WHEN the Henry Shaw School of Botany was inaugurated as a department of Washington University in 1885 the venerable Dr. Eliot, then president of the board of directors and chancellor of the university, said that more than forty years earlier, five or six young men, of whom he was one, met together on Main Street, near Chestnut, in the office of Judge Mary P. Leduc, their object being to found an academy of science: "But," he said, "not one of our number knew enough of science to found a primary school, except Dr. George Engelmann, who was an enthusiastic student, especially in botanical research, and who inspired us all with something of his zeal. We organized a society and proceeded to purchase five or six acres of ground, far out of the city, I think near Eighth Street and Chouteau Avenue. There Dr. Engelmann began a botanical garden and arboretum on a small scale. It was kept up, after a fashion, for some years, but the society faded out and the land was sold, and apparently there was an end of the academy; but under the law of the survival of the fittest. Dr. Engelmann 'survived' and became an Academy of Science in himself."
Engelmann, however, was not the kind of man to work indefinitely without closer association with the few other St. Louis men interested in science than was afforded by chance, and on March 10, 1856, after several preliminary meetings, the existing Academy of Science of St. Louis was organized. It is recorded that the men in attendance at the meeting for organization were, in addition to Dr. Engelmann, who acted as chairman, Charles P. Chouteau, James B. Eads, Nathaniel Holmes, Moses L. Linton, William M. McPheeters, Moses M. Pallen, Simon Pollak, Charles A. Pope, Hiram A. Prout, Benjamin F. Shumard, Charles W. Stevens, William H. Tingley, John H. Watters and Adolphus Wislizenus.
A previously appointed committee, consisting of Tingley, Prout, Shumard and Holmes, reported a constitution and by-laws, which were adopted. The original constitution, which was amended somewhat in the course of the first year, consists of six articles, referring respectively to style, objects, members, officers, meetings and amendments. The second article is so important that it is here quoted in full: