Impressions from a Lost World: The Discovery of Dinosaur Footprints

Remarks on Some Fossil Impressions in the Sandstone Rocks of Connecticut River, John Collins Warren

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John Collins Warren signed his book, Remarks on some Fossil Impressions in the Sandstone Rocks of Connecticut River, as a gift to his friend Oliver Wendell Holmes. Warren's book preceded both Edward Hitchcock's Ichnology of New England and James Deane's Ichnographs of the Sandstone of Connecticut River, but was much shorter than both. A photograph of one of Deane's specimens was inserted into the front of the book, facing the title page. 

The text, with some later additions, came from presentations Warren made to the Boston Society of Natural History in 1853 and 1854. Although the book is about fossil footprints and other impressions, he begins with the story of unusually large eggs found in Madagascar that he saw on a visit to Paris. He estimated that the bird from such an egg would be taller than the moa identified by Richard Owen in England a decade earlier. He credits French naturalists for their observations and discoveries regarding the eggs and continues with a brief history of fossil footprint discoveries, including those made by Hitchcock, Deane, Dexter Marsh and others, and describes select footprint specimens and other types of impressions, such as fish and plants.

This copy of the book resides in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where the Holmes family had a summer home for seven years. Holmes's signature is one of the last in the Visitors Book for Dexter Marsh's museum in Greenfield. 

John Collins Warren
Courtesy of:
Berkshire Athenaeum