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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy Birthday John Wesley Powell!

John Wesley Powell, an American explorer, teacher, soldier, ethnologist, founder and geologist, was born 176 years ago today, March 24, 1834. The Utes called Powell "Ka-pur-rats" meaning "arm off" in reference to Powell's Battle of Shiloh injury that resulted in the loss of his lower right arm. The "Indomitable Major" explored the Colorado and Green Rivers, established the Bureau of American Ethnology, led the United States Geological Survey and founded both the Cosmos Club in Washington and the Anthropological Society of Washington.

In honor of Powell's birthday, here are some lines from his poem "Immortality"

"Life's struggle won and all life's pleasure gained, A beatific vision fills his soul, Of self immersed in immortality; While through the wilderness he builds the ways, Transforming desert drear to Eden fair, But more himself transforms from brute to sage, In change from primal time to future age."

Powell's fieldwork and photographs are available at the National Anthropological Archives.

Leanda Gahegan, National Anthropological Archives

1 comment:

  1. while I was browsing through your John Wesley Powell photographs of I also found other related collections from other parts of the Smithsonian. This what I found:
    thanks fro sharing. :)