Artifacts & Documents: Pictures and Paintings

Illustration of a Skeleton, Orra White Hitchcock

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Orra White Hitchcock's illustration of "Mastodon Maximus" was used by her husband Edward Hitchcock in his geology and natural history classes at Amherst College. While she drew plants, shells, and fossils directly from nature, Orra did not work from her own observations of the skeleton, as there were no mastodon skeletons in Amherst or nearby. As was frequently the practice of the time in such a case, she copied illustrations of others. "Cuv." beneath the drawing refers to the work of Baron Georges Cuvier, the French anatomist and ground-breaking scientist in the study of fossils.

Orra White Hitchcock
c. 1828-1840
59 x 93 cm.
pen and ink on linen
Courtesy of:
Edward and Orra White Hitchcock Papers, Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library