Clarendon will celebrate famous son
Program will highlight Carl Akeley, famed taxidermist, on his 150th birthday
CLARENDON – The Clarendon Historical Society is planning one of its biggest events ever in honor of the 150th birthday of the town’s most famous son.
Carl Akeley, a world renown taxidermist and inventor, will be the focus of a May 21 event at the Clarendon Recreation Hall. The event starts at 7 p.m. and will include Jay Kirk, author of a book about Akeley called “Kingdom Under Glass.” Copies of the book will be for sale.
Akeley grew up on Hinds Road. He made many safaris to Africa and became an advocate for preserving Africa’s wildlife.
“He is considered the Father of Taxidermy,” said Historical Society member Erin Anheier. “He made it an artform.”
The Cobblestone Society Museum has a fox stuffed by a young Carl Akeley, which will be displayed as part of the May 21 event.
Kirk, the author, chronicles Akeley’s life during the golden age of safaris in the early 20th Century. Akeley created the famed African Hall at New York’s Museum of Natural History.
“He was concerned about saving animals, especially the giant gorillas in Africa,” Anheier said. “He collected and stuffed the animals for scientific purposes.”
Akeley’s adventures connected him with Theodore Roosevelt, P.T. Barnum and George Eastman. Akeley died in 1926 and is buried in Africa.
“We were talking about programs for the year at the Historical Society, looking at what’s unique about Clarendon,” Anheier said. “Carl Akeley is the most famous person ever from Clarendon.”