was in his early youth a collector of living objects around his father's estate, and thus laid the foundations, in his recreations, for the eminence he afterward reached as a naturalist. Then, having turned his attention to ethnology, he was drawn to the study of languages and philology, and became one of the most distinguished American scholars and authorities in those branches. Next, he became interested in archaeology, and contributed to that subject in his papers before the American Association of 1880, the last literary labors of his life. His success in all of these branches appears to have been owing to the adaptation of his natural tastes, and these to have been developed from inherited peculiarities.

Samuel Stehman Haldeman was born, August 12, 1812, at Locust Grove, on the Susquehanna River, twenty miles below Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His family were of Swiss descent, had possessed the extensive estate which was their home for several generations, and occupied a considerable social position. His great-grandfather was a member of a local Committee of Public Safety in Revolutionary times; his great-uncle was the first Governor-General of Canada under British rule; his grandfather was a member of the General Assembly of the State in 1795. A niece of his great-grandfather and great uncle, Mrs. Marcet, born Jane Haldimand, was a celebrated scientific writer, distinguished as the first who attempted to popularize science, by the publication of her "Conversations" on chemistry, natural philosophy, botany, mineralogy, language, and political economy. Professor Haldeman derived his middle name from the maiden name of his mother, Frances Stehman, who was an accomplished musician, and transmitted to him that correct ear for the notation of sound that made him in after-life so accomplished a phoneticist. His father was a man of literary tastes, and warmly encouraged the son's aspirations in a direction congenial to his own. Young Haldeman's education, till he was thirteen years old, was carried on in the local schools and his father's library. No little of it was gained on the farm, where he made the collections of specimens in natural history, which he was taught by a Methodist minister how to prepare, and of aboriginal stones and implements, which constituted his first museum, in the loft of the family carriage-house; and where he gathered shells, he says, on the banks of the Susquehanna long before he knew the meaning of genus and species.

When five years old he was a fellow-scholar with Daniel Engle, who could not speak English, but could spell in German, and sat with him. Young Haldeman soon discovered that his companion could spell in another language, and engaged him to bring his German spelling-book to the school, so that he could learn to do the same. The book was brought, and carefully hidden, to be studied in secret.