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NATHANIEL SOUTHGATE SHALER SIGNED NOTE, PALEONTOLOGIST, GEOLOGIST, SLAVERY, EVOLUTION

$200.00

Description

NATHANIEL SOUTHGATE SHALER (1841-1906) SIGNED NOTE, “N. S. Shaler”, on a card 4 x 2.5, by the American paleontologist and geologist who wrote extensively on the theological and scientific implications of the theory of evolution. He studied at Harvard under Louis Agassiz and would go on to become a Harvard professor of paleontology for two decades (1869-88) and as a professor of geology for nearly two more (1888-1906). Early in his professional career Shaler was broadly a creationist and anti-Darwinist. This was largely out of deference to the brilliant but old fashioned Agassiz. When Shaler’s own position at Harvard was secure, he gradually accepted Darwinism in principle but viewed it through a neo-Lamarckian lens, the notion that a parent can pass on to its offspring physical characteristics that the parent organism acquired through use or disuse during its lifetime. Shaler published work describing the physical geography of different continents and linking these geologic settings to the intelligence and strength of human races that inhabited these spaces. Even though he was a Union officer during the American Civil War he was an apologist for slavery and an outspoken believer in the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race. In his later career, Shaler continued to support Agassiz’s polygenism, a now disproven theory of human origins that was often used to support racial discrimination, falling under the category of scientific racism. He was a prolific author with subjects ranging from topological surveys to moral philosophy. His handwritten note, in full: “My dear sir – I am not a sentimental person.” The card is in fine condition, with minor age toning.

$200   #12636