Agriculture & Food Science
Aikin, John | The Calendar of Nature
Third edition of this charming little book on the changing of the seasons from month to month by the “physician and man of letters” John Aiken (1747-1822) (Hahn, The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature).
Aiken charming combines practical knowledge of nature and gardening with literary references. For April he writes: “This month gives the most perfect image of Spring; for its vicissitudes of warm gleams of sunshine, and gentle showers, have the most wonderful effects in hastening that universal springing of the vegetable tribes, from whence the season derives its appellation. April generally begins with raw unpleasant weather, the influence of the equinoctial storms still in some degree prevailing, Its opening is thus described in a poem of Mr. Warton’s: ‘Mindful of disaster past, And thinking of the northern blast, The fleety storm returning still, The morning hoar; the evening chill; Reluctant comes the timid Spring...’ Early in the month, that welcome guest and harbinger of Summer, the swallow, returns. The kind first seen, is the chimney, or house, swallow, known by its long forked tail, and red breast. At first, here and there, only one appears, glancing quick by us, as if scarcely able to endure the cold. ‘The swallow for a moment seen, Skims in haste the village green’.”
A very nice copy in an attractive contemporary tree calf binding. With the ownership inscription and notes of a woman, Eliza Davenport, who obtained this copy in 1810. Davenport’s short pencilled notes at the rear of the volume relate to a handful of observations of flowering plants and other phenomena.
...Designed for the Instruction and Entertainment of Young Persons. The Third Edition. London: Joseph Johnson, 1787.
Duodecimo (155 x 95mm). Contemporary tree calf, spine gilt in compartments, marbled endpapers. 1810 ownership inscription to the verso of the front free endpaper, pencilled notes of a similar date to the verso of the rear blank. Binding lightly rubbed at the extremities, the corner of B6 torn, not affecting the text, light spotting to the contents. Very good condition.
Buckland, Frank T. | Fish Hatching
First edition. A lovely, fresh copy of this important early work on raising young salmon by the Victorian Era's leading authority on pisciculture.
The naturalist Francis Trevelyan Buckland (1826-1880) began his career as a military surgeon in London, where he "eagerly embraced every opportunity of examining curious specimens of natural history, and abnormal growths, describing his observations in his Curiosities of Natural History, begun in 1858". In 1856 he joined the staff of the Field newspaper, and in 1865 he founded his own journal, Land and Water, an ‘independent channel for diffusing knowledge of practical natural history, and fish and oyster culture’.
Buckland "applied himself to the many economic questions affecting the artificial supply of salmon, the length of the close season, the condition of different salmon rivers, and similar investigations, gradually becoming the highest authority on pisciculture. In February 1867... he was appointed inspector of salmon fisheries. No more congenial post could have been offered to him, and from then on he devoted all his energies not merely to the duties of his office, but to the study of every point connected with the history of the salmon, and endeavoured in every way to improve the condition of British fisheries and those employed in them. This involved frequent visits to the rivers and coasts of the country, when he was always a welcome guest among people of all classes" (ODNB).
This volume was originally presented as a lecture at the Royal Institution in April, 1863. Buckland wrote in the preface that it was "a record of the observations which I have made during my experiments in Fish Hatching carried out during the winter months". He also thanked "Professor Faraday for his kind attention" as well as "Professor Tyndall, who was good enough to exhibit the young fish alive under the electric lamp, thereby adding so much to the general interest which I was most pleased to hear was caused among those present on the night of the Lecture".
In May 1865 Buckland was appointed scientific referee to the South Kensington Museum (now the Science Museum), where he established a large collection related to pisciculture which formed the basis of the International Fisheries Exhibition of 1883 and was on display until the latter half of the 20th century. "In his lifetime Buckland was regarded as one of the most whimsical of naturalists and, with all its stories of his doings and escapades, his biography was published in popular fiction as a ‘good romance'" (ODNB).
- London: Tinsley Brothers, 1863. Octavo. Original green pebble-grain cloth, titles to spine gilt, boards blocked in blind. Frontispiece. Contemporary ownership signature to front pastedown. Just a little rubbing at the extremities, minor spotting to edges of textblock. A fresh and attractive copy in excellent condition.
Hammond, P. W. & Harold Egan | Weighed in the Balance. A History of the Laboratory of the Government Chemist
First edition, first impression of this comprehensive account of the history of government chemical and measurement standards laboratories in the United Kingdom. A very nice copy.
London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office for the Laboratory of the Government Chemist, 1992.
Quarto. Original green boards, titles to spine and crest with balance and crown to the upper board gilt. With the dust jacket. Illustrations from photographs throughout the text. Corners bumped, also slightly affecting the corners of the dust jacket, but otherwise fresh. An excellent copy.
Patterson, Flora W. & Vera K. Charles | Mushrooms and Other Common Fungi
First edition of this well-illustrated guide to mushroom identification for the amateur collector.
The first female mycologist to work at the United States Department of Agriculture, Flora Patterson (1847-1928) exhibited “the tenacity, audacity, and perspicacity of a true scientific visionary” (Reynolds, “Flora Patterson”, Women in Microbiology, p. 219). She initially studied fungi as a childhood hobby, then attended several universities as a non-traditional student, taking a plant pathology course at Iowa State and completing her education at Radcliffe College, from where she was able to work in the Harvard Grey Herbarium.
At the USDA Patterson “published on edible and poisonous mushrooms and on fungus diseases of economic importance, working and publishing with the mycologist Vera Charles” (Ogilvie, p. 990). Patterson directed the US National Fungus Collections for nearly thirty years, growing it from 19,000 to 115,000 specimens. She was in charge of identifying fungal diseases of agricultural importance, and made numerous important contributions in this area, including the identification of chestnut blight and pineapple rot. Her involvement in Japan’s gift of cherry trees to the US led to the passage of the Plant Quarantine Act of 1912.
Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office for the United States Department of Agriculture, 1915.
Octavo. Original cream wrappers printed in black. 38 plates from photographs. Wrappers faintly toned, mild dampstain affecting the lower corner of the wrappers and text, with some abraded areas where the corners of the leaves have stuck together, not generally affecting text. Very good condition.
Payne, Nellie M. | “Freezing and Survival of Insects at Low Temperature"
The uncommon offprint of the doctoral thesis of entomologist and agricultural chemist Dr. Nellie Maria de Cottrell Payne (1900 - 1990). WorldCat locates only nine copies, mainly in central European institutions, as well as the University of Minnesota, Cornell, and McGill.
Payne was born in Colorado and obtained her graduate degrees at Kansas State Agricultural College and the University of Minnesota. Her research encompassed “insect and invertebrate cold hardiness, pigments of hydroids, and the physiology and mathematics of population growth... Following the completion of her doctorate, she was appointed as a National Research Foundation Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania until 1927, spending a brief time afterwards at the University of Vienna and University Berlin as a research investigator. She then returned to the University of Minnesota as a lecturer in entomology from 1933 to 1937. Payne also spent numerous summers in the late 1920s and early 1930s at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts, publishing primarily on the hibernation and low temperature effects of insects and the physiological effects of parasitoids on their hosts. Of her 36 publications, all as sole author, 33 were a result of her research prior to entering industry. In 1937, she began her career in industry as a research entomologist and zoologist with American Cyanamid. In 1957, she accepted a position as a literature chemist for Velsicol Chemical in Chicago, with whom she remained until 1971... In addition to her active membership in ESA, Payne was also a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Society of Zoologists, and the New York Academy of Science. She served as editor and member staff of Biological Abstracts from 1927–1933, and was elected as member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1921” (Entomological Society of America biography).
...A thesis submitted to the faculty of the graduate school of the university of Minnesota in partial fulfillment for the degree of doctor of philosophy.” Reprinted from the Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 1, No. 2, April, 1926, pp. 270-282. Baltimore: Quarterly Review of Biology, 1926.
14 page offprint. Original cream wrappers, titles printed to upper wrapper, stapled. Tiny pencil notation to upper wrapper. Wrappers partially toned and a little rubbed and creased, mild creasing of the top corners of the leaves. An excellent copy.
Peck, Leilani, Leonora Moragne, et al | Focus on Food
First edition. One of the authors of this home economics textbook was the prominent Black nutrition scientist Lenora Moragne (1931-2020) who worked as a hospital dietician before earning her doctorate at Cornell.
“With an illustrious career that spanned 60 years, Moragne held positions in hospitals, industry, nutrition publishing, academia and government. Her positions within the federal government include head of nutrition education and training for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service; nutrition coordinator at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and a professional staff member for Sen. Bob Dole (Kan.), specializing in nutrition. She was the first professional female (of any race or ethnic group) to be employed by the Senate Agriculture Committee. From 1970 until she was recruited by Dole, Moragne taught at Hunter College and was the college’s first African American professor. During her years in Washington, D.C., she wrote nutrition legislation, improved school lunch programs and developed a pamphlet titled ‘Nutrition and Your Health…Dietary Guidelines for Americans 1990.’ Moragne often traveled throughout the U.S. to promote nutrition and dietetics and delivered lectures to nutrition professionals” (”Remembering Leonora Morage”, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation website, February 5th 2021).
New York: Webster Division, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1974.
Quarto. Original orange laminate boards printed in green and purple. Colour illustrations throughout. Binding a little rubbed and bumped, mild waviness to text block. A very good copy.
Schultes, Richard Evans & Albert Hofmann | Plants of the Gods. Origins of Hallucinogenic Use
First edition, first printing of this key reference on hallucinogenic plants by two leaders of the 20th-century psychedelics movement. Copies in fine condition such as this one are particularly uncommon.
Widely considered the founder of modern ethnobotany, Richard Schultes (1915-2001) spent most of his career travelling the Amazon, where he consulted with indigenous people and investigated the plants they used for religious and medicinal purposes. His co-author, Albert Hoffman (1906-2008), was the Swiss chemist who first synthesised LSD and discovered its hallucinogenic effects, and who later isolated psilocybin and psilocin, the primary psychedelic compounds in mushrooms. This volume, copiously illustrated and written for a popular audience, describes the primary species of psychoactive plants and explores their use around the world and throughout history.
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979.
Quarto. Original green cloth, title to spine and design to upper board gilt. With the dust jacket. Colour illustrations throughout. A fine copy.
Shields, E. Floyd | Coachella Valley Desert Trails and The Romance and Sex Life of the Date
First edition of this charming tourist booklet promoting the Coachella Valley and Shields Date Gardens, the famous “home of the date shake” on Highway 111 in Indio, California.
Date agriculture was introduced to the Coachella Valley when the US Department of Agriculture set up an experimental station in the region in 1904. “In the following decades, crop production grew exponentially, from approximately 100,000 pounds in 1919 to 1 million pounds in 1926, and then by 1955 to 48 million pounds of dates” (Conrad, “From Experiment to Celebrated Product, Dates Find a Home in Coachella Valley”, The Desert Sun.) Today the valley is home to the majority of US date farms.
The Shields Date Gardens were founded by E. Floyd and Bess Shields in 1924. Floyd was a pioneering agriculturist who developed several of his own date varieties and invented products like date sugar and date crystals for use in cooking, including in the date milkshakes sold at the gardens. He was an indefatigable marketer, directing tourists to the farm shop with a giant knight in armour, the “guardian of quality”, and offering lectures on date cultivation to the public. “The lectures proved to be a popular draw, leading Shields to incorporate a slide show and recorded soundtrack into a multimedia production. The 15-minute presentation, ‘The Romance and Sex Life of the Date,’ modified only slightly over the years, is still shown today in a small theater” (Sellers, “A Date in the Desert, California Bountiful, the California Farm Bureau, March/April 2009).
This guidebook directs tourists to local sites in “the land of romance and sunshine”, including 29 Palms and Joshua Tree (created as a National Park only fifteen years previously), the Salton Sea, Palm Springs, Painted Canyon, the All American Canal, and the annual “Arabian Nights” pageant. The second half is based on ‘The Romance and Sex Life of the Date’. Well-illustrated from photographs taken on the Shields’ farm, it focuses on the difficulty of propagating, caring for, and hand-pollinating the palms, and educates consumers on the economics of date agriculture, suggesting the prices they should expect to pay for high-quality fruit.
Also advertised in the booklet are Shields’ unique products, including date sugar, butter, and crystals, with suggestions and recipes for their use. “Two-thirds grapenuts and one third Shields Date Crystals make a wonderful breakfast. Shields Date Crystals can also be used dry on any kind of cereal, salads, ice cream, etc... As an after school snack for the children Shields Date Crystals will make a delicious and healthful sandwich — suggest using graham crackers.”
Indio, CA: Shields Date Gardens, 1952.
40-page, wire-stitched pamphlet. Original buff wrappers printed in brown and orange with an image of the rising sun over a desert landscape to the upper wrapper and a cartoon of a knight pointing to the Shields farm on the lower wrapper. Illustrated throughout with photographs and maps. Partially erased price and a little light dampstain to the cover. Occasional tiny spots to contents, which are faintly toned. A clean and fresh copy in excellent condition.
Taylor, Clara Mae | Food Values in Shares and Weights
Third printing, published the year after the first. With the ownership inscription, pencilled notes, and December 1944 report card of Eva Bernice Simmons, a student at the North Carolina College for Negroes, now North Carolina Central University.
Author Clara Mae Taylor (1989-?) attended Columbia University Teacher’s College and then taught at the Rhode Island Teacher’s College and at her alma mater. She earned her PhD in nutrition science at age forty after spending a year in research at Oxford. “During World War II, Taylor directed a research project under the Department of Agriculture that investigated energy metabolism in children. She also studied metabolism in women at different ages. Her animal experiments on white rats and guinea pigs included dietary studies, an investigation of different levels of ascorbic acid on reproduction, and studies on lactation and survival rates. During the war and the immediate post-war period, she served as a nutritional consultant to two popular women’s magazines, Woman’s Home Companion and Parents Magazine” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p. 1269).
New York: The Macmillan Company, 1943.
Tall quarto. Original grey cloth, titles to spine and upper board in black. Colour frontispiece. Contemporary inked ownership inscription to the front free endpaper, pencilled notes in the same hand to the front pastedown. Cloth rubbed and with a few small marks and spots, spine and edge of upper board tanned, edges of contents spotted. A very good copy.
The American Products Company | Zanol. The Better Way to Buy. Catalog No. 20
A beautiful, 78 page chromolithographic catalogue for the American Products Company’s Zanol line of cosmetics, food products, and home goods, including 16 pages in full colour. A superb example of Art Deco marketing design.
The American Products Company was founded in 1907 by three brothers, Albert, Edgar and Clarence Mihalovitch (Albert later changed his surname to Mills), of Cincinnati, who hoped to capture the growing Midwestern consumer market (see “Cosmetics by the American products Company”, Collecting Vintage Compacts blog, January 2012). This catalogue promotes “Shopping in Your Own Home the Zanol Way”, and explains that “the Zanol plan affords you the opportunity of buying the finest products possible to produce, direct from the maker, delivered right to your home, absolutely fresh, unconditionally guaranteed... The complete Zanol line comprises more than 350 products... all of them made from the choicest ingredients in our sanitary, daylight Pure Food Kitchens and Laboratories, under the direction of skilled chemists, chefs, and dieticians”.
Advertised here are a wide array of consumables, with a focus on powders and syrups that could be shipped easily and would appeal to an emerging middle class who were time and money-conscious. For the kitchen there are food flavourings and colours, and numerous instant mixes for soft drinks, jams and jellies, icing, cakes, pies, and puddings. Among them are Ezemade pumpkin pie filling (”it is now possible to serve delicious pumpkin pie throughout the year”); Flakykrust instant pie crust; Mapelade instant maple syrup (”now you can afford delicious maple syrup whenever you want it”); and even Ezemade ice cream powder (”just add to a quart of milk and freeze”). The broad selection of home goods include medications and hygiene products, house cleaning and repair supplies, hot water bottles, paints, insecticide, and even a set of salt and pepper shakers. Perhaps the most appealing section is the beauty line, comprising soaps and toothpaste (”don’t envy pretty teeth - have them”); face and body powders; a variety of lotions including almond, lemon and witch hazel, cucumber and benzoine, and “dermaline of roses” (”keep the alluring charms of radiant youth”); shampoos, pomade, and hair tonics; cosmetics including powder compacts and tubes of lipstick; and perfumes, primarily their three main lines, La Bara (named after the silent film “vamp” Theda Bara, best known for playing Cleopatra), Fleur d’Orient, and Dream Girl. There are also a number of gift sets packaging perfumes, soaps and cosmetics, including a shaving kit for men, sets for new mothers, and an attractive La Barra manicure kit.
Edition A. Cincinnati, OH: The American Products Company, May, 1925.
Perfect bound (355 x 280 mm). Original brown wrappers printed in blue and cream, brown cloth backstrip. 78 pages, of which 16 are in full colour and the rest being uncoloured lithographs on single-colour backgrounds. With the original order form loosely inserted. Light rubbing at the extremities, small chips at the ends of the spine. A fresh copy in excellent condition.
[Rothamsted Experimental Station] | Drawings and Plans of the Lawes Testimonial Laboratory
First and only edition of this uncommon set of lithographs depicting the first purpose-built laboratory at one of the oldest agricultural research institutions in the world, the Rothamsted Experimental Station (now Rothamsted Research), most famous for the Park Grass Experiment, which has been running continuously since 1856. WorldCat locates copies only at Harvard, Illinois, and the Royal Danish Library.
Rothamstead was founded in 1843 by the chemist and entrepreneur John Bennet Lawes (1814-1900) who made significant experiments on fertilizers at his family estate during the 1830s and was awarded a patent for the process of using sulphuric acid to decompose bones so that their calcium phosphate could be taken up by plants. His fertiliser manufacturing plants earned a considerable fortune, which he reinvested in agricultural research.
“Lawes invited Joseph Henry Gilbert (1817–1901) to join him at Rothamsted as chemist, and in practice to be director in charge of the day-to-day management of agricultural experiments. This began a lifelong association, and virtually all the results of the Rothamsted experiments, certainly from the mid-1850s onwards, were published under the joint names of Lawes and Gilbert. The establishment of the Rothamsted Experimental Station also effectively dates from 1843, when the previous superphosphate trials ceased and the continuous recording of the wheat yields from Broadbalk Field began. This was—and continues to be—a ‘control’ plot on which wheat was grown continuously without any manure, and it became the most famous field in the world” (ODNB).
Many in the farming community “appreciated the generous way in which he freely publicized the results and thus provided extremely valuable guidance on which fertilizers, or farmyard manure, and in what amounts, to use on which crops. His growing reputation for liberality and support of objective and disinterested agricultural research helped him to win the patent cases; it moved the farmers, initially of Hertfordshire and then of the country at large, to raise a public testimonial to him in 1853 in recognition of his contributions to the improvement of agriculture. The money was used to build the Testimonial Laboratory at Rothamsted, which replaced the original barn. This was a pretentious and poorly constructed building, which collapsed in 1912” (ODNB).
Despite this, the research station was a resounding success. The work undertaken there “laid the foundations for the systematic study of the effects of fertilizers and nutrients on soils and plant growth... less well-known experiments with farm animals, mainly conducted between 1848 and 1864, initiated controlled research into the effects of different diets on weight-gain in cattle, sheep, and pigs, and, crucially, into measuring the chemical composition and manurial value of the excreta produced by the different diets” (ODNB). All scientific work at the station was undertaken for practical agricultural purposes, and “Rothamsted became so frequently and intensively visited that a marquee with beer and other refreshments for visiting groups was almost permanently in use. This reputation was further enhanced by Lawes's announcement that he would give £100,000 from the proceeds of selling his factories to provide for the long-term future of the Rothamsted station. He redeemed this promise in 1889 by establishing the Lawes Agricultural Trust with that endowment, to which the laboratory, and the several fields of the home farm which were used for the experiments, were assigned on long lease” (ODNB).
...Rothamsted, Herts. London: F. Dangerfield, 1860.
Oblong folio (370 x 540 mm). 2 tinted lithographic views and 2 lithographic plans, stitched in buff wrappers with lithographed title. Stitching a little loose, adhesive residue along one edge of the wrappers where original cloth backing is lacking, dampstain affecting the upper left corners of the contents but not affecting the images, some nicks and creasing. Very good condition.