Blown out: the science and enthusiasm of egg collecting in the Oologists' Record, 1921-1969

Edward Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

This paper offers an 'almost-animal' geography of egg collecting, also known as 'oology', through a
sustained engagement with the contents of the Oologists’ Record (OR), a specialist journal published
between 1921 and 1969. It seeks to investigate egg collecting as a 'culture of nature', organised and
represented in the print spaces of the OR through which egg collectors, often widely separated
geographically, could convene to define, celebrate and defend their chosen pastime. This paper contributes
to existing geographical work on 'cultures of enthusiasm' by discussing how, in the OR, birds'
eggs were the focus of scientific enquiries and more visceral forms of enthusiasm, coming together in a
leisure practice whose validity was increasingly contested by oppositional lobby groups. By considering
how the ambiguous status of birds' eggs - on the boundary of the animal and not-animal e was
important in ethical contestations about egg collecting, this paper also raises wider ontological questions
about the 'almost-animal' that should extend the reach of animal geographies. Finally, the case of the OR
presents the unusual spectacle of a special interest community that was declining and dying in print: as
its individual members reached the end of their lives; and collectively, as oology changed in status from
being a respectable pastime to a wildlife crime.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-28
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Historical Geography
Volume51
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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