Carl E. Akeley (1863 or 1864 - 1926)

"I have not appreciated the absolute necessity of carrying on the African Hall, if it is ever to be done, as I do now after this painful revelation. The old conditions, the story of which we want to tell, are now gone, and in another decade the men who knew them will all be gone." (1926, during his last trip to Africa)

The founder of modern taxidermy. When combined with Chapman's realistic "habitat group" dioramas, Akeley's method of sculpting lifelike bodies around carefully prepared skeletal mounts led to a revolution in museum design. Shortly before leaving Ward's in 1886, he mounted the skeleton of the famous African elephant Jumbo. While in Africa before World War I, Akeley survived being trampled by an elephant and killed a leopard with his bare hands. In the 1920's Akeley made a large specimen collection as part of his effort to create the American Museum's famous African mammal hall; he died in the Virunga mountains while working on what became the mountain gorilla diorama.

Akeley in 1914. From Preston, Fig. 22.


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