The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

October 22, 2016

October 22, 1783

Constantine Rafinesque (October 22, 1783 to September 18, 1840) was born in Turkey, studied in Europe, and settled in the United States in 1815. He pursued various fields of knowledge and was considered a polymath. It was his idea for example that the American Indian arrived on this continent via the Bering Strait. Less presciently Rafinesque in 1836 claimed to have discovered tablets from which he transcribed the creation myth of the Delaware Indians, tablets which were then lost. (Joseph Smith told a similar story in 1830.) His diverse, and copious writings won him little respect.

One summary of his output:

Among the many works he left behind were rambling discourses on zoology and geology; a catalog of Native American burial mounds; a new interpretation of the Hebrew Bible; a 5,400-line epic poem (with footnotes); and, last but not least, a lengthy series of studies on North American plants.

The writings Rafinesque left behind, described as the product of a “nervous and appalling industry,” included notes on cougars.

Eastern Cougar: Historic Accounts, Scientific Investigations, New Evidence

edited by Chris Bolgiano, and Jerry Roberts (2005) rates his writings about cougars as "one of the more accurate of a burgeoning of popular as well as scientific magazine pieces on zoology...or cougars in particular."

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