Ann Fabian will be coming to speak at the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation Seminar in New York and American Material Culture on Tuesday, November 5, 2013. Her talk is entitled “Collecting Frogs and Toads.”

Ann Fabian is Distinguished Professor of History at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She received her B.A. with highest honors in Philosophy at University of California, Santa Cruz, and her Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University. Fabian’s research focuses on the cultural history of the United States in the long nineteenth century. She has published books and essays on gambling, the history of the book, personal narratives, financial panics, ruined banks, and collections of human remains. Her publications include The Skull Collectors: Race, Science, and America’s Unburied Dead (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010); The Unvarnished Truth: Personal Narratives in Nineteenth-Century America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000); and Card Sharps, Dream Books & Bucket Shops: Gambling in Nineteenth-Century America (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991). Fabian’s work on burial and scientific collections of human bodies has led to an interest in American natural history, and she has begun research on a new book on the broad circles of early nineteenth-century collectors who traveled the world and found specimens for cabinets and museums.

Fabian’s talk at the BGC will explore the career of Mary Cynthia Dickerson (1866-1923), curator of herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). Dickerson spent a decade editing the American Museum Journal and helping to construct the dioramas that displayed bullfrogs, toads, and alligators. In her talk, Fabian will focus on Dickerson’s popular scientific writing, her collecting practices, and tracing the arc of a career that led Dickerson from rural Michigan to the University of Chicago, the labs at Woods Hole, the AMNH, and finally to the Manhattan State Asylum for the Insane. Fabian will discuss the ways Dickerson’s story brings together the history of science, the history of museum practices, and some aspects of the modernist turmoil more often associated with Greenwich Village than with the museum.

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm. The presentation will begin at 6:00 pm.

RSVP is required.

PLEASE NOTE that our Lecture Hall can only accommodate a limited number of people, so please come early if you would like to have a seat in the main room. Registrants who arrive late may be seated in an overflow viewing area