Mary Anning is a famous dinosaur discoverer who ‘sold sea shells by the sea shore’. She wrote this letter describing her discovery of a Plesiosaur.
We asked the people who work in the archives at the Wellcome what exactly the letter says, so if you can't read Mary's handwriting here it is all typed out, including a second page that you can't see in the image.
When you read the letter, you'll see that there were some words that even the archivist wasn't sure of. These have been shown with brackets and question marks.
I have endeavoured in a rough sketch to give
you some idea of what it is like. Sir, you understand me right in
thinking that I said it was the supposed Plesiosaurus, but its remar-
kable long neck and small head shows that it does not in the least
(?resemble) their (unclear, possibly another type of dinosaur?) in its analogy to the Ichthyosaurus. It is large and
heavy, but one thing I may venture to assure you it is the first
and only one discovered in Europe. Colonel Birch offered one hundred
guineas for it unseen, but your letter came one days post before. I
consider your claim to an answer prior to his. Should you like it
the price I ask for it is one hundred and ten pounds. One hundred
guineas was my intended price, but if [I] take the same sum as Col
B is offering he would think I had used him ill in not taking his
money. Sir I am gratefully obliged to both you &
Dr Bunbry for condescending to think of my favourite. He
returned to Lyme at midnight quite well. I [am] also greatly obliged
for your kind present of the game.
Your most humble servant
Lyme, December 26 1823
P.S. Sir since I wrote the above I have received an
order from the Duke of Buckingham if not sold to send
him the specimen on his account. I hope you will not think
me impertinent in requesting an answer by return of post
I had forgot the Ichthyosaurus it is about four feete long although
Not equal to C[aptain] Warrings it is not a bad specimen. The price is five pounds.
- Autograph letter concerning the discovery of plesiosaurus, from Mary Anning; sketch of plesiosaurus.
- Mary Anning is a famous dinosaur discoverer who ‘sold sea shells by the sea shore’. She wrote this letter describing her discovery of a Plesiosaur.