Wednesday, January 21, 2009


You're Doing Fine

Here is a strange little fact about Oklahoma University:

Kerry Magruder, the curator of the History of Science Collections, said the university is one of the few in the world with a complete collection of Darwin's works in first edition.

Some, including a first edition of Darwin's report on the HMS Beagle's expedition, during which he saw the wonders of flora and fauna on the Galapagos Islands, are priceless. OU is one of the few places in the world with complete copies. The work is being digitally scanned so that it may be available for scholars around the world, Magruder said.

"You can count the collections that have all the first editions on one hand," Magruder said.

Of course, there is nothing strange about any university lusting after first editions of the works of one of the greatest and most influential scientists of all time. But it just seems a bit off-kilter somehow that one of the very best such collections should wind up in a state-supported school in one of the reddest of Red States where, at this very moment, the state legislature that doles out the money to the university is considering another one of those "academic freedom" paeans to misdirection.

Well, at least for the moment, kudos to Oklahoma!

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