Impressions from a Lost World: The Discovery of Dinosaur Footprints

The BSNH Purchase of Dexter Marsh's Collection

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The Boston Society of Natural History was immediately alert to the potential for acquiring Dexter Marsh's collection when he unexpectedly died in early April of 1853. The Curator of Geology, Thomas T. Bouvé, was accompanied by another member, Francis Alger, on a trip to Greenfield to inspect the collection in advance of the auction day. In the end, the BSNH paid $1400 for a large share of the collection, with most of the remainder going to Amherst College. Francis Alger bought a single fossil for himself, paying $345 for the privilege of owning a footprint specimen from the estate of the brilliant manual laborer who set up one of the first museums in the country to exhibit fossil footprints.

Proceedings of BSNH
Courtesy of:
Biodiversity Heritage Library