18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Tuesday, April 22, 1913: Just one more day and then my school days will be ended. I believe I’ll feel rather sorry when they are all past. I hope it will be nice tomorrow and everything goes off all right in the evening.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
One more day until graduation! The exhilaration Grandma felt the previous week about the end of school now seems tempered with the realization that those days were behind her and that there were things about school that she’d miss.
Grandma sounded a bit nervous about the graduation ceremony. She probably hoped that her speech on The Relics of the Earth’s Past would go well.
Yesterday’s post explored her speech topic. Vanbraman wrote a comment, and suggested that it might have been about the Bone Wars or been inspired by a book published in 1912 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle called The Lost World.
I had never heard of either the Bone Wars or the book, so I did a little research.
A hundred years ago there was an incredible amount of interest in dinosaurs and dinosaur bones.
The Bone Wars refer to a period in the late 1800s when there were several major expeditions that searched for dinosaur bones. There was a rivalry between two paleontologists, Orthniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope, to discover additional bones. They both were very secretive, and accused the other of stealing bones and exploration sites. Each claimed that the other was not a credible scientist. For example, Marsh claimed that Cope put the head on the wrong end of a dinosaur. However, the field as a whole benefited from their many discoveries and the feud increased the interest of the public in dinosaurs.
According to Wikipedia, The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a superb piece of science fiction about an expedition to the rain forests of Brazil in search of living dinosaurs. The book was republished in 2012 in honor of the hundredth anniversary of its original publication.
As happens so often, I’m ending up with more questions than answers. Was Grandma’s graduation speech about evolution (pro? . . or . . con?) like I thought yesterday. . . or was it about paleontology and dinosaurs? . . .. or something else?