In November, 1889, the Archaeological Association of the University of Pennsylvania was organized, and Dr. Brinton at once became a leading spirit in its councils, and by personal labor and influence materially advanced its progress. The formation of a museum is necessarily slow work, and too often fails through misdirected energy; but this has not been the fate of the undertaking in question. Looking upon such a museum as valuable in proportion to its collections being the result of exploration intelligently conducted, Brinton insisted, from the Very outset, that by such means, rather than by the purchase of collections or single specimens, should the work be carried on. His wise counsel has prevailed, and as material for the illustration of archaeological lectures, the university now possesses hundreds of objects of which every available fact with reference to their history is known.
Dr. Brinton's scientific work covers so broad a field that it is difficult for any one person to follow him wheresoever he leads; but if it be a safe guide to accept the general trend of criticism among archaeologists, ethnologists, and those learned in linguistic lore, he has touched upon no subject without throwing light thereon, and to-day, still young in years and vigorous both of mind and body, is preparing for further labors. American science and American letters may be proud of such a worker, for his position, both as a scientist and a littérateur, is no uncertain one.
Besides the two positions that he holds in Philadelphia, to which reference has been made, Dr. Brinton is President of the American Folk-lore Society and of the Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia; member of the Anthropological Societies of Berlin, and Vienna, and of the Ethnographical Societies of Paris and Florence; of the Royal Society of Antiquaries, Copenhagen; the Royal Academy of History of Madrid; the American Philosophical Society, the American Antiquarian Society, etc.
The aboriginal race of Tasmania, of which only a single survivor remains—if she be really of pure blood, which is doubted—was one of peculiar interest, for it continued down to our own times at a degree of culture hardly equal to that of the palaaolithic flint-workers. The making of rude stone implements and of baskets were almost the only arts they possessed. They made fire by the stick and drill; for ornaments they had strings of shell; and for weapons only the spear and the waddy. Their huts were slight, and they had no knowledge of agriculture. Dr. Tylor says that their life may give some idea of the conditions of the earliest prehistoric tribes of the Old World, except that they had a milder climate than the others and no large animals, and were in some arts rather below them. All the information respecting these people has been collected by Mr. H. Ling Roth for his book upon them.