These short essays set the events related to the 19th century discovery of dinosaur footprint in a wider historical and intellectual context. How did this discovery fit into and expand 19th century thinking and culture?
While many factors affected early nineteenth century women’s ability to function in the arts and sciences, perhaps most profound was the idea of “separate spheres.”
It may seem obvious to us today that the marks in the sandstones found in the Connecticut River Valley were made by dinosaurs. However, obviousness is in the eye of the beholder.
19th century geological findings produced impressions on the culture as indelible as the fossil footprints embedded in the rocks of New England’s Connecticut River Valley.
Necessity drove the early settlers to clear land and to hunt wildlife and ambitions for wealth drove the great mineral booms, but justification for all could readily be found in Scripture, where mankind was promised dominion over the earth and its products.
God was author of both Scripture and nature, and hence a contradiction between the two works was impossible so long as both were understood properly.
Change and growth after the Revolution had a great impact on the lives of New Englanders and other Americans.
In the early to mid-19th century, the sciences did not yet offer a professional pathway, but scientific activities and pastimes were popular and occasionally even led to a better life.