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By Jane Maienschein

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Three sketches from Frank Leslie's journal of August 23, 1873, showing scenes from the Anderson School of Natural History at Penikese: Louis Agassiz at the blackboard with chalk in hand, gentlemen dissecting a fish, and a room in the ladies' dormitory. Drawings by Albert Berghaus, MBL Archives. Page 9 In 1873 Boston, like much of America, was in the throes of popular enthusiasm for science when Agassiz arrived. The publicity in the second half of the nineteenth century for the notorious race for dinosaur bones by Yale's Othniel Marsh and Pennsylvania's Edward Drinker Cope had intensified public awareness of evolution theory and zoology generally.

The photographer that the MBL first added to the staff in 1897 did not replace practical everyday drawing for quite some time. Page 8 A tremendous popular success, Louis Agassiz liked the United States and determined, after the death of his first wife, to settle in Boston. There he married Elizabeth Cabot Cary, later president of Radcliffe College. In 1847 he became established at Harvard University, where he founded the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Always an opponent of evolution, his students once suggested to him that a debate between evolutionists and nonevolutionists might prove illuminating, all in the spirit of open scientific discussion and the search for truth, of course.

The press attended the school's opening in force, for Agassiz recognized a good show and invited them in. Students, relatives, and members of the press all gathered in New Bedford* to take a special steamer to Penikese for a day. Agassiz was giving a scientific party. At the laboratory of the new school, he presented a dedicatory address, which was widely acclaimed as "inspiring" and "beautiful" and as a ''silent prayer," immortalized in John Greenleaf Whittier's often-cited ode "The Prayer of Agassiz," which reflects the ideals of the time: *Unless otherwise indicated, all places mentioned are situated in Massachusetts.

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