Twentieth-Century Explorer: The Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Herbert Spencer Dickey

By ELIZABETH FISHER

Romantic stories of early adventurers and the emerging social science of ethnographic fieldwork influenced the twentieth-century physician and explorer, Dr. Herbert Spencer Dickey.

Starting in 1900, until his death in 1948, Dickey traveled through the northern and western regions of South America, collecting curiosities from the native peoples of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil. Many of these objects made their way into the ethnographic collections of public institutions across the country, including the Dayton Society of Natural History.

Of his many expeditions, Dickey is credited with discovering the source of the Orinoco River and famously returned from his honeymoon excursion, with his Ohio bride, Elizabeth Staley Parker, and a shrunken head.

Clockwise: Waistband, Axe, Nose Ring, Basket Continue reading

Advertisements

The History of the Joseph (J.) Morton Howell Collection

Howell Beads

By  ELIZABETH FISHER

Between 1926 and 1927, Joseph (J.) Morton Howell, U. S. minister to Egypt, donated close to 100 Ancient Egyptian objects to the Dayton Society of Natural History (DSNH), including a mummy named Nesiur. 

Howell Egyptian ScarabHowell was born in 1863 on a farm sixty miles north of Dayton, Ohio. Howell had a long and prosperous career in the medical field. He was one of the first doctors to specialize in the study of infantile paralysis (polio) and other childhood diseases.

President Warren Harding appointed Howell as the first United States Minister to Egypt on October 7, 1921. Howell and his daughter, Lorena, were the first diplomats from the United States to be invited to King Tutankhamen’s tomb by its discoverer Howard Carter.

Howell brought Egyptology to Dayton, by presenting Nesiur to the DSNH in 1926. Howell

Howell Falcon godwas given Nesiur by famed Egyptologist Herbert Eustis (H.E. Whitlock, after she was excavated during the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Theban Expedition of 1921-1922.

Howell left Egypt on July 27, 1927, passing away ten years later at seventy-four.Howell Egyptian Urn

Falcon Cam – July 9, 2018: Fledglings Aloft!

By LIZ TOTH

July 9, 2018

The chicks have taken their first flights!  It is likely the two chicks that hatched first were the first to fly.  One chick remains on the ledge on the south side of the building which could indicate his flying skills are not as strong as the others yet.

The fledglings are now as large as their parents even though they are only about 6 weeks old.  Fledgling falcons have longer flight feathers than the adults to make it easier to learn the flying skills needed to become an excellent hunter in their first year.  The parents will continue to provide food for the fledglings.  Dayton was seen dropping off food for the youngster on the south ledge this morning.

This image shows the ledges on the east side of the Liberty Savings Tower with the nest box circled in red:

Liberty Bank Nest

Liberty Savings Tower

These ledges and the other buildings around provide good landing spots for short flights for the young peregrine falcons.  Since they have taken their first flights they are referred to as fledglings but will be dependent on their parents for food until they can hunt for themselves (about 4 weeks later).

Once the fledglings are adults and experienced flyers they can fly at about 60 mph when flying level and they are known to reach speeds of up to 200 mph when hunting in a stoop, or dive. Occasionally they will make it all the way down to the ground and land safely but are not skilled enough to make it up to a higher location from the ground.  If this happens the young peregrines may need help to make it to a higher location.

The young peregrines need close observation in downtown Dayton during fledging and will be monitored over the next several weeks.  The nest box, as viewed on the Falcon Cam, will often be empty until they can increase their flying skills and may return to the nest box as a safe location while they practice hunting with their parents.

Liz Toth is the Associate Curator of Live Animals at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery

 

Falcon Cam – July 1, 2018

By LIZ TOTH

July 1, 2018

The chicks are getting so big!  They are now about 5 weeks old and could take their firsts flight this week or next.  If you do not see them in the nest box it is because they have figured out how to move from the ledge of the nest box to the large roof area behind the nest box.

In this large space they can begin to stretch their wings in preparation for their first flights.  This is also a good space to take practice hops and flap their wings to gain strength.  The chicks do not have all of their flight feathers and the younger chick still has quite a bit of white downy feathers.

With the weather being so hot the roof provides a good breeze and also a three foot high wall around the roof to provide protection.  Their parents are always close by watching for danger as the chicks prepare to take their first flights soon.

As of Wednesday they were still spending quite a bit of time in the box but were very close to the ledge:

Falcon Cam Pic July 2

The older chick, who is darker and has more adult feathers, seems to have led the two younger chicks around to the rooftop so you may see an empty box.

We are monitoring the chicks at the Liberty Savings Tower site even when they cannot be seen on the Falcon Cam to make sure they are doing OK and do not need any assistance.

In the image below you can see what the back of the nest box looks like and the pebbled roof with the wall around it where the chicks are spending a lot of their time.

Falcon Nest Box Rear

Liz Toth is the Associate Curator of Live Animals at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

A Lifelong Interest in Native American Life Inspired American Plains Collection Donation

 

A-0503, Moccasins

Moccasins

By ELIZABETH FISHER

 

In 1926 the Dayton Society of Natural History (DSNH) received one of its largest ethnographic collections. Katharine Houk Talbott of Dayton donated nearly 200 objects from the American Plains, but they were collected by “Dr. A. L. Corey.”

Anson LeGrande Corey, born in 1848 in Potter County, Pennsylvania, headed West at the age of sixteen and never looked back. He formed relationships with Native American communities in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, and was closely associated with the Crow and Arapaho people. Corey was documented as the first white man who ever sat in council with the Arapaho’s, and reportedly “lived among the Indians for more than fifty years.”

A-2321, Pouch

Pouch

He became well known for his artistic talents and training in the “Indian Arts” and taught these skills to the local Native American community at St. Michael’s Mission. Exhibits of this work traveled nationwide. Corey’s skills extended to doctoring the sick and injured often. He never received formal training and was referred to as the “Indian doctor.”

In June 1923, two years before his death, Corey visited Dayton to superintend the arrangement of the “Indian exhibit” he recently sold Mrs. H. E. Talbott. Highly publicized in the Dayton Daily News on October 2, “Lifelong Friend of Indians Spends the Week Here,” Corey spent time with Mrs. H. E. Talbott “…cataloguing the finest collection of Indian treasures ever assembled in this country outside the Smithsonian Institute.” Little is still known of the relationship between Mrs. H. E. Talbott and Corey, but thanks to their efforts the collection gives a rare and fine insight into the American Plains lifeway.

A-2884, Parfleche

Parfleche

 

 

 

Elizabeth Fisher is the Collections Manager and Registrar for the Dayton Society of Natural History.

 

George and Romie Gunckel: Explorer’s Collection Documents a Thoughtful Passion for World History

by ELIZABETH FISHER

A native of Dayton, George I. Gunckel grew up at 527 West 2nd Street, an affluent and formative neighborhood in the city.  He was recognized as aGunckel Home member of a pioneering and influential family in the community. Gunckel’s father, Oliver I. Gunckel was considered a “man of affluence in Dayton” and “represented one of the old pioneer families” of the region. His grandfather and namesake, George W. Gunckel, at the age of 83, was depicted as the second oldest pioneer resident in the Village of Germantown in the Dayton Daily News on August 2, 1904. His death in 1909 was documented “as the last [member] of this famous family, which has done so much for Montgomery County.”

Gunckel's First Post

Gunckel’s First Post  – Guard Mount at Camp Marahui

It was a flourishing time in military dentistry and an unsettling period in the Southern Philippines. Gunckel and his wife, Romie, spent the first three years in Southern Philippines among the Moro people. The Muslim or Moro population were resistant to foreign occupation since the Spanish-American War. Regardless, the Gunckel’s had respect for the people and culture. Over 260 objects in the Gunckel collection at the Dayton Society of Natural History represent the Philippine culture and Moro people.

Food Basket

Food Basket

Enlistment dental standards, until WWII, “only required enough teeth to bite off the end of the cartridge so that the gunpowder and bullet (ball) could be loaded into a muzzleloader rifle.

Following his prosperous adolescence, George I. Gunckel earned the title of D.D.S. in 1899 from Ohio Medical University, after graduating from Ohio State University and Orchard Lake Military School. One year later, he married “Greenville girl” Romie Elizabeth Turner. After establishing a private dentistry practice, in 1904 he joined the U. S. Army Medical Corps as a Contract Dental Surgeon. Shortly afterward, George and Romie sailed for the Philippine Islands for the next three years. Lieutenant Colonel Gunckel served as a dental surgeon for the U. S. Army Medical Corps from 1904 to 1919.

Brass Gong

Brass Gong

Gunckel concluded his military service after WWI and traveled the world with his wife during retirement. They eventually returned to Gunckel’s childhood home in Dayton, where they resided until his death at 61 on April 17, 1937.

After his final retirement from dentistry, George and Romie Gunckel traveled worldwide visiting places like Alaska, the American Southwest, Western Indians, South America, and Mexico.

Bamboo Harp

Bamboo Harp

In 1946, Mrs. Romie Gunckel transferred the Gunckel collection to the Dayton Public Library Museum, or Dayton Society of Natural History (DSNH) as we know it today, in memory of her husband. These included Japanese samurai armor, Spanish armor, swords, spears, baskets, musical instruments, shields, woven garments such as sarongs and sashes, and much more.

 

Samurai Armor 2

Samurai Armor. Left Shin Protector

Romie sold their home to the American Red Cross during WWII and returned to Greenville where she passed away on September 6, 1948.

Elizabeth Fisher is Collections Manager and Registrar for the Dayton Society of Natural History.

 

 

 

Legendary Shawnee Chief Tecumseh Inducted Into Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame

ANDREW SAWYER

The last week of September has been celebrated as American Indian Week in Ohio since 2014 when the Ohio General Assembly voted to publicly recognize American Indian communities and their history in our state. An additional acknowledgment of Ohio’s American Indian heritage took place recently in Dayton as well. Since the City of Dayton Bicentennial in 1996, the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame has set out to recognize outstanding individuals and groups for their enduring personal or professional contributions to the community, nation, and the world. On Thursday, September 28, the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame inducted their first American Indian into that group, Shawnee Chief  Tecumseh.

tecumseh image
         Legendary Shawnee Chief                   Tecumseh

Born in 1768 in southern Ohio, Tecumseh grew up during an era when the newly independent United States was expanding into the Ohio Valley homeland of the Shawnee and other indigenous tribes. This expansion was opposed by American Indian tribes in the region including the Shawnee, Miami, Delaware, and many others, who joined forces in the late 1700s to defend their homelands. The signing of the Treaty of Greenville in 1795 ceded southern Ohio to the United States. After this, Tecumseh was determined to keep what land remained for the Shawnee in Ohio, and if possible to reclaim land that had been ceded.

meeting_of_brock_and_tecumseh_t_front

The Meeting of Brock and Tecumseh: War of 1812 Bicentennial – C.W. Jeffereys

With this in mind Tecumseh, along with his brother Tenskwatawa (The Shawnee Prophet), reassembled a confederacy of American Indian tribes who fought against previous U.S. expansion and joined forces with the British in the War of 1812 in hopes of accomplishing those goals. Tecumseh’s death at the Battle of the Thames in October of 1813 ended those hopes, but he continues to be remembered as a brilliant military strategist and organizer. Ultimately the U.S. forced the removal of the Shawnee and other tribes from Ohio to “Indian Territory” in what are now the states of Kansas and Oklahoma.

While Tecumseh’s vision of maintaining tribal territory in their Ohio homelands may not have succeeded, his hopes for the survival of the Shawnee did, and many of them were in Dayton to celebrate his rightful induction into the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame.

Andrew Sawyer is an anthropologist and archaeologist. He is the Site Director of SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park in Dayton, Ohio.