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An examination of the development of geology collections in the first half of the 19th century. It investigates the social motives of science and demonstrates that these, as much as any wish to pursue natural knowledge, determined what geology became, the process by which it evolved and those who participated. From individual collector, through evolving curatorial profession and provincial philosopher, to government-funded science, this is a story of financial imperatives, cultural supremacy, of a striving for immortality and for social progression. It begins by constructing a social setting for the phase of collecting and museum building which swept through the western world in the 1820s, and demonstrates how, within a relatively short time, this museum movement declined, to be replaced by local government funded museums and a new wave of field clubs.
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