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Autograph letter signed to Edmund Belfour

Clift, William

Published by Regent's Park, 1846
From Jeremy Norman's historyofscience (Novato, CA, U.S.A.)

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Clift, William (1775-1849). A.L.s. to Edmund Belfour. Regent's Park, October 9, 1845. 1 page. 208 x 128 mm. Light creasing where previously folded, faint uneven browning. From William Clift, assistant to the celebrated surgeon and anatomist John Hunter and custodian of Hunter's collections of scientific materials after Hunter's death in 1793. In 1800 Clift was named the first curator of the Royal College of Surgeons' Hunterian Museum, based on Hunter's collections; the Hunterian now one of the world's greatest museums of comparative anatomy, pathology, osteology and natural history. Hunter's purpose in forming the museum had been to display the processes of life through examples drawn from the whole animal kingdom, both extant and fossil, arranged according to the functional systems of the body-skeletal, muscular, nervous, digestive, and reproductive-in both normal and pathologic conditions. Clift's achievement was the organization of this educative display, applying by his own manual skill the best technical methods of the day and adding to Hunter's collection in order to embrace advancing knowledge without overloading it or altering Hunter's scheme. Under Clift's charge the museum attracted worldwide interest and redirected the method and purpose of museum display. Clift became an acknowledged authority in comparative anatomy, especially in the identification of fossil bones, and helped to formulate the scientific basis of paleontology (DSB). In his letter to Edmund Belfour of the Royal College of Surgeons, Clift pleads ill health as an excuse for reneging on his promise to visit the Royal College of Surgeons. Bookseller Inventory # 39556

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Autograph letter signed to Edmund Belfour

Publisher: Regent's Park

Publication Date: 1846

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