NABOKV-L post 0010854, Tue, 21 Dec 2004 09:32:58 -0800

Subject
Nabokov trivia
Date
Body




http://www.macleans.ca/culture/books/article.jsp?content=20041227_95875_95875

Wild, weird and wonderful
Macleans, Canada - 12 hours ago
... The Rarest of the Rare


Harvard University's Museum of Natural History is a bastion of modern-day scientific research. But it still shows its roots as a cabinet of wonders, as proven in Nancy Pick's book. MORE>>



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December 27, 2004

Wild, weird and wonderful

Nancy Pick's The Rarest of the Rare

Harvard University's Museum of Natural History is a bastion of modern-day scientific research. But it still shows its roots as a cabinet of wonders, as Nancy Pick's The Rarest of the Rare (HarperCollins; $32.50) proves. Among its curiosities are the last stuffed bird from the Lewis and Clark expedition, butterfly genitalia collected by Vladimir Nabokov and the Stalin ant. The insect was present at a Kremlin dinner attended by Stalin and Harlow Shapley, a Harvard astronomer and amateur entomologist, who preserved it by dropping it into his vodka. Then there's the mastodon skeleton at the centre of a notorious murder case. John Webster, a Harvard professor who borrowed $3,000 from landlord George Parkman to acquire the skeleton, was hanged in 1850 for killing his creditor after human bones -- and Parkman's false teeth -- were found in Webster's furnace and tea chest.