The Megatherium Club

Learn about the Megatherium Club, named after a giant extinct sloth that once roamed South America, which consisted of an eccentric group of young naturalists aiming to understand the natural world, and build the Smithsonian’s collection in the mid to late 1800s. 

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Lucy Hunter Baird

Spencer Fullerton Baird with Daughter, Lucy

Lucy Hunter Baird, though not a regular attendee of the Megatherium Club, held its members near and dear to her heart, and “assumed, like her mother a maternal attitude toward these young gentlemen.” She watched out for the members of the club and reported back on the rumors and reports that were spreading about the club’s activities.

Miss Baird led a very successful life, being an Associate of the American Ornithologist’s Union for almost 14 years, and helped her father Assistant Secretary Spencer Baird with his work in the Smithsonian and the U.S. Fish Commission. Additionally, she was elected Associate of the Union (Philadelphia) in 1899, contributing her collection of her father’s materials to ornithology. Due to Miss Baird’s passing, William Healey Dall completed “Spencer Fullerton Baird, a Biography” in her honor, and made it dedicated “to the memory of a devoted daughter, Lucy Hunter Baird.”

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