“Eggs Procured from the Indians”:
The Natural History Collections of
C.B.R. Kennerly, 1857-61
Presented by Jack Nisbet
Caleb Kennerly was medical doctor with a college connection to Spencer Baird, the first director of the Smithsonian Institute. That acquaintance led to Kennerly’s serving as surgeon-naturalist for the U.S. Boundary Commission, and a treasure trove of early fish, mammal, and bird specimens shipped back to the Smithsonian.
This slide presentation will focus on Kennerly’s travels through the Inland Northwest just before the Civil War, and all the birds he saw along the way.
Spokane-based teacher and naturalist Jack Nisbet is the author of several books that explore the human and natural history of the Intermountain West, including the story collection Purple Flat Top and Singing Grass Burning Sage, an illustrated exploration of the flora and fauna of the dry side of the Cascade Range. His essay book Visible Bones won awards from the Washington State Library Association and the Seattle Times.
Since 1994, Nisbet has worked extensively on Northwest fur agent and geographer David Thompson, participating in canoe brigades, presentations, four documentary films, and a major museum exhibit. He has also produced two books that detail Thompson’s travels and cartography west of the Continental Divide: Sources of the River and The Mapmaker’s Eye.
Nisbet’s recent focus on the naturalist David Douglas resulted in The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest, which the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association named as one of their 2010 Books of the Year. Since then Nisbet and his wife Claire have curated a museum exhibit built around Douglas’s journeys through this region. David Douglas: A Naturalist at Work will run at the Tacoma’s Washington State History Museum through May 2014. The companion book to this exhibit, an illustrated collection of essays with the same title, aims to connect Douglas’s vision of the Northwest landscape to what we see today.