200 Years. 200 Stories. Story 67: “Back in Time ”

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1909 photo of amateur entomologist
Members of the Feldman Collecting Social in the main exhibit hall of the Academy in 1909. (Photo courtesy of Eleanore Sue Matuskowitz.)

Back in Time

This 1907 photograph captures a group of dignified gentlemen posing under the impressive antlers of an Irish Elk in the main exhibit hall of the Academy. The group was the Feldman Collecting Social, a local entomological club, and the occasion was its 20th anniversary. At the time of the club’s founding, Philadelphia was already home to the older and more prestigious American Entomological Society. However, according to an article from 1896, “…it long ago became apparent to the younger entomologists of Philadelphia that there was room for another society having for its subject the fostering of social features which they seemed to recognize would not be in keeping with the dignity of a society of world-wide reputation.”

Apparently, the “social features” mentioned in the article referred to the light meal that followed the group’s monthly meetings. After sharing their latest finds and discussing techniques for capturing and preserving their quarry, the group would “adjourn to the annex” where refreshments were served and conversation continued late into the night.

Bugs are still on the menu at the Academy. Stop in to see Bugs… Outside the Box: Discover the Art Within the Science, our newest exhibit featuring enormous, scientifically accurate insect sculptures by noted Italian artist Lorenzo Possenti. They are accompanied by live bugs and live entomologists!

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