Dr. Antipa

The scientific world has long known Romania through the achievement of a group of scholars connected with the RomanianAcademy, the University and other institutions in Bucharest. among them are the incredibly prolific historical scholar, and energetic leader, Prof. N. Iorga; Dr. Mrazec, the distinguished head of the Geological Institute; Prof. Tzigara-Samurcash, director of the Ethnographical Museum, with its treasures of Romanian costumes (over 1200), pottery, wood-carving, etc.; and Dr. Gregory Antipa, who has made the Natural History Museum of Bucharest a model for the whole world. He himself would perhaps rather be considered as an authority on fish culture and the best utilization of the lower Danube; but he is most widely known as the creator of this remarkable museum, which has been visited by many million people. Long before our Museum of Natural History in New York had installed its groups of animals in their natural surroundings, Dr. Antipa had devised a series of such groups, showing the fauna and flora of the various regions and zones of Romania, from the Carpathian glens with their wolves and bears and eagles, to the Danube marshes full of storks and pelicans and even flamingoes. Spacious and beautifully lighted, these groups are on the whole the most effective and educational I have seen anywhere; those in the new Museum of the State University of Iowa are the only ones I know that are comparable to them. As one walks through the museum, one sees everywhere the evidence of his care and thought; here it is a fish-eagle's nest, sawed off and brought up in its tree-top, in a special box-car; there it is one of the few okapis in existence; now the largest wiild-boar ever killed near Bucharest – some 650 pounds. Dr. Antipa was trained under Dr. Dohrn at Naples and was Haeckel's assistant at Jena for ten years; and he has carried out in the museum the principles of his teachers by providing a series of biological and pathological exhibits, so that even a child can follow the evolution of the anthropoid apes, for instance, and of the human species.Politics enters every sphere in Romania; or perhaps it would be fairer to say that the restricted number of highly educated men has brought them into the service of the state more generally than is the case with us. Dr. Antipa has been in one or other ministry over a quarter of a century; he was Minister of Agriculture under the Germans, and I have narrated elsewhere the story of his protest to Mackensen over the requisition system. He is heart and soul in the movement to improve cultivation, especially in the Danube region. He has always found time for much writing; and his latest book, on the evolution of the Romanian peasant, is most stimulating. His hospitable wife and he are at home to their friends every afternoon at tea-time, among the beautiful rugs and paintings which adorn their rooms over the museum; and I think I have never met a more constantly interesting succession of intellectual men and women than on my frequent visits tot he Antipas. Both Dr. and Mme. Antipa have traveled in the United States, and his Danube researches have been utilized for our own regulation of the Mississippi and other streams. Such men and women as Dr. and Mme. Antipa are the best type of the Romanian; the influence that they and others like them exert on the rising generation is Romania's best hope. American historian and professor Charles Upson Clark (1875-1960) traveled eight times to Romania between 1919 and 1940, learned Romanian, became familiar with Romanian history and culture, and published Greater Roumania, 1922 (from which our excerpt was selected), its second revised edition United Roumania, 1932, Bessarabia, 1927, and Racial Aspects of Romania's Case, 1941. He was a Member of Honor of the RomanianAcademy.

by Charles Upson Clark (1875-1960)