Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/653

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time the Portland (Maine) Society of Natural History had just met serious loss from fire. It was therefore resolved that the academy should donate to the unfortunate society a full set of its Transactions, together with minerals and other museum specimens. The Chicago Academy of Science having suffered in a similar way at the same time, a like courtesy was extended to it.

It will be remembered that the first meeting was held in the rooms of the Board of Public Schools. Nearly or quite all the following meetings for a long time were held at the local Medical College, in O'Fallon Hall, through the courtesy of Dr. Pope at first, and later through that of his successor, Dr. Hodgen. Twelve years of the life of the academy passed thus, when an effort was finally made to secure new rooms in the building of the Polytechnic. A committee was appointed September 2, 1868, in this matter; the negotiations went on for some months. The museum of the academy was by this time distinctly creditable. Mammals of the Rocky Mountains were the result of Mr. Chouteau's interest. A fine meteorite from Nebraska had been secured; sections cut from it had been exchanged for similar pieces from other localities, until thirteen meteoric falls were represented. The chief importance of the museum, however, was in paleontology; the Hayden collection has already been mentioned; there were also important local collections; among foreign matter was a particularly fine complete skeleton of the cave bear. Just at the time when the museum's prospects were so good, May, 1869, fire broke out in the Medical College building, and the whole museum was swept out of existence. The only valuable specimens left uninjured were a skull of Bos cavifrons, some mastodon vertebræ, and several meteoric specimens, including the original piece from Nebraska. Fortunately, the library was saved, and the greater part of the Transactions, though some of these were injured by water.

During this year, just before the fire, the president, Benjamin F. Shumard, died. He was born at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, November 24, 1820. His taste for science may have come to him from his mother's side; her father, a Mr. Getz, was an inventor and a maker of instruments of precision. When Benjamin was still young, his father removed to Cincinnati, and the boy was sent to Oxford for his college education. He returned to his native State to pursue his medical course, but had hardly well begun his work when his father removed to Louisville, Kentucky. The result was that the young man completed his studies in that city, graduating in 1846. His practice began in that State, first in the interior, later in Louisville. The young physician's leisure was devoted to the study of local paleontology and zoölogy. Making some reputation,