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ELLIOTT COUES - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 10/31/1879 - HFSID 32661

ELLIOTT COUES The famed scientist pens this letter in which he writes about science and gives his own opinions Autograph Letter Signed: "Elliott Coues" in iron gall ink. 7½x9¾. Dated: October 31, 1879. Place: Washington, D.C.

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ELLIOTT COUES

The famed scientist pens this letter in which he writes about science and gives his own opinions

Autograph Letter Signed: "Elliott Coues" in iron gall ink. 7½x9¾. Dated: October 31, 1879. Place: Washington, D.C. Elliott Ladd Coues (1842-1899) was an American army surgeon, historian, author and ornithologist. He graduated at Columbia University in 1861 and at the Medical school of that institution in 1863. Coues served as a medical cadet in Washington in 1862-1863, and in 1864 was appointed assistant-surgeon in the regular army. In 1872 he published his Key to North American Birds, which once revised and rewritten in 1884 and 1901, did much to promote the systematic study of ornithology in America. Elliott was a member of the American Ornithologists' Union in 1883, and his work was essential to establish the currently accepted standards of trinomial nomenclature-the taxonomic classification of subspecies-in ornithology, and ultimately the whole of zoology. In 1873-1876 he was attached as surgeon and naturalist to the United States Northern Boundary Commission and in 1876-1880 was secretary and naturalist to the United States Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories, the publications of which he edited. Elliott was lecturer on anatomy in the medical school of the Columbian University in 1877-1882, and professor of anatomy there in 1882-1887. Coues was a careful bibliographer and in his work on the Birds of the Colorado Valley he included a special section on swallows and attempted to resolve whether they migrated in winter or hibernated under lakes as was believed at the time. After his resignation from the army in 1881 he devoted himself entirely to do scientific research. He was a founder of the American Ornithologists'Union and edited its organ, The Auk, and several other ornithological periodicals. In addition to ornithology he did valuable work in mammalogy . Later, he took interest in spiritualism and began speculations in Theosophy and after visiting Madame Blavatsky in Europe, he founded the Gnostic Theosophical Society of Washington, and in 1890 he became the president of the Esoteric Theosophical Society of America. Nevertheless, around this time he also exposed Blavatsky and lost interest in the theosophical movement. Coues died in Baltimore, Maryland. Tape residue on verso. Multiple mailing folds. Slightly toned and soiled. Otherwise, fine condition.

  

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