International Journal of Human Diversity and Evolution
Coverage: 1923-1941 (Vols. I-XIX) & 1962-2023 (Vols. 1-61)
ISSN 0323-1119 (Print)
ISSN 2570-9127 (Online)
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'Půtová B, 2021: Natural history objects, casts and reconstructions and their role in scientific work in the 19th and 20th century: Karel Absolon's collecting activity. Anthropologie (Brno) 59, 2: 113-132'.
The first part of the study deals with trade with natural history objects that reflected, at least in the 19th century, the increasing interest in collecting artefacts, their identification and description, protection, exchange, sale and artistic reconstructions. Natural history dealers contributed to science popularization and to the nascence and development of collection building activity by memory institutions and universities. They procured pecimens not only to museums and cabinets, but also to private collectors and they functioned as intermediaries when collections were being sold. The study does not omit the fact that also museums played the role of intermediaries in selling or exchanging items, alongside with other memory institutions and/or researchers. At the beginning of the 20th century, many natural history dealers either extended or reduced their portfolios with casts of palaeoanthropological fossils. The study goes on to describe societies that ensured trade with natural history objects or making casts of palaeoanthropological fossils such as R. F. Damon & Co. in the United Kingdom, Les Fils d'Emile Deyrolle in France and Dr. F. Krantz, Rheinisches Mineralien-Kontor in Germany. The second part of the study focuses on the archaeologist Karel Absolon (1877–1960) who gathered casts and specimens in the 1920s and 1930s, motivated by the view of establishing a new institution and museum called the Anthropos Pavilion of the Moravian Museum in Brno. The study uses Absolon's correspondence to explain the process and specification of his orders of dozens of casts and reconstructions from R. F. Damon & Co. He placed his first big order in 1928 to acquire material for an exhibition in a special pavilion called Man and His Ancestry that he prepared in the same year for the Exhibition of Contemporary Culture in Czechoslovakia at the Brno Fair. His second big order in 1936 was a follow-up to Absolon's efforts, being fully aimed at establishing an institute or museum that would be called Anthropos. The objective of the study is to present Karel Absolon's correspondence from the period of the First Czechoslovak Republic as specific testimony of the manner of his scientific work that was based on a wide range of international contacts, sharing and disseminating findings and contacts and ways of acquiring (through trade and exchange) specimens, casts and reconstructions with the purpose of building collections and exhibitions of world museums.
Karel Absolon – Collecting artefacts − Natural history objects – Casts – Reconstructions − Natural history dealers − R. F. Damon & Co. – Les Fils d'Emile Deyrolle − Dr. F. Krantz, Rheinisches Mineralien-Kontor

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