Spencer Fullerton Baird to William Baird, April 2, 1842, in William Healey Dall, Spencer Fullerton Baird (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1915), 64-65.
Transcription adapted from Spencer Fullerton Baird (1915), by William Healey Dall
Adapted by Rebecca Solnit, Dickinson College
The following transcript has been adapted from Spencer Fullerton Baird (1915).
Carlisle, April 2 1842
I received the birds and other things safely by Mother and find some very interesting articles among them for instance the piece of Gen. Washington’s carriage. The birds were in excellent condition and the Canvas back & Ring necks were done up so as to make exceedingly good skins—and could be mounted from, almost as well as if fresh. The whole will be valuable additions to the collection. We bid fair to have as good a collection in a few years as any about. You do not say what you think of the birds I sent on, the hawks, &c. I will send the Muscicapa Acadia by Uncle Penrose who talks of leaving here on Tuesday, next—I think that it is distinct from our M. Trailli . In respect to the Black head ducks, the bird that Giraud named was the smaller; as F. Minor. so that we could not name one of them.
I have shot five or six ducks this week, three yesterday—They are getting very scarce and probably in a week will be all gone except a few Summer ducks & Butterballs. Those show yesterday were Summer duck, Black duck and Hooded Merganser. The spring birds are coming back rapidly. Will Penrose insists that he saw a warbler, and I shot a Yellow Belly Woodpecker and purple Finch yesterday, which I stuffed. We saw several Cranes &c. The spring flowers are out, the Dogtooth Violets will Bloom in a few days or so. The small bird time is near at hand & I will have to look very sharp lest I miss them—By the by if you are not exhausted or wearied out by my continual & certainly unreasonable demands for powder & shot, send me a stock or its equivalent for the spring campaign. Mother makes such a fuss about my shooting away powder and shot that I hate to ask her for money.
You speak of making an excursion to the [illegible] this spring. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to go after the birds have left here, which will probably be about the middle of May or before. The season is a great deal earlier this year than the last. You recollect that the ducks were just becoming plenty this time last year, wheras now they are almost gone. In respect to a cane gun—Uncle Ned talks of going to Philadelphia about the beginning of week after next, and I suppose would get you one—They cost I believe 15 or 18 dollars. Talking of guns do you still retain you proposed idea of having the old gun new stocked & Breeched. If you do, suppose you have it done now; as it is the only gun I can shoot with; as I am alone here I ought to have a very good one. Keller would do it well & perhaps trust us some weeks or so. I suppose it would not cost more that 8 or 10 dollars, including a new heel piece. The old one is so small that it would not do for a new stock . The heel piece is the iron against which the right shoulder rests on the end of the stock.
Try and get me heads of all the birds which cannot be procured here; by pulling off the skin, taking out the eyes, and extracting the brain or some of it, and putting them in the sun, they would dry and I would clean them when I get them. I will write more full hereafter; as I want to stuff a cowbird before going to bed, and it is late now. Give my love to Aunt Blaine & Penrose and Believe me
Your aff. Brother