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Of Elephants & Roses: French Natural History, 1790-1830: Memoir 267 John Milton’s Roman Sojourns, 1638-1639: Neo-Latin Self-Fashioning: Transactions, APS (Volume 109, Part 4)
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Of Elephants & Roses: John Milton’s Roman Sojourns
This award-winning illustrated book explores the fascinating history of the natural sciences in the turbulent years of post-revolutionary and Restoration France, from Empress Josephine’s black swans and rare Franklinia tree to a giraffe that walked 480 miles across France to greet the king. It is the catalogue for an international loan exhibition held in 2011 at the APS Museum in Philadelphia and the record of an associated interdisciplinary symposium held at the American Philosophical Society (APS) on December 1-3, 2011. The essays, commentaries, and discussions present new perspectives on French natural history, its influence on French culture, and its ties to the natural sciences in North America. Contributors include art historians, historians of science, and scholars of French literature, history, and culture. Illus. This study examines the impact of Rome and its vibrant culture upon Milton in the course of two two-month sojourns in the city in 1638-1639. Focusing on his neo-Latin writings pertaining to that period, it presents new evidence of the academic, literary, and musical contexts surrounding Milton’s proactive integration into seicento Rome. Highlighting Milton’s self-fashioning as one who was hospitably embraced by Catholic Rome, this volume traces his networking with distinguished Italian humanists (upon whom he left no slight an impression). Not least, we read of Milton’s attested presence in the hub of Catholicism, the Vatican itself, and his language is fulsome, even excited.
Petroglyphs of the Northern Ute Indian Reservation as Interpreted by Clifford Duncan (American Philosophical Society Transactions 105 Part 5) Lunar Calendars of the Pre-Columbian Maya: Transactions, APS (Volume 109, Part 1)
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Petroglyphs of the Northern Ute Indian Reservation Lunar Calendars of the Pre-Columbian Maya
People must be educated about the rock art. That’s how it will be protected. —Clifford Duncan

Clifford Duncan, a Northern Ute elder, believed in educating the public to know and understand the meaning of Ute petroglyphs. By doing this, he believed it would help to preserve and protect them. Over the course of eight years, Clifford and the author visited and revisited all of these sites, discussing what they might represent. Clifford’s father was an Uncompahgre Ute and wanted Clifford to know the traditional homelands of the Uncompahgres in western Colorado. Clifford made special trips all through the Uncompahgre Plateau (by car, on foot, and on horseback), seeking out any Ute petroglyphs and cultural sites. Later in his life, he and the author visited many of the petroglyphs on the Uintah–Ouray Reservation, along Hill Creek and Willow Creek. These petroglyphs were authored by the Uncompahgre and White River Utes.

The interpretations of the petroglyphs of western Colorado and the Uintah– Ouray Reservation are supplemented with cultural and political history to provide a background context to Clifford’s interpretations. In addition, ethnographic information from other scholars provides readers with a deep appreciation as to what makes Ute petroglyphs so unique and fascinating.

Anthropologist Carol Patterson was Adjunct Professor for Colorado Mesa University and Metropolitan State University, Colorado. She is principal investigator for Urraca Archaeology, Montrose, Colorado. Recent publications include Shavano Valley Petroglyph Guide (2015) and “Concepts of Spirt in Rock Art According to Clifford Duncan, Ute Spiritual Elder,” in Sacred Landscapes, One World Archaeology Series (2014). Dr. Patterson’s earlier publications include Petroglyphs and Pueblo Myths of the Rio Grande and On the Trail of Spiderwoman, Pictographs and Petroglyphs of the Southwest (1997).
Pre-Columbian Maya interest in the waxing and waning of the Moon is well documented. This rare example of interdisciplinary scholarship brings together a deeply penetrating knowledge of positional astronomy and Maya hieroglyphic writing, two highly disparate areas of study, and synthesizes them into a thorough interpretation of the relationship between astronomical concepts in the Maya codices and monumental inscriptions. Prompted by the recent discovery of the Xulum 10K-2 lunar table, this volume is a logical follow-up to work published in 2011 by the Brickers, “Astronomy in the Maya Codices.” It is a comprehensive study of the Maya lunar calendar. Illus.
The House of Barnes: The Man, The Collection, The Controversy (Memoir Vol. 266) The Spirit of Inquiry in the Age of Jefferson: Transactions of the American Philosophical Society Volume 110, Part 2
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The House of Barnes The Spirit of Inquiry in the Age of Jefferson
The House of Barnes: The Man, The Collection, The Controversy is a beautifully written study of the extraordinary art collector and volatile personality Albert C. Barnes.  The book places him in the context of his own era, shedding new light on the ideas and movements (about art collecting, education, and aesthetics) that shaped so much of his thinking.

The Barnes’ major holdings of largely post-impressionist art include more than 800 paintings, with a strong focus on Renoir (181 canvases), Cézanne (69), Matisse (59), and Picasso (46 paintings and drawings). In its entirety, it is the greatest single collection of such art that has remained intact.  

The last chapters of the book address the controversial events surrounding the Barnes Foundation’s move to Philadelphia, including vehement opposition—as well as strong support. There is an analysis of the Foundation’s financial plight, a review of the major court cases over the decades, and a characterization of the fervent reactions following the court’s decision to allow the move to take place.

The monograph is recommended for a broad audience, including those interested in art and art collecting, the role of art in education, and the development of cultural institutions.
In commemoration of the 275th anniversary of the American Philosophical Society’s founding in 1743 and the birth of its long-time president, Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), the APS Library, along with the National Constitution Center, the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, and the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania held a symposium in June 2018 that explored the history of science, knowledge production, and learning during the Age of Jefferson. The volume contains papers from many of the presenters at the symposium. The chapters touch on an enormous range of topics and fields, much like Jefferson's own intellectual life. Also much like Jefferson, they are international in scope. Subjects range from inoculation to animal magnetism to Jewish migrants in the eighteenth century. Both books are a testament to the mission Jefferson served throughout his life and that both institutions still aim to serve today: “to promote useful knowledge.”



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Other Presidency: Thomas Jefferson

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Other Presidency: Thomas Jefferson
The Other Presidency: Thomas Jefferson and the American Philosophical Society, by Patrick Spero, With research assistance by Abigail Shelton and John Kenney.


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