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Leaf Pages of   D. H. Talbot

Date: 1870s


Description: Daniel Hector Talbot, born around 1850 in Iowa City, was a highly influential and interesting character in Sioux City history. Originally employed at Greene brickyard in Riverside, Talbot’s intellect quickly rose him through the ranks, until he quit the brickyard to become a land realtor. In 1873 he began a very lucrative business buying up land scripts from Civil War veterans. Vetrans from the war were given these land scripts as awards for their service, but many were uninterested in land out west.  Talbot bought up these unwanted scripts and resold the land for a considerable profit. Though he earned his fortune from this clever bit of real estate, his real passion was for the sciences. He was a member of Sioux City’s esteemed Academy of Science and Letters, and he bought the land that is now Stone Park and created an experimental farm, studying hybrids and weird species of plants and animals. This collection of odd animals earned Talbot a reputation as an eccentric, and he remained a wealthy bachelor all his life. The Panic of 1893 hit Sioux City and Talbot hard, and he lost his farm and land in a mortgage foreclosure to Thomas J. Stone. Later Stone’s family granted the land to the city, and Stone Park was born. Later during the Great Depression the city ceded the park for financial reasons, and the park became Stone State Park, one of the most famous parks in Sioux City today. Talbot continued studying nature and the sciences until his death in 1911, almost penniless.


These leaf samples were taken by Talbot from his farm (what is now Stone State Park.) To obtain them, leaves from different trees in the park were left on a special, light-sensitive blue paper and left in the sun. After enough exposure time the shape of the leaf was imprinted onto the paper, and then Talbot drew in the vein lines on the paper itself. These samples are, from left to right, red elm, red oak, and an indoor fern.


Donor: Sioux City Academy of Science and Letters.

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