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Henry Dresser and Victorian OrnithologyBirds, Books and Business$
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Henry A. McGhie

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781784994136

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784994136.001.0001

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(p.232) 14 Time for a change
Henry Dresser and Victorian Ornithology

Henry A. McGhie

Manchester University Press

This chapter reveals how ornithology had become divided into factions, with Dresser occupying a distinctive position as one of the last independent naturalists. The British Ornithologists Union had its 50th anniversary in 1909; this showed how the BOU had become rather left behind in the face of competition from the American school of ornithology. Bird and egg collecting were the source of a great debate that ran for some time in the Times. Dresser took part in the commemorations of Darwin’s birth and the publication of On the Origin of Species through his friendship with Alfred Russel Wallace. He was again accused of theft by the British Museum (Natural History). Dresser took part in one last book project, to standardise the names of the birds that had occurred in Britain in line with more modern naming practices.

Keywords:   museums, scientific societies, commemorative events, Charles Darwin, Alfred Wallace

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