Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/551

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535
THE PHILADELPHIA ACADEMY.

Maclure to New Harmony, where he remained as agent after the failure, until his death in 1827. Thomas Say was the father of American entomology, and his papers on other departments of zoölogy were numerous and valuable.

The first meetings of the Academy were held at the house of Mr. Speakman, and afterward a few occurred in a public-house known as the "Mercers' Cake-Shop," but, as custom demanded that all frequenting the place should become patrons, and fearing that the society would forsake the paths of science and degenerate into a gastronomic club, more secluded quarters were secured over a millinery-store on Second Street, near Race, and there was formed the nucleus of the present large library and collections. Dr. John Barnes was the first member elected, and it is related that, on the occasion of his first taking his seat as a member, the seven founders, who had constituted themselves a committee of management, withdrew to transact some business, leaving him alone to constitute a meeting of the Academy. In the first year of its existence the society came in possession of the Seybert collection of minerals, at a cost of $750.

The growth of the collections soon demanded increased accommodations, and a larger room was hired, on the opposite side of the street, which was occupied until August, 1815, when the society moved into a building erected for them on Arch Street, near Second. In 1817 a charter was obtained, and the same year the publication of a journal containing the scientific papers presented to the Academy was begun. In 1826 the library and museum had again outgrown their quarters, and the Swedenborgian church, at the corner of Twelfth and Sansom Streets, was purchased and adapted to the needs of the society at a cost of about $6,000. Several members opposed the purchase of this property, and Mr. Maclure, when called upon to subscribe, at first declined, giving as a reason his belief that the "community system" would prevail, Philadelphia be deserted, and that those who lived long enough would "see the foxes looking out of the windows." He eventually gave several hundred dollars. This building was occupied by the Academy fourteen years, when a return of the old trouble, a lack of room, necessitated a new building, which was accordingly erected on the corner of Broad and Sansom Streets, and first occupied in February, 1840. Seven years later it was found necessary to enlarge the building, to accommodate the Duc di Rivoli collection of birds, numbering 12,000 specimens, which were presented by Dr. Wilson, who also bore the expense of the enlargement. The building was again enlarged in 1854~'55, the expense being borne by subscription. In 1868 a lot was purchased on Nineteenth, Race, and Cherry Streets, containing more than an acre, at a cost of $65,000. The corner-stone of a new building was laid with appropriate ceremonies October 30, 1872. The society held their first meeting in this edifice January 11, 1876.

The portion of the building at present erected and occupied by the