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Lot 116: Portrait Nathaniel Southgate Shaler (1841–1906) paleontologist and geologist

East Coast Books

September 29, 2022
Wells, ME, US

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Description

Original engraved Portrait of Nathaniel Southgate Shaler (1841–1906) was an American paleontologist and geologist who wrote extensively on the theological and scientific implications of the theory of evolution. Born in 1841, Shaler studied at Harvard College under Louis Agassiz and would go on to become a Harvard fixture in his own right, as lecturer and professor of paleontology for two decades (1869–1888) and as professor of geology for nearly two more (1888–1906). Early in his professional career Shaler was broadly a creationist and anti-Darwinist. This was largely out of deference to the brilliant but old-fashioned Agassiz, whose patronage served Shaler well in ascending the Harvard ladder. When his own position at Harvard was secure, Shaler gradually accepted Darwinism in principle but viewed it through a neo-Lamarckian lens. Shaler extended Charles Darwin's work of the importance of earthworm soil bioturbation to soil formation to other animals, such as ants. Like many other evolutionists of the time, Shaler incorporated basic tenets of natural selection—chance, contingency, opportunism—into a picture of order, purpose and progress in which characteristics were inherited through the efforts of individual organisms. Shaler was also an apologist for slavery and an outspoken believer in the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race. In his later career, Shaler continued to support Agassiz's polygenism, a theory of human origins that was often used to support racial discrimination. In his 1884 article, "The Negro Problem", published in the Atlantic Monthly, Shaler claimed that black people freed from slavery were "like children lost in the wood, needing the old protection of the strong mastering hand," that they became increasingly dominated by their "animal nature" as they grew from children into adults, and American slavery had been "infinitely the mildest and most decent system of slavery that ever existed." In his later career, Shaler served as Harvard's Dean of Sciences and was considered one of the university's most popular teachers. He published scores of long and short treatises in his lifetime, with subjects ranging from topographical surveys to moral philosophy. Original engraved portrait, signed in pencil by the artist [Campbell - not sure about first name]. Plate mark approx. 13-1/3 x 9-3/4" plus margins. On stiff paper. Light-toned line at left eye level.

Condition Report

Light-toned line at left eye level.

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Shipping Terms

SHIPPING:
We do our own in-house shipping and only charge for the actual cost, which includes shipping, insurance, registered & confirmation services will be charged to the bidder. Shipping will be thru the US postal service unless otherwise instructed. Shipping outside the US is more expensive - often requiring registry or express mail. Insurance coverage to some foreign countries may be limited or unavailable. Any shipment to a foreign country may require a customs form which will show the value of the item[s] being shipped. All international buyers are responsible for customs, duties and additional taxes, if any.

There is NO pickup or delivery service.

For Sale from East Coast Books