Roswell Field's Dinosaur Footprints, 1854-1880



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Roswell Field (1804-1882), a farmer of Gill, Massachusetts, supplied sandstone dinosaur tracks and fossil fish from the Connecticut River Valley to scientists, collectors, and institutions, from 1854 to 1880. Like his predecessor Dexter Marsh (1808-1853), he received only perfunctory thanks from his clients, and has been lost to history. He was nonetheless the first to uncover new species of animals who made Early Jurassic tracks. This biography is based upon his unpublished correspondence with scientists (Ebenezer Emmons, Charles U. Shepard, John Collins Warren, and others), transcribed in the Appendix. These letters give details of uncovering and selling the sandstone slabs in the years when dinosaurs and Jurassic fish were being rapidly identified. Field’s activity is additionally documented from tax and property records.


Collaborators: Sarah Doyle, Joel Fowler, Lynda Hodson Mayo, Pamela Shoemaker


Dinosaurs, Fossils, Roswell Field, Dexter Marsh, Edward Hitchock, Pioneer Valley