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Benjamin Sharp, Jr. Papers

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Benjamin Sharp, Jr. was born on November 1, 1858 to Benjamin and Hannah Sharp in Germantown, PA. Sharp began his studies at Swarthmore College receiving his AB in 1878, then enrolling at the University of Pennsylvania where he received his MD in 1879 and his Ph.D. in 1880. Instead of pursuing a medical career, Sharp focused on studying zoology. After graduating from Penn he continued his studies in Europe at the Universities of Berlin and Leipzig, the Zoological Station at Naples, Italy, and the University of Wurtzburg, Bavaria where he received a second Ph.D. in 1883 for his thesis "The Eyes of Molluscs."

Upon his return to the United States, he was appointed professor of invertebrate zoology at the Academy of Natural Sciences (1883-1915), a position he also held at the University of Pennsylvania from 1884-1888. In addition, he also served as corresponding secretary at the Academy of Natural Sciences for eleven years starting in 1890. While with the Academy, Sharp participated in expeditions to the Caribbee Islands during the winter of 1888-1889 to collect specimens and take photographs, and to the Hawaiian Islands in 1893 to collect archaeological and zoological specimens. Sharp also participated in two Arctic expeditions. In 1891 he was in charge of zoology on Robert Peary's first Arctic expedition, and in 1895 he traveled to Alaska, Siberia, and the Arctic in 1895 aboard the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear to take pictures.

Sharp lived most of his life in Philadelphia with his wife Virginia May Guild (they married in 1881), and their three children - Dorothy, Benjamin Karl, and Harold. He was a member of many of the city's cultural and scientific organizations - including the American Philosophical Society (elected 1886), the Photographic Society of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Symphonic Society (predecessor of the Philadelphia Orchestra) where he played the oboe. Sharp was the subject of Thomas Eakins' 1903 painting "The Oboe Player (Portrait of Dr. Benjamin Sharp)". Around 1905 Sharp and his family moved to Massachusetts - where they kept residences in Brookline and Nantucket. He continued his research at the Boston Society of Natural History, and was vice president for the Nantucket Historical Association. From 1910-1913 he was elected Representative for Nantucket to House of Representatives of Massachusetts, and served as chairman on the Committee on Fisheries.

In January 1915 Sharp set out on a small yacht with his son Karl and friends for a zoological collecting trip to Florida by way of the Dismal Swamp and the Sea Islands. On the way they encountered heavy storm conditions which resulted in Sharp contracting Pneumonia leading to his death on January 23, 1915 in Moorehead, NC at the age of 56.

The Benjamin Sharp Jr. Papers is a mix of personal and professional material. Though not extensive, the collection touches on many of Dr. Sharp's activities - including his research, lectures, and expeditions. Most of the correspondence is to family and friends, however in it he does comment on his professional activities. A few photocopies of letters are present, and there is no information relating to the originals. As an amateur photographer, Dr. Sharp documented many of the places he worked and traveled to - as such the photograph albums are a mix of personal images, zoological specimens, and expedition sites. Some of the images are identified, and all are number in the albums - however no index to the images is present in the collection.

When originally processed, one item "Decennial Reunion, Class of 1880, University of Pennsylvania Medical Department," a history of the members of the class of 1880 was removed to Class Histories, UPM7911.

The Collection has been arranged in Twelve Series: Correspondence, Receipts, Journals, Student Life, Notes, Lectures, Writings, Writings for Young Adults, Miscellaneous Writings, Prints, Printed Materials, and Photograph Albums. All Series are organized chronologically.

Donated by Mrs. Virginia S. Richmond, Nantucket, MA - April 13, 1989 (Accession No: 1989:6)

Publisher
University of Pennsylvania: University Archives and Records Center
Finding Aid Author
Joseph-James Ahern
Finding Aid Date
March 2010
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Collection Inventory

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1876.
Box 1 Folder 1
Correspondence Log, 1877.
Box 1 Folder 2
January - September, 1877.
Box 1 Folder 3
October - December, 1877.
Box 1 Folder 4
July - August, 1878.
Box 1 Folder 5
September - December, 1878.
Box 1 Folder 6
1879.
Box 1 Folder 7
January - February, 1880.
Box 1 Folder 8
March - July, 1880.
Box 1 Folder 9
September - October, 1880.
Box 1 Folder 10
November - December, 1880.
Box 1 Folder 11
January - June, 1881.
Box 1 Folder 12
July - December, 1881.
Box 1 Folder 13
March - July 1882.
Box 1 Folder 14
August, 1882.
Box 1 Folder 15
September - December, 1882.
Box 1 Folder 16
January - July, 1883.
Box 1 Folder 17
August - December, 1883.
Box 1 Folder 18
January, 1884.
Box 1 Folder 19
February, 1884.
Box 1 Folder 20
March, 1884.
Box 1 Folder 21
April - August, 1884.
Box 1 Folder 22
September - October, 1884.
Box 1 Folder 23
November - December, 1884.
Box 1 Folder 24
January, 1885.
Box 1 Folder 25
February - December, 1885.
Box 1 Folder 26
Letter of Introduction, 1888.
Box 1 Folder 27
1891.
Box 1 Folder 28
1892.
Box 1 Folder 29
1895.
Box 1 Folder 30
1897.
Box 1 Folder 31
1898.
Box 1 Folder 32
January - June, 1899.
Box 1 Folder 33
July - December, 1899.
Box 1 Folder 34
1900.
Box 1 Folder 35
1901.
Box 1 Folder 36
1903.
Box 1 Folder 37
1904.
Box 1 Folder 38
1905.
Box 1 Folder 39
1906.
Box 1 Folder 40
1907.
Box 1 Folder 41
1908.
Box 1 Folder 42
1909-1911.
Box 1 Folder 43
1916.
Box 1 Folder 44
n.d.
Box 1 Folder 45
Correspondence Relating to Benjamin Sharp, Jr. Estate.
Box 1 Folder 46

1882-1908.
Box 1 Folder 47

November, 1880.
Box 1 Folder 48
Daily Journal Kept ... During a trip to the Caribbee Islands, 1888-1889 (typescript).
Box 1 Folder 49
Copy of a Journal Kept ... on a trip to and from North Greenland with Lt Robert E. Peary, 1891 (typescript).
Box 1 Folder 50
1893.
Box 1 Folder 51
1902.
Box 1 Folder 52

Shakespeare, 1874.
Box 1 Folder 53
poetry/prose extracts, 1874.
Box 1 Folder 54
Classical studies, 1874.
Box 1 Folder 55
Classification of disease, 1874.
Box 1 Folder 56
Experimental Physics, 1881-82.
Box 1 Folder 57
Leukart Lectures, 1881-82.
Box 1 Folder 58
Cradner Lectures, 1881.
Box 1 Folder 59
Chun Lectures, 1881.
Box 1 Folder 60
Sachs Lectures, anatomy and physiology of plants, 1881-1882.
Box 1 Folder 61
Report -- The Mariner's Yarn, n.d.
Box 1 Folder 62
Report -- The Human Eye, n.d.
Box 1 Folder 63
School Records, 1880-1881 (Germany).
Box 1 Folder 64
School Records, 1881-1882 (Germany).
Box 1 Folder 65
Class Schedule / Library Call Slips, n.d. (Germany).
Box 1 Folder 66

Caribbee Islands.
Box 1 Folder 67
Birds.
Box 1 Folder 68
Five Senses of Men.
Box 1 Folder 69
Color and Colorization of Animals.
Box 1 Folder 70
Influence of Light on Animals.
Box 1 Folder 71
The Sea and Its Life.
Box 1 Folder 72
Commercial Products of the Sea.
Box 1 Folder 73
Parasites.
Box 1 Folder 74
Mammals.
Box 1 Folder 75
Mollusks.
Box 1 Folder 76
Crabs.
Box 1 Folder 77
Crab Lists.
Box 1 Folder 78
Miscellaneous.
Box 1 Folder 79

On Visual Organs in Selen, 1883.
Box 2 Folder 11
Corals and Coral Islands, 1889.
Box 2 Folder 12
The Arctic Highlander, 1891-1892.
Box 2 Folder 13
Peary, 1892.
Box 2 Folder 14
The Fur Seal, 1897.
Box 2 Folder 15
Something About Crabs, 1897.
Box 2 Folder 16
A Visit to Fur Seal Island, 1899.
Box 2 Folder 17
On Semper's Method of Making Dried Preparations, 1899.
Box 2 Folder 18
Guardian of the Oyster, 1899-1900.
Box 2 Folder 19
Drifting for Mackerel, 1907.
Box 2 Folder 20
Captain of the Vanished Fleet, 1907.
Box 2 Folder 21
Catching Whales, 1907.
Box 2 Folder 22
The Fall of the Golden Rock, 1899-1908.
Box 2 Folder 23
Ambergris, 1907-1908.
Box 2 Folder 24
Ambergris and Spermaceti, 1908.
Box 2 Folder 25
Some Early Arctic Voyages, 1908.
Box 2 Folder 26
In the Ice with Peary, 1908-1910.
Box 2 Folder 27
Nantucket Whaling, 1908.
Box 2 Folder 28
Volcanic Islands of the West Indies, 1909.
Box 2 Folder 29
Some Shouts ... [nautical], n.d.
Box 2 Folder 30
Whaling, n.d.
Box 2 Folder 31
Chapter 2.
Box 2 Folder 32
Chapter 3.
Box 2 Folder 33
Chapter 4.
Box 2 Folder 34
Chapter 5.
Box 2 Folder 35
Chapter 5.
Box 2 Folder 36
Chapter 6.
Box 2 Folder 37
Chapter 7.
Box 2 Folder 38
Chapter 8.
Box 2 Folder 39
Chapter 9.
Box 2 Folder 40
Chapter 10.
Box 2 Folder 41
[Chapter 11] Hermitage.
Box 2 Folder 42
Book Reviews for the PUBLIC LEDGER, 1900-1906.
Box 2 Folder 43
Visual Organs in Lamellibranchiata.
Box 2 Folder 44
Homologies of the Vertebrate Crystalline Lens.
Box 2 Folder 45
Inaugural - Dissertation.
Box 2 Folder 46

The Study of Nature.
Box 1 Folder 80
Study of Natural History, 1884-1885.
Box 1 Folder 81
Caribbee Islands -- Islands of 1st Zone, 1890.
Box 1 Folder 82
Caribbee Islands -- Volcanic Islands, 1890.
Box 1 Folder 83
Caribbee Islands -- Northern Volcanic Islands.
Box 1 Folder 84
Caribbee Islands -- Southern Volcanic Islands.
Box 1 Folder 85
Commercial Products.
Box 1 Folder 86
(1).
Box 1 Folder 87
(2).
Box 1 Folder 88
Walrus.
Box 1 Folder 89
Elephant Seals.
Box 1 Folder 90
Fur Seals.
Box 1 Folder 91
Hair Seals.
Box 1 Folder 92
Sea Otters.
Box 1 Folder 93
Sea Lions.
Box 1 Folder 94
Influence of the Environment on Animals.
Box 2 Folder 1
Influence of the Environment on Animals.
Box 2 Folder 2
Five Lectures on the Influence of Environment on Animals - Free Lecture Courses Academy of Natural Sciences, 1900-1901.
Box 2 Folder 3
Molar / Mechanical Influence.
Box 2 Folder 4
Chemical Influence.
Box 2 Folder 5
Light / Sound.
Box 2 Folder 6
Pressure.
Box 2 Folder 7
Parasites / Colors.
Box 2 Folder 8
North Sea Travellers.
Box 2 Folder 9

Cultivation of Cacao ..., 1898.
Box 2 Folder 47
How Obed and Isaiah Weathered..., 1899.
Box 2 Folder 48
A Quiet Voyage by Night, 1908.
Box 2 Folder 49
A Whaler of 1812, 1908.
Box 2 Folder 50
How Hawaiians Obtained Fire, 1908.
Box 2 Folder 51
A Fair Trade is No Robbery, 1911.
Box 2 Folder 52
A Phosphescent Night, n.d.
Box 2 Folder 53
Robinson Crusoe and Alexander Selkirk, n.d.
Box 2 Folder 54

Historical Sketch of St. Eustatius - by Vaulk.
Box 2 Folder 55

Amateur License for Photography.
Box 2 Folder 56
Academy of Natural Sciences and University of Pennsylvania (7).
Box 2 Folder 57
Captain Richard Pike and Officers of the KITE (4).
Box 2 Folder 58
Expedition on US Revenue Cutter BEAR, 1895 (33).
Box 2 Folder 59
Greenland / West Indies / Caribbee (60).
Box 2 Folder 60
(1).
Box 2 Folder 61
Bookplate.
Box 2 Folder 62
Landscapes.
Box 2 Folder 63
Military Figures.
Box 2 Folder 64
Miscellaneous.
Box 2 Folder 65
Silhouettes.
Box 2 Folder 66

Reprints, 1872-1899.
Box 2 Folder 67
Lecture Announcements, 1890-1905.
Box 2 Folder 68
Admission Tickets, 1887-1906.
Box 2 Folder 69
Commencement Invitations, 1880-1881.
Box 2 Folder 70
Trade Cards and Symphony Society Flyers.
Box 2 Folder 71
Clippings, 1887-1904.
Box 2 Folder 72
Scrapbook of Lectures Given, 1884-1888.
Box 2 Folder 73
AMERICAN HERITAGE Magazine, April 1962.
Box 3
EBBE UND FLUTH, 1881.
Box 2 Folder 75
"History of the Extinct Mammalia," by E. D. Cope, 1883.
Box 2 Folder 76
"Outlines for a Museum of Anatomy," by R. W. Shufeldt, 1885.
Box 2 Folder 77
"On Dev. Of Pelagic Fish Eggs," by Alexander Agassiz and C. O. Whitman1884.
Box 2 Folder 78
"Characters of Protoceras (Marsh), the New Artiodactyl from the Lower Miocene," by Henry Fairfield Osborn and J. L. Wortman, 1892.
Box 2 Folder 79

c. 1884-1885 - photos of homes, Penn Biology Building and campus, Nantucket, etc.
Box 3
Images of expeditions with family and specimens - possibly Carribbee Islands, n.d.
Box 3
Images of Hawaii and Alaska expeditions - includes specimens and family.
Box 3

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