Impressions from a Lost World: The Discovery of Dinosaur Footprints

William Whiting Draper

1794 - 1881

William Whiting Draper was a businessman in Greenfield, Massachusetts. He was involved in the tool industry and in 1865, patented his design for a brace. Little is known about him beyond that.

In May 1859, Draper wrote to Edward Hitchcock stating that in 1835, he saw in front of the house of William Wilson, a stone slab containing “turkey tracks”. It is possible that he wrote this letter at the request of Hitchcock, who was then in the midst of again fending off any claim James Deane had to scientific discovery of the footprints. Wilson was the contractor who hired Dexter Marsh to construct the sidewalk where the slab containing the tracks was found. In one version of the story, Wilson pointed out the footprints to James Deane, but in another version Draper pointed them out to Wilson, who then brought the tracks to the attention of fellow townspeople, possibly including James Deane, although Deane denied that Wilson or Draper had any influence on his ideas about the fossil footprints.