24 Collecting Abroad, Preserving at Home: Titian Ramsay Peale Ii, American Entomologist and Collector

In: Naturalists in the Field
Robert McCracken Peck
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As part of a productive career collecting and illustrating insects and other natural history specimens for his father’s museum in Philadelphia and the newly formed Smithsonian Institution in Washington, dc, the American naturalist-artist Titian Ramsay Peale II (1799-1885) developed a technique for preserving insects (primarily moths and butterflies) by sealing them in metal-lined glass boxes that were constructed like books.  Peale’s patented techniques enabled his collection to survive to the present day, making it the oldest, intact insect collection in North America.  Now preserved at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (where Peale served as a curator), Peale’s boxes contain insects collected by him and others in North and South America.

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Naturalists in the Field

Collecting, Recording and Preserving the Natural World from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-First Century

Series:  Emergence of Natural History, Volume: 2


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