Artifacts & Documents: Printed Material

Addition to Ichnology of New England, Edward Hitchcock

zoomable artifact image here

Dig Deeper

Edward Hitchcock's defense of his claim to discovery of fossil footprints did not go over well in the Springfield Republican, so he added this appendix to his state report. That he went to such lengths shows how anguished he felt about the dispute and how badly he wanted to clear his name after being embarrassed by the newspaper:

"And were I alone concerned, I would bear all in silence; but I do feel, and ought to feel, a desire to leave to the children who may survive me; to the literary institution with which I have been connected for more than 30 years; and to the citizens of the Commonwealth, which has been so liberal and generous towards my scientific labors; I do desire to leave to them a character free from dishonorable imputation, and to let them know what I claim as to the footmarks, and on what ground I claim it. This has been the most laborious and difficult of the scientific labors in which I have engaged; and if I am to be set down as a copyist and plagiarist here, there is no other effort of my life on which such a charge may not be more justly fixed. I cannot, indeed, believe that those who make such charges to honor the dead, intend to do injustice to the living. But their sincerity does not make the effects less injurious to me and mine. Can I, then, do less, unpleasant as it is, than to attach this defence and protest to the last work on Ichnology which I shall ever publish?"

Edward Hitchcock
Courtesy of:
Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association Library