Thesis ID: CBB001567604

American Empire and the Scientific Survey of Puerto Rico (2014)

unapi

Brock, Darryl Erwin (Author)


Fordham University
Schmidt-Nowara, Christopher
Siddiqi, Asif
Acosta, Salvador
Lindo-Fuentes, Hector
Siddiqi, Asif
Acosta, Salvador
Stoll, Steven
Lindo-Fuentes, Hector
Stoll, Steven


Publication Date: 2014
Edition Details: Advisor: Schmidt-Nowara, Christopher; Committee Members: Lindo-Fuentes, Hector, Siddiqi, Asif, Acosta, Salvador, Stoll, Steven.
Physical Details: 322 pp.
Language: English

As the first decade of the new century ended, the legacy of the Spanish-Cuban-American War era had driven an American need to advance a New World imperial project. The New York Academy of Sciences, in close concert with the city's American Museum of Natural History, and also The New York Botanical Garden, adopted a plan in 1912 later entitled the "Scientific Survey of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands." The sponsors envisioned an ambitious twentieth-century metropolitan variant of colonial science to conquer the new scientific frontier of Puerto Rico. Swarms of expeditionary scientists would catalog the plants, animals, geology and archeology of Puerto Rico, tangibly demonstrating America's far-flung imperium to a curious metropolitan populace. The New York Botanical Garden would compile the floras of empire, much as the Kew Gardens global network had done for the British Empire. The Scientific Survey of Puerto Rico would comprise eighteen scientific expeditions originating from the Garden during the years leading to 1933. The Academy published results until 1960, eventually compiling nineteen multi-disciplinary research volumes. Despite the Survey initially justifying itself according to the "civilizing mission," over the decades its leadership allied with future governor Luis Muñoz Marín's Liberal Party, working toward a progressive vision for Puerto Rico. New York Botanical Garden founder Nathaniel L. Britton--succeeded in the 1930s by Smith College geology professor Howard A. Meyerhoff--adroitly established close linkages with local elite power in Puerto Rico, with both leaders dedicated to insular development. The young, brilliant Cornell-trained Puerto Rican colonial scientist, Carlos Chardón, emerged as Britton's protégé, later assuming chancellorship of the University of Puerto Rico. Association with the well-respected Survey helped place Chardón in a position, in 1935, to be tapped by FDR to head a New Deal agency, the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration. Sugar corporations, FDR's New Deal, and the Scientific Survey of Puerto Rico all represented modernizing and professionalizing influences on Puerto Rico. Collectively, they led to an emerging professional class that by the late 1940s would assume the reigns of local power from mainland authorities, directing Puerto Rico's future throughout the rest of the century, to the present.

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Description Cited in Dissertation Abstracts International-A 75/12(E), Jun 2015. Proquest Document ID: 1572466980.


Citation URI
https://data.isiscb.org/isis/citation/CBB001567604/

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Authors & Contributors
Kuna, Jakub
Black, Megan
McPherson, Robert S.
Edelson, S. Max
Schellenberger, Andreas
Kang, Jin-Yeon
Journals
Journal of the History of Biology
Cartographica Helvetica
Polish Cartographical Review
Scientia Canadensis: Journal of the History of Canadian Science, Technology, and Medicine
Journal of Historical Geography
History of Science
Publishers
Harvard University Press
The University of North Carolina Press
Yale University Press
University of Oklahoma Press
University of California Press
Duke University Press
Concepts
Imperialism
Science and government
Cartography
Surveying
Colonialism
Maps; atlases
People
Barbié du Bocage, Jean Denis
Helbling, Robert
Linnaeus, Carolus
Hooker, Joseph Dalton
Hayden, Ferdinand Vandeveer
Clark, William
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
18th century
20th century
21st century
20th century, late
Places
United States
Great Britain
North America
Germany
France
Africa
Institutions
Wojskowy Instytut Geograficzny (Polish Military Geographical Institute)
Great Britain. Board of Trade
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
United States. Geological Survey
United States Navy
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