Reading the shape of nature: comparative zoology at the Agassiz Museum.

Reading the shape of nature: comparative zoology at the Agassiz Museum. Mary P. Winsor.

Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991. Octavo, black and white illustrations. Good copy in paperback.

Vividly recounts the turbulent early history of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard and the contrasting careers of its founder Louis Agassiz and his son Alexander. Through the story of this institution and the individuals who formed it, Winsor explores the conflicting forces that shaped systematics in the second half of the nineteenth centruy. Debates over the philosophical foundations of classification, details of taxonomic researchm the young institution's financial struggles, and the personalities of the men most deeply involved are all brought to life.

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