Turtles, Terrapins, and Tortoises…Oh My!

A new exhibit in the Maryland Room is all about turtles, terrapins, and tortoises! On display are several illustrated natural history books from the rare book collection held in Special Collections and University Archives at Hornbake Library. They include Nomenclator Aquatilium Animantium (1560), by 16th century Swiss naturalist Conrad Gessner,  along with a variety of 19th century works highlighting the artistry and science of herpetology.

Also on display is Historia Testvdinvm Iconibvs Illvstrata (1792) by Johann David Schöpf. Schöpf was chief surgeon for the Ansbach regiment of Hessian troops, who fought for the British in the American Revolutionary War. After the war, he returned to Europe and published several natural history works.

Nestled among the rare books are a small selection of turtle figures acquired over the years by University Archivist Anne Turkos. These turtle toys, figures, and accessories help decorate every inch of her office with that “Go Terps” spirit!

The exhibit also features a rather interesting artifact from the University Archives collections- a preserved hawksbill sea turtle! It was originally gifted to the gifted to the University of Maryland before a lacrosse game between UMD and Navy on April 19, 1952, by J.L. Enyart. Enyart was Captain and Commanding Officer of the Naval Medical School.


This large hawksbill sea turtle is one of two preserved turtles housed in University Archives. The other is the infamous “real Testudo” , a preserved Terrapin that served as the model for the bronze statue outside McKeldin Library. Find out the story behind a taxidermy Hawksbill turtle ended up in the University Archives in this Terrapin Tales blog post.

IMG_3107Visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library from now until July to explore all things turtle, tortoise, and terrapin in this enticing exhibit. Be sure to take a button with you, featuring several of the turtle illustrations from the exhibit!

The natural history books on display provide a glimpse into the rare book collection housed in Hornbake Library. Contact us to learn more about the collection.

Explore more illustrations from our natural history books on Flickr!






One thought on “Turtles, Terrapins, and Tortoises…Oh My!

  1. Pingback: Turtles, Terrapins, and Tortoises…Oh My! – Terrapin Tales

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