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.
Mid-century teaching collection of cooking ingredients
A remarkable, home-made collection of 160 samples of cooking ingredients housed in individual glass vials in a portable case, together with a binder of typed notes on the properties and uses of each ingredient. The collection is in excellent condition, with all the fragile glass vials intact and most of the ingredients in good condition, save for a few with mould and one, the french yeast, which is empty and may have leaked.
The collection dates from the mid-20th century, likely the 1950s, and was probably connected with a high school home economics class or a culinary or catering school. Neither the creator nor the institution is named, and it is unclear whether it was designed by a teacher for use in the classroom or compiled by a student as a major project. The largely well-preserved samples include herbs and spices, flours, nuts, beans, grains, infusions, cake decorations, and dried and crystallised fruits and flowers. The accompanying notes have been typed by hand on ruled paper, and are organised by fabric tabs corresponding to the organisational scheme of the samples in the case. The text seems to have been taken largely from reference sources, most notably Margaret Grieve’s A Modern Herbal, originally published in 1931, though none are specifically cited by the creator.
The text emphasises the culinary, practical, and nutritional aspects of the ingredients collected here. The entry for cocoa describes the processing of chocolate nibs into culinary chocolates and lists the constituents of cocoa powder, “Fat 50% (about 30% left in commercial powder), Starch: 16%, Theobromine (an alkaloid): 2-4%, Caffeine, Sugar, Colouring matter and Ash”. Camomile tea is “made from the dried flowers and is reputed to be very good for the complexion. It is so much drunk by American women after lunch instead of coffee that it is now obtainable at most fashionable English hotels. A teaspoonful of the dried flowers is allowed for every cup of water. The boiling water is poured on the flowers, as on tea”. Potato is “useful as a thickening agent for soups, stews, broths, etc. Also for croquettes, rissoles. Can be used for making scones, and potato cakes”.
Medical uses are included where relevant: “Gelatine is known as a protein saver; it has stimulating properties, and helps the flow of gastric juice and thus indirectly aids digestion”, and there are occasional cultural and historical asides. Clary sage “was first brought into use by the German Wine Merchants, who employed it as an adulterant, infusing it with Elder Flowers and then adding the liquid to the Rhenish wine”. “The French use Dill seeds for flavouring sauces, but their use of them does not appeal to us in this country.”
Descriptions are generally at an introductory level, as to be expected from material taken directly from reference works such as encyclopaedias. Ginger, for example, is described as “the underground stems and root of a plant with a hot, spicy flavour. When preserved or crystallised, it is used as a sweetmeat... or as an ingredient of cakes, ginger-bread or biscuits”. Occasionally entries are more technical, such as those for the raising agents. Baking powder “consists of an acid (cream of tartar or tartaric acid) and an alkali (bicarbonate of soda) use (sic) in the proportion of twice the amount of acid to alkali... Immediately it is moistened, the alkali and acid combine to form a salt, and the gas, carbonic acid gas is given off”.
Though most of the samples are fairly standard ingredients found in British kitchens, others are less familiar, or used in unexpected ways. Mate tea, still many decades out from its status as a hip lifestyle drink, is included, the notes merely stating that it is “obtained from a shrum (sic) grown in Paraguay”. Raspberry leaves are “supposed to keep up the strength of the expectant mother”. The “pawpaw melon tree is a native of tropical America but is cultivated in China and other parts of the Tropics. The flavor is that of a bad melon and a white juice exudes from the rind and this juice should not be taken unless under medical supervision.”
Interestingly, the entry for raisins states that, “in latter years there has been a scarcity of this type of dried fruit as it has not been imported in large quantities nor very frequently”, probably due to rationing.
United Kingdom, [c. 1950].
Naugahyde case with handle and steel fittings, containing 160 glass sample bottles sealed with corks and held in place by metal spring clips, typed labels in red and black ink. Accompanied by a Twinlock ring binder of typed notes on the contents and their uses, the leaves on lined paper with fabric tabs at the fore-edge. The original key attached with string to the handle. Steel fittings of the case are rusted, small corroded spot behind one vial (french yeast), possibly where the ingredient has leaked, otherwise all the vials are intact and full. Mild toning of the notes and light rubbing at the tips of the ring binder. Excellent condition.
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.
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.
Wang, Chi Che | The Chemistry of Chinese Preserved Eggs and Chinese Edible Birds' Nests
A lovely copy of the rare offprint of the dissertation of Chinese-American biochemist and civic activist Chi Che Wang (1894 - 1979). WorldCat locates only one copy, in the Bibliothèque Nationale.
“Wang received her bachelor’s degree from Wesley College in 1914 and came to Chicago to attend the University of Chicago, where she received a Master’s degree in chemistry in 1916 and a Ph.D. in nutrition and chemistry in 1918. Soon after her arrival, Chi Che helped found the Chicago Chinese Women’s Club, a group with which she remained active for a decade. After teaching for several years at the University of Chicago, she became a department head conducting medical research for Michael Reese Hospital. Due to the importance of her work, she was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1922.
Between 1931 and 1940, Chi Che lived in Cincinnati where she researched children’s metabolism. In 1943, she accepted a position as assistant professor of physiology at the Northwestern University Medical School. In this position, she specialized in the study of nephrosis in children, and her research headquarters were at Children’s Memorial Hospital. She left Chicago to work for the Mayo Clinic, but returned several years later when she accepted a position with the Hines Veterans Administration Hospital. Among many civic efforts in which she participated, she provided clinical laboratory demonstrations for the Woman’s World’s Fair in Chicago.” (biography on the website of Chi Che Wang Park Advisory Council, Chicago).
Wang’s research, “resulting in numerous publications, was on the chemistry of biological fluids, food products, energy, mineral and protein metabolism of obese and undernourished children and adults” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p. 1345). She was a member of numerous professional organisations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society of Biological Chemists.
...A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of the Ogden Graduate School of Science in candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Chemistry. Private Edition, Distributed by the University of Chicago Libraries. Reprinted from the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol. XLIX, No. 2, December, 1921. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Libraries, 1921.
26 page pamphlet, wire-stitched. Original grey wrappers printed in black. Small pencil mark emphasising the author’s name. Edges of wrappers a little toned. An excellent, fresh copy.
War Office | Women's War Work
First and only edition of this uncommon and evocatively-illustrated publication on women’s contributions on the British home front during the First World War. This copy from the War Office Library, with its ink stamp on the title and upper cover.
Very quickly after the outbreak of the war it became clear that the mobilisation of the male workforce would create shortages of munitions, equipment, and food, and that large numbers of women would need to move into jobs from which they were previously restricted. Despite the hesitance of some officials, factory managers, and trade unions, “reports were conducted early on as to the suitability of women to meet the demands of such work. As early as 1915 the Ministry of Munitions Supply Committee made recommendations on the employment and remuneration of women on munitions work. This helped contribute to agreed suitable conditions by which a woman could be employed, and the War Office published several guides as to the employment of women” (”The Munitionettes and the Work of Women in the First World War”, National Records of Scotland).
Women’s War Work was one of these publications, appearing in 1916 and providing a very detailed list of roles in which women had been “successfully in the temporary replacement of men”, not only in munitions, but also the production of everyday goods such as chemicals and fertiliser, soap, candles, clothing and textiles, food and drink, and paper goods, including printing and book binding. The lists are accompanied by contact details of officials who can assist in the recruitment of women, and by an exceptional 72 large photographs of women at work. One woman is pictured modelling artificial teeth in wax for dentistry; brewery employees roll barrels and clean out vats; wagon washers pose with buckets and brushes in the middle of their messy shift; a smiling woman “stokes the furnaces of a large factory in South London”; an agricultural worker with the Women’s Volunteer Reserve sharpens the blade of a sickle, pianos are tuned, and women are photographed serving as butchers, bakers, window washers, porters, drivers, and posties. Numerous roles within heavy industry are photographed, from the manufacture of ammunition to the production of glass, radiators, tanned leather, and motorcycles. This is a fantastic record of women as home front workers, with most of the images so far having seen little to no reproduction in popular culture.
...In Maintaining the Industries & Export Trade of the United Kingdom. Information Officially Compiled for the Use of Recruiting Officers, Military Representatives and Tribunals. Issued by the War Office, September 1916. London: Printed under the Authority of His Majesty’s Stationery Office by the Chiswick Press, 1916.
Tall quarto. Original grey wrappers printed in black. 20 leaves of glossy paper with integral page numbering, 3 pages of which are text-only and one blank, the rest comprising 72 black and white photographs. War office Library ink stamps to the upper wrapper and title, small blue ink mark to the upper wrapper partially bracketing “War office” in the imprint, spot from sticker removal affecting the tail of the spine and edges of the wrappers. Loss from the spine, which has been strengthened with adhesive at some point in the past. A little light creasing and rubbing at the other edges of the wrappers. Contents clean. A very good copy.