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Academy publishes first biography of artist-naturalist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins
Date:7/17/2008

ed the world to "dinosauromania." In 1868, he wowed the world again by assembling the first reasonably complete dinosaur skeleton found anywhere in the world, Hadrosaurus foulkii, unearthed in Haddonfield, N.J., and displayed at The Academy of Natural Sciences. In November, the Academy, the oldest natural science research museum in the Americas, will mark the 150th anniversary of the scientific description of Hadrosaurus by remounting its cast.

"All In The Bones" points out that the articulated skeletons of dinosaurs and life-size models of how they may once have appeared are now so common in natural history museums that people take them for granted. But until Hawkins created such things in the second half of the 19th century, dinosaurs and their kin were little known, poorly understood, and of little interest to all but a handful of professional paleontologists. Through a series of public displays in Great Britain and the U.S., Hawkins almost single-handedly ignited a popular interest in dinosaurs and other forms of prehistoric life that continues to the present day.

Hawkins' Work in America

During his ten years in America (1868-1878), Hawkins designed exhibit halls for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and began to create an enormous paleontological museum for New York City. The museum was to have been in Central Park. It was destroyed in 1871 by "Boss" Tweed, a corrupt politician, who wasn't adequately compensated for his patronage. Following the tragic loss of his studio at the hands of Tweed's vandals, Hawkins moved to Princeton N.J., where he created a series of large oil paintings of prehistoric life for Princeton University.

"All In the Bones: A Biography of Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins" is available at the Academy Shop. It also can be purchased by mail by sending a check made out to "The Academy of Natural Sciences" and sent to: Academy Publications (Hawkins Book), The Academy of Natural Sciences, 19
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Contact: Carolyn Belardo
belardo@ansp.org
215-299-1043
The Academy of Natural Sciences
Source:Eurekalert  

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