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The Woods Hole Maine Biological Laboratory.

Second is the reprint, as a Supplement to The Biological Bulletin, 174(1), of Frank R. Lillie's 1944 volume "The Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory" which was originally published by the University of Chicago Press. (An earlier Symposium Supplement to The Biological Bulletin, 168(3), published in June 1985 and devoted to articles on "The Naples Zoological Station and the Marine Biological Laboratory: One Hundred Years of Biology" also provides important historical material on the institution and its work.)

Maienschein's volume is not only an authoritative account of the history and progress of the MBL, but an interesting look at the personalities behind it and their interactions and activities. Lively and well written, often through the words of the scientists themselves, it is a more personalized look at the evolution of an important U.S. biological laboratory. Along with the archival material, the author weaves in the human side of early MBL life-the old mess hall, the MBL Club, outings and picnics, marriages, drama, music, canoe races, and other diversions. In addition, the text is complemented by many excellent historic photographs selected by Ruth Davis.

Chapters relate the initiation of the MBL in Woods Hole and its nearby forerunners, life at the MBL, the buildings, and funding; a full chapter is devoted to the MBL's fine library and publications. Additional chapters discuss the students and administrators and other MBL personalities. While the MBL has been on the cutting edge of basic biological studies, it has also been famous for its summer teaching and research programs. Discussed are the early days of marine biology, early techniques and equipment, organisms and their collection, etc. A final chapter describes sources of information and illustrations; MBL Directors are listed, as are Nobel laureates affiliated with the MBL and their contributions. Notes and specific sources are listed at the end of each chapter. Unindexed, the volume is more of a personal portrait of an important research institution that is well written and illustrated and should be of interest to marine scientists and historians. Hardbound, the 192-page volume is sold by the publisher for $22.50.

Frank R. Lillie was MBL director from 1909 to 1925, and in 1944 the University of Chicago Press published his in-depth history "The Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory." Long out of print, it was republished for the MBL centennial as a special supplement to The Biological Bulletin in paperback form (but large format), and it makes an excellent companion to Maienschein's volume. Three chapters were authored or coauthored by E. G. Conklin of Princeton University, including chapter I, "The geography and early history of Woods Hole," which ends with the destruction of the Pacific Guano Works in about 1880. Chapter II reviews the origins of marine laboratories in Europe and America, and notes the founding of the world's first marine biological station at Concarneau, France, in 1859; a French aquarium in Arcachon for marine research in the 1860's; the Zoological Station of Naples 1972); Louis Agassiz's Penikese seaside laboratory (1873); the U.S. Fish Commission's Woods Hole Laboratory (1885); and Alpheus Hyatt's Annisquam Laboratory (1881), which Lillie noted as "the true precursor of the Marine Biological Laboratory."

Chapter III then describes the founding and early history of the MBL itself, recounting the early struggles (1886-97), under the first director, Charles Otis Whitman, and plans and operations from 1898-1902. The MBL had an uneasy start: The first two potential leaders declined the directorship. Chapters IV and V relate the growth in land, buildings, and budget, and policies, organization, and administration (i.e., trustees, courses, library, publications, etc.). Research progress up to 1908 is traced in chapter VI. (A complete list of publications-860 titles-is in the eleventh annual report of the MBL, 1907-08.)

Sketches of important MBL leaders are presented in chapter VII for Whitman; Charles R. Crane, the lab's principal benefactor; Gilman A. Drew, an MBL officer and assistant director; and Edward Gardiner Gardiner, an original incorporator and trustee. Chapter VIII relates community life and interactions between MBL scientists, while chapter IX views the "spinoff" of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and its early work. Appendixes reprint pertinent correspondence, announcements, articles of incorporation, trustees' reports, by-laws, balance sheets, John Greenleaf Whittier's "The Prayer of Agassiz," and more; references are provided with each chapter. Indexed, the 284-page paperbound volume costs $10.00.

Also of historical interest is the June 1985 Symposium Supplement to The Biological Bulletin which carries the written versions of oral presentations at Ischia, Italy, in October 1984 on the events, ideas, and leaders at both the MBL and the Stazione Zoologica of Naples since 1872. Papers trace the development of Anton Dohrn's personality and science, the origin of the MBL, and the "new" embryology at the Zoological Station and the MBL. Another interesting piece compares, at 10-year intervals, the official support of the sciences, including fisheries and agriculture, for the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany from 1850 to 1900. Other papers review the evolution of various disciplines important at the two laboratories, while shorter communications discuss policy and political matters that impinge on their biological work.
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Publication:Marine Fisheries Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1988
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