Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/650

This page has been validated.

There were standing committees in the following subjects: Ethnology, comparative anatomy, mammalogy, ornithology, herpetology and ichthyology, chemistry, geology and malacology, entomology, botany, paleontology and geology, mineralogy, chemistry, physics, embryology, and monstrosities. But the academy was incorporated to last, and it survived.

There had been preliminary meetings, but the first regular meeting was held March 10, 1856, in the hall of the Board of Public Schools. George Engelmann was elected president and Benjamin F. Shumard secretary. At the second meeting active work was begun. At that meeting the well-known name of Dr. Koch first appears. He then presented to the museum a plate of Koch's Missourium. The Missourium (truly Mastodon giganteus) played a lively part at one time in geological and archæological discussions in this country. Dr. Koch at this meeting offered to visit Mississippi for the academy, and investigate certain finds recently made of the remains of Zeuglodon—a gigantic fossil whale. This was probably the first investigation made at the expense of the new academy. Dr. Koch visited Mississippi, PSM V52 D650 Charles P Chouteau.jpgCharles P. Chouteau. made his investigations, and collected a lot of fossils from Tertiary and Cretaceous formations.

Among the original members was Mr. Charles P. Chouteau, one of two out of that list of incorporators who still lives. Mr. Chouteau, a man of business and means, never permitted his intelligent interest in the academy and its work to flag. Connected with the fur trade, his business took him or his representatives on frequent journeys into the far West. Such expeditions were enormous enterprises in those days. At that time even journeys to the East were no trifles. Mr. Chouteau—after recently making the trip from St. Louis to New York in twenty-four hours—narrates that on one occasion, when a young man, he was sent to New York to see Mr. Astor on im-