The Blanding Collection

By LILY BENEDICT
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From the collection of the Museum of Natural History, Roger Williams Park

In the course of our research, we have found the Presidents’ (of the university) Annual Reports to be incredible sources of information relating to university collections and the Jenks Museum. In President Caswell’s 1872 report, he list some large additions to the university’s collections:

The Blanding Collection. – This collection was made by William Blanding, MD, who was born in Rehoboth, Mass., February 7, 1773, graduated at Brown University in the class of 1801, entered the Medical Profession, and early removed to Camden, SC, where for some years he appears to have divided his time between the duties of his profession, and the study of Natural History. For the last five-and-thirty years of his life, he seems to have devoted himself wholly to his favorite study, Natural History. He was for sometime a resident in Philadelphia, and was one of the early and efficient members of the Academy of Natural Sciences of that city. He died in Rehoboth, almost on the very spot where he was born, October 12th, 1857, in the 85th year of his age. He left no children. The large cabinet, which he had been many years in collecting, remained in the custody of his family connections till December, last year, when, by their desire, it was removed to Rhode Island Hall. It is a deposit, not an absolute gift. The family in Rehoboth desired this to be understood, as one of the heirs was at a distance and could not be consulted. There is every probability, however, that this disposition of the Cabinet will meet his approval.”

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