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The Comstocks of Cornell-The Definitive Autobiography$
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Anna Botsford Comstock and Karen Penders St. Clair

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501716270

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501716270.001.0001

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“How to Know Butterflies” and the “Confessions to a Heathen Idol”

“How to Know Butterflies” and the “Confessions to a Heathen Idol”

(p.249) Chapter XI “How to Know Butterflies” and the “Confessions to a Heathen Idol”
The Comstocks of Cornell-The Definitive Autobiography

Anna Botsford Comstock

, Karen Penders St. Clair
Cornell University Press

This chapter discusses the teaching experiences of Anna Botsford and John Henry Comstock at Chautauqua. At Chautauqua, they had a very large field class and they were both tired when they returned to Ithaca early in August of 1903. Henry had 33 classes in his summer term that year. He gave a course of lectures on spiders, which was very popular. Meanwhile, Anna's problem in the Chautauqua classes was a difficult one. The teachers had no background of science, and it seemed best to get each one in the class interested in some phase of nature that they could follow by themselves later. Anna found trees, ferns, birds, and butterflies adapted for this work. However, all the butterfly books were too advanced for use in these courses. As such, Anna besought her husband to write one with her. On November 13, 1903, she accepted the trusteeship of William Smith College.

Keywords:   Anna Botsford Comstock, John Henry Comstock, teaching, Chautauqua, spiders, nature, butterflies, butterfly books, trusteeship, William Smith College

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