Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/95

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87
DAVENPORT ACADEMY OF NATURAL SCIENCES.

young society's work. In one of his presidential addresses before the academy, Dr. Parry emphasized the importance of three things to be held constantly in mind toward which to work. These were (1) a home, (2) a complete local collection, (3) publication. These three aims have ever been before the academy. We have seen how they gained the first; the second has been in view from the very inception of the society; the third began early to be agitated.

The election of a schoolboy to membership in a scientific society might seem to mean little, but to the Davenport Academy it meant much. One of the charter members of the academy. Prof. Pratt, was writing teacher in the public schools, giving instruction from building to building. At times he told the scholars to write anything they might have in mind on slips of paper and to hand them in to him. On one such occasion a boy not fourteen years of age wrote the words Davenport Academy of Natural Sciences. On inquiry. Prof. Pratt found that the boy had read of the academy in the newspapers and wanted to know what it was. When told of the meetings and collecting excursions he desired to become a member, but only if his mother could become one also.

PSM V51 D095 J Duncan Putnam.jpg
Fig. 4.—J. Duncan Putnam.

The question of lady members had not before been raised, but now posed it was soon solved. J. Duncan Putnam and his mother were elected to membership, June 2, 1869. The ardent enthusiasm of the schoolboy and the mother's love were to do more for the academy than the few members voting at that meeting could realize. It was this mother's interest that led to the second rented room, to the donation by ladies in 1875 of new cases and carpets, to the gift by a woman in 1877 of the lot, and to much of the energy and interest displayed by the townspeople since. It was the boy's enthusiasm and the mother's love that led to the publication. Impelled by Dr. Parry's words and his own feeling of its importance, J, Duncan Putnam on November 26, 1875, then a boy of nineteen, urged the academy to publish Proceedings. A committee was appointed to look into the matter and to devise means if possible to carry out the plan. December 20th a company of ladies—the Women's Centennial Association—agreed to see that the first