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Anecdotes from the Archive

Anecdotes from the Archive: From the basement to the blog

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  1. Interesting finds from Scientific American’s Archive
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In 1845, Scientific American magazine made its debut on newsstands and has continued to be published ever since. Now, Nature Publishing Group and Scientific American are working to digitize all past issues of the magazine and make them available for an online subscription.

I’m in charge of checking over each issue from 1845-1948, and constantly come across amazing, intriguing, insightful and at times humorous discoveries, inventions, and science-related news stories and images. I’ve created the Anecdotes from the Archives blog to share with you some of these discoveries and would love to hear reader’s comments, reactions, and insights on the articles.This will be a regular feature here, so keep coming back every few days or so to see what else I discovered.

To kick things off, here is an interesting photograph from the May 1922 issue. Its caption reads, "A curious specimen dressed up to prove that the heads of some fishes are strikingly human in appearance."

The article entitled "Modern Miracles of Fishes" describes the recently discovered similarities between the actions of humans and fish, including sleeping, "talking," and thinking. "Fishes aren’t so far different from human beings after all. Human nature is very much the same whether in the water or out of it. Life is a business with fishes just as it is with us. Keeping the social swim in the ocean or backyard pond requires just as much maneuvering and diplomacy as it does on Fifth Avenue."

The first section of the Archive (which spans from 1910 to 1948) will go live in March 2011. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these sneak previews of what’s to come!

About the Author: Mary Karmelek is a production assistant for Nature Publishing Group and is currently working on Scientific American's Digital Archive Project, where she spends countless hours scouring articles and ads of decades long ago. She graduated with her M.A. in English from Fordham University in 2010 and currently resides in New York City. While her educational background is in gender and war trauma in modernist literature, Mary also has a keen interest in the historical and visual documentation of science, nature, and medicine.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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