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Crocodiles on the Ceiling

Wonder-rooms and curiosity cabinets appeared in the 1500s, as wealthy Europeans displayed objects and specimens collected during trading voyages and exploring expeditions. Books-such as these-allowed scientists and collectors to share their observations.



From Beschreibung von allerley insecten in Teutsch-Land by Johann L. Frisch. Berlin, 1730-1753.   Dr. Clyde Roper studies illustrations of squids in old natural history books to clarify species identifications and to determine historical species distributions.


Ferrante Imperato (1550-1625)
Dell'historia naturale . . .
Naples: C. Vitale, 1599. 12 p. l., 791 p. illus., double plate.

Dell'historia naturale . . .

Naples pharmacist Ferrante Imperato (1550-1625) formed one of Europes first natural history research collections. Here, he and his son Francesco show it off to visitors.

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Ernest Ingersoll (1852-1946)
Hand-book to the National Museum, under direction of the Smithsonian Institution
New York, Chicago and Washington: Brentano Brothers, 1886. 110, [28] p. : ill.

Hand-book to the National Museum, under direction of the Smithsonian Institution

Congress established the United States National Museum in 1879 to house and display the growing collections of the Smithsonian Institution.

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Lorenzo Legati
Museo Cospiano . . .
Bologna: Per G. Monti, 1677. 11 p. l., 532 p. illus., fold. pl., port.

Museo Cospiano . . .

Marchese Ferdinando Cospi (1606-1686) gave his collection to the city of Bologna in 1657 for the use of scholars.

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Ole Worm (1588-1654)
Museum Wormianum; seu, Historia rerum rariorum, tam naturalium, quam artificialium, tam domesticarum, quam exoticarum . . .
Leiden: ex officina Elseviriorum, 1655. 6 p. l., 389, [3] p. illus.

Museum Wormianum; seu, Historia rerum rariorum, tam naturalium, quam artificialium, tam domesticarum,  quam exoticarum . . .

Ole Worm (1588-1654), a doctor and professor of natural philosophy in Copenhagen, used his collection to teach students.

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