Professor Emeritus Jane M. Oppenheimer's Legacy Features in the Lois and Reginald Collier Science Library


Carol W. Campbell

"La Crapaud" by Pablo Picasso from his Buffon series.

In the spring of 1996, the library collections of Bryn Mawr College were enriched by the bequest of Professor Emeritus Jane M. Oppenheimer (1911-1995), of Bryn Mawr's Class of 1932. At her retirement in 1980, Miss Oppenheimer was the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Biology and History of Science. She had taught at Bryn Mawr more than forty years, was an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and participated in the American-Soviet joint space program.

The display cases in Collier Library feature books and objects d'art which illustrate her internationally renowned work in developmental biology, and her scholarship on Darwin and the Prussian-Estonian founder of the science of comparative embryology, Karl Ernst von Baer (1792-1876). Several of the numerous honorary medals awarded her for distinguished scholarship and teaching, from Harvard, Yale Princeton, Bryn Mawr, the Estonian Academy of Sciences, and international scientific congresses are included in the display.

Dr. Oppenheimer's thirty-three item art collection received by the College includes prints and drawings from the 18th to the 20th centuries, particularly French and American examples. Foremost among the prints are two etchings of a frog and an ostrich from Pablo Picasso's Buffon series and an abstract color etching from Jacques Villon's Illustrateurs du Minoir des Poetes. Reflective of her wide interests, her collection also includes a Piranesi etching, English color engravings of biological subjects, nineteenth-century color engravings of the Naples area, a Rodin etching of Antonin Proust, a Raoul Dufy etching of Le Paradis Terrestre, a Leonard Baskin etching of Hans Bol, a Lyonel Feininger woodcut, Marine, and Southwest U.S. watercolor landscapes. Objects include small bronzes, such as the Alchemist on display, a European ivory figural group, a Southwest Pueblo jar by Maria, and an Asian jade recumbant horse. Finally several engravings and photographs of scientists, such as the portrait prints of John Hunter, late eighteenth-century founder of pathological anatomy in England, are shown in the display with plates from his collected works published in 1837.

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