“Busts of the Mercantile” Wednesday: Louis Agassiz

Every Wednesday, Stacked scribe Nemo Wolfe will present a short piece on one of the many busts that reside in the Mercantile’s reading room. This is the first.



The Mercantile’s bust of Louis Agassiz (click on the photo to read the Wikipedia article on him) sits on top of the card catalogue and under the picture of Edward Everett. That is intentional. It all has to do with being eclipsed. The oak and pasteboard card catalogue has been eclipsed by search engines, Edward Everett was eclipsed by Abraham Lincoln, and Agassiz was eclipsed by Darwin, although they will never be completely eclipsed as long as the Library is in business.

A gent wandered in a couple of weeks ago to peer at stuff – he was Not From Here – and actually wanted to talk about Louis, something that just never happens. The visitor had kind words about him being a good sorter or taxonomist. Something like that.

Harvard students learn how to say Agassiz (just like the tennis guy), but the rest of the world winds up mumbling, trying to cope with that pesky “z”. The kindly old naturalist gave seven lectures here, the first of which was “The Plan of Creation as Shown in the Animal Kingdom,” so you would think that the Divine Blueprint crowd would be selling Agassiz sweatshirts, but nobody knows history anymore.

-Nemo Wolfe

Published in: on September 20, 2006 at 2:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

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