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This page looks at man's relation with animals, in particular the notions of animal rights, welfare, and education. Political theorist Thomas Paine noted in The Age of Reason (1794): "The moral duty of man consists in imitating the moral goodness … of God towards all his creatures … [C]ruelty to animals is a violation of moral duty."

Thomas Young, a fellow at Trinity College in Cambridge, expanded upon this idea in his "An Essay on Humanity to Animals" (1804). Citing numerous passages from the Bible, Young demonstrated the importance to God of animals and the need for man to treat them with kindness and respect.

In 1838, Astronomer Thomas Forster penned a sentimental eulogy to his pet poodle, Shargs, his "best if not only friend." His eulogy is a touching tribute to an animal cherished as a member of the family, an animal full of intelligence, love, and devotion. Forster believed that all animals possess immortal souls, and that man should treat animals just as he would like to be treated.

The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was formed in 1867, and in an Address from their founding year advocated for the need to improve the conditions for animals in American society.

Charles Darwin would have approved of such an endeavor: "Love for all living creatures [is] the most notable attribute of man," Descent of Man (1871).

In an essay entitled "Conscience in Animals" (1876), Canadian-born evolutionist George Romanes explored the possibility of animals possessing a conscience. He theorized that morality can only exist in beings which possess memory, the ability to reflect upon past conduct, intelligence, sociability, and the ability to show sympathy. He contended that, of animals, only monkeys, elephants, and dogs possess these traits.

The notion of morality towards animals was something that was introduced to children during the early nineteenth century. Included here are several examples of children's literature relating to animals, from the personal library of Sarah Vaughan, niece of APS Librarian John Vaughan. The first is from an educational work and shows a passage about the hare. The writer informs the reader that "God provides for all the wants of his creatures" and has given the hare gifts to aid in its survival. The second text is a story about a little girl who kept pet birds. The author highlights the worth of the girl's diligence to her pets, and the importance of "duty to our fellow beings." The third and fourth texts are Biblical works for children. The story of Noah and his ark demonstrates to children that God remembers and values every living thing. Children in turn should treasure their fellow creatures. And, man and animal are in the same boat together.

The rest of the materials here come from twentieth-century collections at APS. A series of photographs demonstrates the breadth of manuscript collections in the library. Eugenicist Charles Davenport studied animals in the hopes of better understanding human heredity. Anthropologists Frank Speck and A. Irving Hallowell documented the importance of animals in Native American cultures. Paleontologist George Simpson is pictured posing next to a living animal (a baby guanaco) and the fossils of an animal (a tapir).

The final five documents come from the papers of Ivan Sanderson, a popular zoologist in post-World War II America. A Scot educated in botany and zoology at Cambridge University and a spy for the British forces during the war, Sanderson was best known in the U.S. for his regular appearances along with his animals on radio and television in the 1950s and 1960s. Sanderson founded a company called "Animodels," to care for and publicize his animal partners. Note the entry from his Animodel book for Genney-Basta, a civet. Sanderson was also an accomplished writer and artist. Here is a sketch of elephants for a children's book; and two stunning drawings of a lion and an Egyptian domestic cat.

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