The entomologist, Benjamin Dann Walsh, was a contemporary of Charles Darwin. Both men received degrees from Cambridge University, England, but Walsh eventually emigrated to the U.S., settling in Illinois at a time when not a single entomological library existed in the state. Thus, for information regarding insect natural history, taxonomy, etc., Walsh relied heavily on his own observations and his correspondence with notable entomologists and naturalists including John LeConte, Baron Osten Sacken, and Darwin. Unlike other entomologists of his generation, Walsh was an early proponent of Darwin's theory of species origin and unhesitatingly defended Darwin's views both publicly and in private letters.
Our poster presents highlights of Walsh's defense of Darwinian evolution and Darwin's response to Walsh's efforts of support. We include excerpts (witty yet decidedly caustic) from Walsh's publications and / or correspondence regarding those he termed the "New England School of Naturalists" (i.e., Louis Agassiz; his assistant, Samuel Hubbard Scudder; and Louis' son, Alexander Aggasiz, all at Harvard University; and James Dwight Dana, of Yale University). We also present the issues underlying the controversy that surrounded Darwin's revolutionary theory.
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