“Classified Knowledge” (June/03) has an image from Edward Tuckerman’s Lichen exsiccatae with a most curious caption. I draw attention to it because it is so full of errors and misinterpretations that one questions if fact-checking ever occurred.
Tuckerman was not an artist; so far as I know he did not study animals; he did not go on the Wilkes Expedition (the U. S. Exploring Expedition); and his monograph is not what is illustrated with the caption but rather his Lichen exsiccati. And if one is discussing the blurring of the lines between real specimens and print, there is a treatment of these exsiccatae that makes that point by Sayre and more specifically by Pfister (1985).
As someone who has been curator of a great collection—the Farlow Library and Herbarium at Harvard—for many years, I was surprised.
Donald H. Pfister