Article ID: CBB008066555

C. W. Beehler's Collection of Vertebrate Fossils: A Lost Legacy (2016)

unapi

The Kimmswick ‘bone bed’, a late Wisconsin paleontological locality in Jefferson County, Missouri, south of St. Louis, has been known since the early nineteenth century. The site gained international recognition in 1843 when a German immigrant and enterprising entrepreneur, Albert Koch, sold a composite skeleton of an American mastodon to the British Museum, parts of which came from Kimmswick. A half-century later a mechanic, inventor, and fossil hunter named Charles W. Beehler spent several months each year between 1897–1904 exhuming a massive collection of vertebrate fossils, representing several taxa, but one dominated by American mastodon (Mammut americanum). In addition, Beehler discovered human artifacts that he deemed were associated with the extinct fauna, thus adding Beehler to a growing number of proponents of what was termed the ‘American Paleolithic’. In retrospect he may have indeed uncovered evidence for an association between humans and extinct fauna, but the relationship went unrecognized by leading scientists of the time. Beehler constructed a wooden frame building on the site to house his collection, which he referred to as a museum. This was in preparation for visitors who would flock to the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, known officially as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Featuring his active excavation and mastodon-dominated bone collection, Beehler created an attraction that enticed fair goers—as well as the curious—to schedule trips to Kimmswick. Following the World's Fair Beehler returned to St. Louis, but the disposition of his collection remained a mystery. There is no evidence that any significant number of specimens made their way into institutional hands where they were preserved. Beehler attracted national and international attention through his work at Kimmswick, but his reluctance to share or donate his collection to a reputable institution left him with a legacy of notoriety, and led to the loss of this important collection of vertebrate fossils.

...More
Citation URI
http://data.isiscb.org/isis/citation/CBB008066555/

Similar Citations

Thesis Marlena Briane Cameron; (2017)
Fossil Excavation, Museums, and Wyoming: American Paleontology, 1870-1915 (/isis/citation/CBB144188127/) unapi

Article McMillan, R. Bruce; (2010)
The Discovery of Fossil Vertebrates on Missouri's Western Frontier (/isis/citation/CBB001031246/) unapi

Chapter T. Pointon; D. M. Martill; (2013)
Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle's Contribution to the Popularity of Pterodactyls (/isis/citation/CBB880697902/) unapi

Book Donald R. Prothero; (2018)
The Story of Life in 25 Fossils: Tales of Intrepid Fossil Hunters and the Wonders of Evolution (/isis/citation/CBB293277728/) unapi

Article Glendening, John; (2009)
“The World-Renowned Ichthyosaurus”: A Nineteenth-Century Problematic and Its Representations (/isis/citation/CBB001213333/) unapi

Book Emling, Shelley; (2009)
The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World (/isis/citation/CBB001031283/) unapi

Book Dingus, Lowell; Norell, Mark A.; (2010)
Barnum Brown: The Man Who Discovered Tyrannosaurus Rex (/isis/citation/CBB001023269/) unapi

Thesis Rieppel, Lukas Benjamin; (2012)
Dinosaurs: Assembling an Icon of Science (/isis/citation/CBB001567402/) unapi

Book Ilja Nieuwland; (2019)
American Dinosaur Abroad: A Cultural History of Carnegie’s Plaster Diplodocus (/isis/citation/CBB424808631/) unapi

Article Elizabeth D. Jones; (2019)
Assumptions of Authority: The Story of Sue the T-Rex and Controversy Over Access to Fossils (/isis/citation/CBB334696047/) unapi

Book Ina Heumann; Holger Stoecker; Marco Tamborini; Mareike Vennen; (2018)
Dinosaurierfragmente: Zur Geschichte der Tendaguru-Expedition und ihrer Objekte, 1906-2018 (/isis/citation/CBB168836588/) unapi

Article Chris Manias; (2017)
Progress in life's history: Linking Darwinism and palaeontology in Britain, 1860–1914 (/isis/citation/CBB426710736/) unapi

Chapter Howell, Alan C.; (2005)
James Lomax (1857--1934): Palaeobotanical Catalyst or Hindrance? (/isis/citation/CBB000774538/) unapi

Article Laura Colli; Antonella Salvini; Elena Pecchioni; Sandra Cencetti; (2017)
Conservation of Paleontological Finds: the Restoration Materials of the “Problematica Verrucana” (/isis/citation/CBB575061092/) unapi

Article Edward P.F. Rose; (2021)
British military contributions to the geology of Malta, Part 1: Nineteenth century (/isis/citation/CBB294782668/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Biagioli, Mario
Ritvo, Harriet
Beckert, Sven
Tamborini, Marco
Howell, Alan C.
Dingus, Lowell
Journals
Earth Sciences History: Journal of the History of the Earth Sciences Society
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
Journal of Literature and Science
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Social Studies of Science
Publishers
University of California Press
Palgrave Macmillan
Harvard University
Florida State University
Wallstein Verlag
Columbia University Press
Concepts
Paleontology
Fossils
Dinosaurs
Natural history
Museums
Earth sciences
People
Doyle, Arthur Conan
Lomax, James
Brown, Barnum
Heilmann, Gerhard
Anning, Mary
Marsh, Othniel Charles
Places
United States
Great Britain
Germany
Denmark
Missouri (U.S.)
Wyoming (U.S.)
Times
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
18th century
21st century
20th century, late
Institutions
University of Wyoming
Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin
Comments

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment