Great Plains Natural Science Society


Date of this Version


Document Type



The Prairie Naturalist 40(112): March/June 2008, p 59.


Ralph Handsaker was an Iowan farmer whose "ravenous curiosity" (page 4) about the natural world inspired him to become an oologist, or egg collector. This book tells the story of Handsaker's eggs, contained in two large cabinets that remained hidden in the living room of his boarded-up house after his death in 1969, until they were rediscovered in 2003 and shown to the author, wildlife conservationist, and photographer, Carrol Henderson. Ralph's eggs can "talk" by virtue of Henderson's chronicle-using the eggs as guides-of not only Ralph's own passion for natural history and egg collecting, but also the history of conservation and the network of fellow oologists from whom Ralph obtained many eggs from all over the world.