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Nicholas Marcellus Hentz Spider paintings, 1820-1840

 Collection
Identifier: Mss .H46

Content Description

Collection of 209 watercolors of created by Nicholas Marcellus Hentz. 209 paintings : watercolor on paper ; 13 x 10 cm. + notes (19 leaves, 32 x 10 cm.) Colored drawings accompanied by commentary, mostly in English but some in French. Many are numbered, the highest number being 239.

The paintings have been digitized and added to the Research Library's Digital Special Collections.

Dates

  • 1820-1840

Biographical / Historical

Nicholas Marcellus Hentz (1797-1856) was born in France and came to America with his family in 1816. He had some medical training in France and was a skilled painter of miniatures. In America he taught French and lived in the Boston area and eventually down into various parts of the South where he became a field naturalist and an insect collector. In the 1840's he sold his extensive specimen collection to the Boston Society of Natural History. He is best remembered for his descriptions of 141 species of spiders which are illustrated with these watercolors and published in the society's journal between 1842-1850.

Extent

209 painting (2 bound items housed in a single box) ; watercolor on paper ; 13 x 10 cm. + notes (19 leaves, 32 x 10 cm.)

Language of Materials

English

Custodial History

Originally a gift from Mrs. D.F.P. (Charity) Cole (Hentz's great-great-granddaughter) to the Museum in 1970 through John Cooke who was an AMNH Curator of Entomology.

The 1996 Natural History article, A Pioneering Spider Man, goes into further detail of the collection's history.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred by Lou Sorkin and Norm Platnick of the Department of Invertebrate Zoology.

Related Materials

Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology also has several of the Hentz paintings.

https://hollis.harvard.edu/primo-explore/fulldisplay?context=L&vid=HVD2&search_scope=everything&tab=everything&lang=en_US&docid=01HVD_ALMA211939859600003941

General

Art Survey no. 86

Title
Nicholas Marcellus Hentz Spider paintings, 1820-1840
Author
Rebecca Morgan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Research Library Special Collections Repository

Contact:
American Museum of Natural History
Library Services, Special Collections
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York 10024-5192 USA US
(212) 769-5420