Beaver Dam Historian Discusses Noted Explorer Delia Akeley

(Beaver Dam) A display of the largest elephant ever to come out of the African continent has a connection to Beaver Dam. Local Historian Roger Noll shared the story of Delia Akeley with us recently on WBEV’s Community Comment. Delia was on an expedition in Africa in the early 1900’s with her spouse Carl Akeley. Noll says Carl, who was Taxidermist-in-Chief at Chicago’s Field Museum, was tracking the “bull” elephant when he suffered a significant injury to his face. Carl is said to have told Delia that it was up to her to get the big one, and she did just that. The “Fighting African Elephants” display can be seen to this day in the Stanley Field Hall at the Field Museum in Chicago. Delia is also credited for collecting one of the elephants in the African Hall at the American Museum of Natural History. Anita Streich with the Beaver Dam Community Library says they have a large selection of material on Delia that is included in their Wisconsin Historical Collection as well as several original news clippings.