The Quest for Knowledge: Lewis in Philadelphia

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Philadelphia in 2003: the time, place, plans, schedules, photos, memories, and highlights of the Annual Meeting
 

Descriptions of the Papers and Talks Presented at the Annual Meeting

SUNDAY
Philanthropy, Agricultural Reform, and Republican Political Economy: The Work of the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture During the Era of Lewis and Clark
Shawn Kimmel, Library Company of Philadelphia
Kimmel examines the influence of the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture on the philanthropic and civic life of the city, and the work of agricultural reformers such as Lewis' friend William Hamilton and the relation to the Expedition.

Displaying the Expanding Nation to Itself: The Cultural Work of Public Exhibitions of Western Fauna in Lewis and Clark's Philadelphia
Brett Mizelle, California State University
Mizelle traces the Lewis and Clark collected articles to Jefferson to C. W. Peale's museum. The problems of developing interest in displaying the expanding nation to itself are explored.

"Our Future Metropolis": Philadelphia on the Edge of the Nineteenth Century
Michal McMahon, West Virginia University
McMahon intends to "extract" a vision of the l9th-century metropolis, contrasting it to Jefferson's vision of farmers and farming.

Early Urban Water Supply in Philadelphia: A First in Municipal Responsibility
Jane Mork Gibson, Industrial Historian
The paper reports the “why's and wherefores" of the Philadelphia Water Works as the first central water system in the US, including supply and health aspects.

Jefferson's Philadelphia: Setting the Stage for Lewis and Clark, An Illustrated Lecture
Robert Peck, Fellow of the Academy of Natural Sciences
In his keynote address, naturalist, historian, and Philadelphia native Robert Peck will describe the people, the setting and the intellectual climate of Philadelphia at the time of Lewis' historic visit to the city. He will discuss how the Lewis and Clark expedition was shaped by Lewis' Philadelphia experiences, and explain the critically important role the city and its institutions played in disseminating - and preserving - information about the findings of the expedition following its return.

MONDAY
Quadrature of the Lune: Surveying the Life of Andrew Ellicott
Barry Rauhauser, Lancaster County Historical Society
Utilizing the works of an artist to gain a deeper insight into the artist's life is unavoidable. Poems often suggest the subconscious life of the poet just as brush strokes might hint at the hidden desires of the painter. In much the same way, the products of science provide an inward examination of the scientist. The only difference is the language we must decode to get at the heart of the individual. For Andrew Ellicott this scientific language consists of circles and squares, of long, invisible lines through forests, of a ten-mile square along the Potomac, and of seemingly infinite mathematical equations. But this rather cold world of numbers and objective study is full of philosophical undertones that greatly influenced Ellicott. A study of the science surrounding Andrew Ellicott's world helps to explain his struggles with his Quaker beliefs, his strong attachment and commitment to family, and his search and acceptance of truth in all matters of life. Analyzing Ellicott's world of geometric equations, surveying instruments, and mathematical puzzles offers a deeper look at the man who set many of the geographic boundaries of the United States.

Lewis and Clark's Contributions to Meteorological Science
Terry Nathan, University of California, Davis
Lewis and Clark's weather observations, particularly at Fort Mandan and Fort Clatsop, will be compared to present day climatology to determine the extent to which their weather experiences were anomalous. Weather data recorded in the Lewis and Clark journals together with proxy data obtained, for example, from historical records of Nile River floods, and anomalies in the Indian Monsoon, will be used to construct a picture of regional and global weather patterns for the winters of 1805 and 1806. Using statistical techniques this information will be compared to present day climate data for the Fort Mandan and Fort Clatsop regions.

Mineral Productions of Every Kind: The Geological Education of Meriwether Lewis and Observations of Western Geology in the Journals of Lewis and Clark
John W. Jengo, PG
Throughout the Expedition, Lewis and Clark methodically noted a wide array of rock types, diligently recorded the appearance of coal and important minerals, made inspired sedimentological inferences on river depositional processes, and speculated intelligently on erosional phenomena. Meriwether Lewis' principal geological mentors were Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Smith Barton, and Andrew Ellicott. Richard Kirwan's Elements of Mineralogy was the primary mineralogical reference book. The education Lewis received in Philadelphia enabled the captains to record a remarkably complete and relatively continuous account of the geological terrain of the Expedition's route that effectively fulfilled Jefferson's mineralogical instructions

Dignified and Civil Inquiry: Dr. Caspar Wistar in Philadelphia, the Athens of the Western World
Nina P. Long
, Wistar Institute
Lewis consulted with Caspar Wistar, a scientific and social leader in Philadelphia, in the area of natural history and fossil remains. The paper will explore Wistar's role as a member of the leadership community in Philadelphia, arguing that his style of scientific inquiry fit with that of Philadelphia rather than with the "more adventuresome striking forth" which we see with Lewis and Clark.

TUESDAY
Benjamin Rush and the Medical Theorists of the 18th Century

Charles Greifenstein, College of Physicians of Philadelphia
The speaker will review the life of Benjamin Rush, noting his interests, public service and controversies.

Philadelphia: Medical Mecca and Science's Hometown
Nancy V. Webster, Historical Consultant
The paper will address the preeminence of Philadelphia as the center for knowledge and experimentation related to the interaction with the Lenapes (Delaware Indians) and with the Friends (Quakers).

Supplies from Philadelphia
Frank Muhly, LCTHF Board Member
The merchants, their location and the supplies Lewis procured in Philadelphia will be discussed. Some will be discussed in detail as they receive special mention in the journals.

Food and the Corps of Discovery: Philadelphia Planning and Provisioning
Leandra Holland
The food history of the expedition is examined in this paper with an eye to strategies for selecting, packing, and transporting food and liquor on the journey. Attention will be given to the medical/nutrition advice Lewis received from Rush. The edible botanical specimens Lewis collected and their fate will be discussed.

WEDNESDAY
"I Never Yet Parted": Bernard McMahon and the Seeds of the Corps of Discovery
Robert Cox, American Philosophical Society
The seedsman Bernard McMahon played a discreet, but vital role in facilitating the botanical study and (unwittingly) the publi
cation of the botanical results of the Corps of Discovery. An Irish immigrant and political radical, he cultivated a relationship with ThomasJefferson based upon a similar political and scientific outlook and rooted in the exchange of gifts of books and plants, becoming the key figure in cultivating the seeds brought back from the Louisiana Territory.

Nineteenth Century Scientific Opinion of Lewis and Clark
Andrew Lewis, American University
Early republican natural history in Philadelphia is examined by focusing on interpretive disputes and contested rules of evidence. Building on historians John C. Greene, Whitfield Bell and others, this paper examines early natural history controversies.

Benjamin Smith Barton's Elements of Botany(1803): A Retrospective Book Review
Eric v. d. Luft, Curator Health Sciences Library, SUNY, Syracuse _
Lewis met with Barton in Philadelphia in May of 1803 and took Barton's Elements of Botany with him on the expedition. This book was the state-of-the-art volume concerning botany at the time and included the most recent adjustment to Linnaeus's classification scheme. The paper argues that the volume reflects what Lewis would have learned from this eminent botanist.

The Ethnobotanical and Medical Aspects of the Botanical Specimens Collected by Lewis and Clark
Ara DerMarderosian, Ph.D., University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
The paper will describe the examination, review and updating of the medical and pharmacological activity of the 177 Lewis and Clark Herbarium specimens in the Academy of Natural Sciences collection, including uses by Native Americans. Those of medicinal value, reported with poisonous or toxicity problems, used as food, used today, etc will be discussed.

The Eminence of an Opulent City: Birch's views and the Image of Philadelphia at the Turn of the l9th Century
Emily Cooperman, University of Pennsylvania
Birch's book is "both a physical and ideological" guide to Philadelphia in the early 19th century. This talk analyzes the publication as both a reflection of and a bid to shape the image (and the future) of the city of Philadelphia at the turn of the l9th century, a period that saw the removal of the national and state governments and increasing commercial activity in rival port cities.

Reflections on Meriwether Lewis: A Country Boy in the Big City
Dayton Duncan, Writer and Filmmaker
Dayton Duncan's perceptive ins¦ghts on Meriwether Lewis and the time he spent in Philadelphia will be the subject of the Closing Keynote Address. Mr. Duncan will also reflect on his own journey from a small town in lowa to attend the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, which mirrored Lewis' journey to the city 164 years earlier to receive essential scientific training from the mentors of Philadelphia.

Updated August 31, 2003
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