Baa baa black…calf?

Much mid-1870s verbiage is devoted  to the issue of “calf-hair” or “half-hair” goods. I am of course amused (from my specialist-steeped twenty-first-century perspective) to see an entomologist engaged in debate over the scientific classification of fiber and the commercial implications (non-woollen products were exempt from certain import duties). Even knowing that later in the decade LeConte made a bid for Commissioner of Agriculture, for which knowledge of livestock was presumably something of a prerequisite, it is still a good illustration of the Omnidisciplinary Scientist in action.

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