Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 69.djvu/31

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27
COLLECTION OF METEORITES

The assemblage is a striking and forcible tribute to Professor Ward's enthusiasm and persistency. A moment's reflection upon the order of events in the history of this great American collection of meteorites is not without interest. Professor Ward had been known as the indefatigable explorer of the continents and seas of the earth

PSM V69 D031 Ngourema meteorite of sudan fell june 15 1900.png

N'Gourema Meteorite, Soudan, Central Africa. Fell June 15, 1900.

for all kinds of natural objects by which our American museums have so largely profited, but it was not until he had disposed of the great collection of natural history specimens which he exhibited at the International Exposition at Chicago in 1893 that he felt free to seize an individual field of study and enterprise. His mind had been deeply moved by the appeal made to it by these mute messengers from space, and a certain challenge offered by them to his ingenuity and skill to find and possess them. He gave himself over literally to this pursuit with a single-minded persistence that only success could reward. Professor Ward has played the part of exchanger to its fullest limits. In this he has acted upon a very acute design. In all large museums and with most active collectors, there are specimens that, as Professor Ward puts it, 'money could not dislodge.' Only the actual offer of pieces as rare, or more rare, and to which all approach was absolutely closed, except by the avenue of exchange, could displace them. Under such pressure Professor Ward has happily gathered into his possession many a piece of celestial iron or stone, which otherwise would have remained as immovable as Fitz-James before his less capable assailants.

But practical and effective as has been exchange, as a means to an end, the infallible efficacy of money has been no less powerful. The actual expenditure has been very great, and in this pursuit, as in war, the cost for a successful issue must not be counted. Professor Ward enjoyed two unusual opportunities for suddenly increasing the size of his collection. The Gregory collection in England and the Siemaschko collection in Russia, vying with each other as the largest private collections in Europe, fell into his hands at the death of their owners, and