(NASA) Corliss, William R. | Putting Satellites to Work
First edition and a beautiful copy of this early NASA publication on satellites and their applications, written for high school aged students.
The contents include sections on weather and climate monitoring, global mapping and photography, geodesy, communications, and navigation, discussing contemporary achievements as well as possibilities for the future. As Leonard Jaffe, director of NASA’s Space Applications Program, writes in the introduction, “One of the major avenues of intellectual and program effort that has guided us at NASA has been the concept, at first unproved but now clearly valid, that space systems can provide unique, direct benefits to man, benefits not before possible or economically feasible... Communications, navigation, geodetic, and meteorological space systems are operational today, and their existence, once the subject of science fiction, is now a practical fact. It is clear that many potential applications exist: the one most clearly on the horizon is the possibility of surveying the Earth’s resources from space. We are really just beginning to develop the possibilities in this area of research, but we can clearly foresee that during the next decade NASA can... provide tools which may significantly affect the efficiency and thus the quality of our life here on Earth”.
Author William Corliss (1926-2011), a physicist and writer interested in anomalous phenomena such as unusual weather, geophysical oddities, and optical illusions, described by Arthur C. Clark as “ [Charles] Fort's latter-day - and much more scientific - successor” (Clark, Astounding Days, p. 110).
...America in Space: The First Decade. Washington D.C.: NASA, October 1, 1968.
Large octavo, 26 pages. Original black and white wrappers, stapled. Illustrations throughout. Minor creasing to the top corner. Excellent condition.
Bewick, Thomas | A History of British Birds
The seventh edition of one of the finest illustrated ornithology books ever published, the first field guide affordable to the middle class. This being the final edition to include new wood engravings, including Bewick’s last bird engraving, the Cream Coloured Plover. An attractive set, the contents fresh.
“In early May 1825, near Helpston in Northampstonshire, the poet John Clare saw a small brown bird that he could not identify. Did anyone, he asked his friend Joseph Henderson, have a copy of Bewick’s Birds? All lovers of birds in these years looked to Bewick. He spoke directly to a man like Clare, a former farm worker and lime burner who knew every inch of the fields around his home, and to Henderson, head gardener at the nearby hall. Bewick was in his seventies by then, but he came from the same world as them, growing up on a small-holding in the Tyne Valley... He was a fine naturalist himself, and his work combined keen, detailed observation with a new approach showing animals and birds in their natural settings, as part of the whole great interrelated web of nature. ‘Nature’ and God fused together in Bewick’s vision, as a rolling force that infused every aspect of life, from the habits of an ant to the vastness of the universe, ‘this sublime, this amazing, this mighty work of Suns and Worlds innumerable’. He felt its darkness as well as its beauty and his work touched the dawning Romantic age: Wordsworth was among the first to sing his praises and Charlotte Brontë placed his prints of icy seas in the hands of her young heroine, Jane Eyre” (Uglow, Nature’s Engraver, pp. xvii-xviii).
Newcastle: for R. E. Bewick, sold by him, Longman and Co., 1832.
2 volumes, octavo (211 x 129 mm). Mid-19th century calf, spines elaborately gilt in compartments with floral tools, brown morocco labels, double gilt fillets, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers and edges. Wood engravings throughout. Bindings a little rubbed with a few small scuffs and abrasions, including a one and a half cm abrasion affecting a title label on volume I, light spotting to the title of volume II but otherwise the contents are clean and fresh. Very good condition.
Buick, Thomas Lindsay | The Mystery of the Moa: New Zealand's Avian Giant.
First edition, first impression. An unusually attractive copy in the scarce dust jacket. The Mystery of the Moa is a scientific and historical narrative of the giant birds of New Zealand, covering their origin in prehistory, behavior and habitat, relationship to Maori culture, extinction, and the European search for fossils and living specimens. The plates include photographs of Moa skeletons and eggs (including the famous image of Sir Richard Owen next to the York specimen), New Zealand landscapes, and Maori and European individuals associated with the Moa.
Author Thomas Lindsay Buick (1865-1938) "was a man of considerable intellectual ability, substantially self-educated, who began writing New Zealand history by chance but soon developed a lasting commitment to the task. During a busy career as a journalist he managed to write 12 books and a small number of pamphlets, many of which he published at his own expense. Buick had a fluent prose style and a firm sense of narrative structure. He synthesised a wide range of printed sources and, particularly for his earlier works, sought out eyewitnesses and others closely associated with historical events. Through The Treaty of Waitangi and other books and speeches, he played an important role in establishing the treaty as New Zealand's foremost historical document, asserting that it was 'in very truth the foundation of our nationhood'. He belongs to the small group of New Zealand-born historians, including Robert McNab, James Cowan and Elsdon Best, writing in the first quarter of the twentieth century, who worked out of a sense of duty and with little or no financial reward to make New Zealand's past readily accessible to the general reader" (Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand online).
- Published under the auspices of The Board of Maori Ethnological Research. Illustrated. New Plymouth, NZ: Thomas Avery & Sons Limited, 1931. Octavo. Original dark blue-green pebble cloth boards, titles to spine and upper board gilt. With the dust jacket. Frontispiece and 26 plates. Corner of upper board bumped, cloth a little dulled, white mark to upper board, a little light spotting to edges of text block and occasionally to contents. A very good copy in the jacket that is generally fresh with a few spots, a faint ring to the upper board, and some small chips and short closed tears.
Coupin, H. & John Lea | The Romance of Animal Arts & Crafts
- A handsomely bound copy of this illustrated book on structures built by animals, including insect and bird nests, burrows and tunnels, homes bored into rock and wood, and constructions of mud and natural cements. Originally published in 1906 or 07.
- Being an Interesting Account of the Spinning, Weaving, Sewing, Manufacture of Paper and Pottery, Aeronautics, Raft-Building, Road-Making, and Various Other Industries of Wild-Life. With Many Illustrations. London: Seely, Service & Co. Limited, 1927. Octavo (187 x126 mm). Contemporary red half calf prize binding for the City of London Freeman's School, spine gilt in compartments, crest to upper board gilt, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. Frontispiece and 15 plates, 2 illustrations within the text. Prize bookplate. Spine a little faded, a little rubbing at the extremities, light spotting to edges of text block. An excellent copy.
Day, Lewis F. | Nature and Ornament
First editions, first printings of this uncommon two-volume set on designing from nature by Lewis F. Day (1845-1910).
"Day took from his early training a special interest in stained glass design, gradually acquiring a wider reputation as a designer for textiles, pottery, carpets, wallpapers, silver, and many other branches of manufacture. His designs were always carefully adapted to the material in which they were to be carried out, and to the processes of manufacture which had to be employed. He belonged to the same school of artist–craftsmen as William Morris and Walter Crane, and his influence on contemporary ornament, if not so fully recognized as that of those two artists, was considerable. An important educator in design, many of the best-known designers of his day were taught by him and benefited from his belief in natural forms of ornament and high standards of craftsmanship" (ODNB).
- Nature the Raw Material of Design [with] Ornament The Finished Product of Design. London: B. T. Batsford, 1908 & 1909. 2 volumes, octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spines and upper boards in white, patterned endpapers. Illustrations throughout. Contemporary ownership inscription to each half title. Volume I with minor bumping of the corners, partial fading of the spine and upper board, and a couple of small spots; spines rolled, spotting to edges of text block and particularly to the preliminaries. A very good set.
Emanuel, Harry | Diamonds and Precious Stones
First edition, first impression of this delightful book on precious stones. Included in the text are a lovely chromolithographic title page and other lithographic illustrations, chapters on their history and appearance in classical literature and the Bible, their characteristics and values, identification, and technical information on cutting and polishing. A very attractive copy in unusually nice condition.
...Their History, Value and Distinguishing Characteristics. With simple tests for their identification.
London: John Camden Hotten, 1865.
Octavo. Original purple cloth blocked in gilt, purple coated endpapers. 6 page publisher’s ad at rear. Chromolithographic half title, 4 tinted lithographic plates and 1 monochrome lithographic plate, illustrations within the text. Elegant ownership inscription dated 1879 to the verso of the first leaf. Cloth lightly rubbed, spine slightly darkened, some tiny spots on the upper board, occasional light spotting. An excellent copy.
Gibson, Charles R. | Our Good Slave Electricity
First edition, first printing. Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, "With the author's best wishes, December 1916, Chas. R. Gibson".
This charming volume on electricity was described by The Nation as an "exquisitely clear book for childish beginners". It was written by science populariser Charles R. Gibson, best known for his Romance of Modern... series on various subjects in engineering and technology.
Gibson himself was described as "Among writers for boys on science, easily the most skillful... He writes so clearly, simply and charmingly about the most difficult things that his books are quite as entertaining as any ordinary book of adventure. Mr. Gibson has a first-rate scientific mind and considerable scientific attainments. He is never guilty of an inexact phrase, certainly, never an obscure one or a misleading analogy. We could imagine him having a vogue among our young folk comparable with that of Jules Verne" (The Nation).
- London: Seeley, Service & Co., Limited, 1915. Octavo. Original green cloth elaborately blocked in red, black, and gilt. Frontispiece and 7 plates from photographs, 15 engravings within the text. Contemporary ownership signature to the verso of the front free endpaper. Boards a little bumped and rubbed, gilt to spine dulled, some spotting to contents. A very good copy.
Jeans, James | The Mysterious Universe
- First edition, first impression of this elegant Art Deco style volume on cosmology, uncommon in the dust jacket. Author James Jeans (1877-1946) was a respected Cambridge mathematician and astronomer, best known for his work on rotating, gravitational bodies, " a problem of fundamental importance that had already been tackled by some of the leading mathematicians" (ODNB), and the motions, structures, and life-cycles of stars and stellar clusters. "In 1928 Jeans's academic work Astronomy and Cosmogony came to the attention of S. C. Roberts, the secretary of Cambridge University Press, who appreciated the general interest of its subject matter and the attraction of Jeans's writing style. He persuaded Jeans to write a popular account, The Universe Around Us, which was published by the press in 1929" (ODNB). Jeans's popularity as a writer "depended partly on his topic—new, thought provoking views of the universe—and partly on his style, which combined an authoritative knowledge of the subject with a vivid turn of phrase" (ODNB). The present volume was the second of Jeans's works for a general readership, and is an expanded version of the Rede Lecture he gave at Cambridge in 1930. It includes chapters on the origin of our solar system, "the new world of modern physics", the relationship between matter and energy, relativity theory, and the structure of the universe, and is illustrated throughout by stylish Art Deco woodcuts. The book proved to be so popular that Jeans's conclusion, ‘the Great Architect of the Universe now begins to appear as a pure mathematician’, has often been quoted (ODNB). An attractive copy of this under-appreciated book.
- New York & Cambridge: The Macmillan Company; Cambridge University Press, 1930. Octavo. Original black cloth, titles to spine and upper board in red, pictorial endpapers. With the dust jacket. Frontispiece and 6 woodcut plates, woodcut head-pieces, diagrams within the text. Cloth generally fresh, with just a little wear at the tips, contents faintly toned. An excellent copy in the very good, price-clipped jacket that is a little rubbed and toned with some nicks and short splits repaired with tape on the verso.
Martius, Ernst Wilhelm | Neueste Anweisung, Pflanzen nach dem Leben abzudruken
First edition of this rare work on nature printing, an unsophisticated copy in the original wrappers, with four delicately produced plates, an unusually high number. Of the copies in institutional catalogues with plate counts listed, that in the German National Museum contains four plates, the Bavarian State Library copy contains three plates, those at Strasbourg, Munich, and Harvard have two plates, and the Bonn copy has only one.The plates provided are not always the same, with those present here being bittersweet, club moss, lilly of the valley, and belladonna.
Author Ernst Wilhelm Martius (1756-1849) was a Regensburg apothecary, university instructor, and founding member of the Regensberg Botanical Society. He “devised a better way of inking leaves on a polished copper plate: the copper shining through made it easy to see whether any areas were underinked. Martius’s largest work containing nature prints was Icones Planatrum Originales (Original Images of Plants), issued in 1780. His method of working was shown in his Neueste Anweisung, Pflanzen nach dem Leben abzudrucken (New Instructions on Taking Fresh Prints from Plants) published in Wetzlar in 1784” (Cave, Impressions of Nature, p. 52). Of particular interest in Neueste Anweisung is the illustration on the title page depicting the press Martius devised, and the work also includes a history of nature printing (based on that of Beckmann) and a list of subscribers.
...Nebst einigen abgedrukten Pflanzen. Wetzlar: Winkler (for the author), 1784.
Octavo. Original grey wrappers. 4 folding plates, engraving depicting Martius’s press to the title, headpiece and tailpiece. Contemporary inked shelf number “244” to spine. Wrappers foxed and a little creased at the extremities with short closed tears at the ends of the spine, spotting and toning to contents, small square area on the back wrapper which may be an old repair. A very good copy.
Moore, Harold | Metals and Alloys
First edition of this uncommon mid-century children’s book, stylishly illustrated throughout with diagrams depicting atoms and molecules, the microscopic structure of metals and alloys, and industrial processes.
“The Nuffield Foundation Science Teaching Project operated via sections based at the Project's headquarters at Chelsea College, London, developing content and methods of presentation for teaching science subjects at various levels. The Publications Department produced materials for these projects in physical science, physics, chemistry and biology at different levels. Many were published jointly by Longman and Penguin, with Penguin handling most of the production and design and Longman handling distribution, sales and some editing” (King’s College London archives catalogue, reference GB0100 KCLCA CNU/PBN).
...Chemistry Background Books. London & Harmondsworth, Middlesex: for the Nuffield Foundation by Longman/Penguin Books, 1968.
Sextodecimo. Original limp, plastic coated wrappers printed in grey, black and red. Illustrated throughout. Wrappers a little rubbed and faintly toned, contents fresh. An excellent copy.
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center | Science in Orbit
First edition and a beautiful copy of this book celebrating the Space Shuttle’s scientific mission and laboratory capabilities, copiously illustrated in full colour. Among the topics covered in this technically advanced volume are studying the human body in space; materials and chemical processes in microgravity; observing the Sun; plasma physics in space; atmospheric science and Earth observations; and astronomy and astrophysics.
...The Shuttle & Spacelab Experience: 1981-1986. Washington D. C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1988.
Tall quarto. Original illustrated boards depicting the space shuttle, dark blue embossed endpapers. Colour illustrations throughout. Small area of residue where ownership ticket or small bookplate was removed from the front pastedown. Very light rubbing at the tips, pages faintly toned at the edges. Excellent condition.
NASA | From Here, Where? A Source Book in Space Oriented Mathematics
First edition and an excellent copy of this book of space-related mathematics for high school teachers.
This volume was published as part of NASA’s drive to incorporate space science into American curriculums during the Space Race. As Michael J. Vaccaro, chairman of the Committee on Space Science Oriented Mathematics, writes in the introduction, “Surrounded by a changing world, the teacher of today must relate new knowledge and new experiences to his students. However, there is a gap between teacher needs and available textbook material. This problem is particularly acute in the areas affected by our efforts in the scientific exploration of space due to the exponential growth of scientific and technical information. Until the results of this research can be incorporated into textbooks for classroom use, supplemental material must provide a partial solution to meeting these needs.” The contents begin with lesson plans on the Ptolemaic and Copernican systems, the solar system, and observing the stars and planets, and go on to cover basic rocketry, gravity and motion, navigation, and studying the weather from space.
...for Secondary Levels. Prepared from materials furnished by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in cooperation with the United States Office of education by a Committee on Space Science Oriented Mathematics. Washington D. C.: NASA and the US Office of Education, 1965.
Large octavo, 192 pages. Original green wrappers printed in black. Illustrations and diagrams throughout the text. Lightly rubbed at the extremities, spine toned. An excellent copy.
Pagé, Victor W. (ed.) | Henley's ABC of Gliding and Sailflying
First UK edition, originally published in the US in the previous year. An attractive copy and uncommon in the jacket.
The earliest successful glider was created by the British aeronautical designer Sir George Cayley and flown in 1853, initiating a wave of research into both unpowered and powered flight, and gliders had become relatively sophisticated by the time the Wright Brothers flew the first powered aircraft in 1903. It wasn’t until the 1920s, however, that gliding became an organised sport, making this an early popular guide for the beginner. Heavily illustrated, it contains information on the mechanics of flight; the different types of gliders, including powered gliders and water gliders; glider design and construction; and detailed chapters on key components such as brakes, control cables, fuselage, and wing frames.
London: Chapman & Hall, Ltd., 1931.
Duodecimo. Original blue cloth, title to spine gilt, publisher’s logo to upper bard in blind. With the dust jacket. Photographic frontispiece, illustrations throughout the text. Ownership inscription dated 1943 to the front free endpaper. Cloth very lightly rubbed at the extremities but otherwise bright and fresh, faint partial toning to the endpapers, faint spotting to the endpapers and edges of text block. An excellent copy in the rubbed and tanned jacket with some spots and marks and an over-price ticket to the spine panel.
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.
Pauling, Linus | The Architecture of Molecules
First edition, first printing of this classic of science illustration.
Linus Pauling was one of the 20th century's most versatile scientists, making important contributions in chemistry, physics, and biology & physiology. He had a special interest in molecular structures, and his 1954 Nobel Prize in chemistry cited his "research into the nature of the chemical bond and its application to the elucidation of the structure of complex substances" (Nobel prize biography). The similarly versatile scientific illustrator Roger Hayward first worked with Pauling in 1946, when he illustrated Pauling's General Chemistry, the first of four books on which the two collaborated. But it was this volume, conceived as an introduction to molecular structure for older children, which was the most successful. It comprises 57 beautiful full-page colour illustrations, from the simple two-atom hydrogen molecule to complex structures such as polypeptide chains and hemoglobin, alongside Pauling's clear and concise explanations of the concepts underlying chemical bonding and how a molecule's structure affects its function. A very attractive copy.
San Francisco & London: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1964.
Quarto. Original grey cloth, titles to spine and upper board in orange and black, colour pictorial endpapers. With the dust jacket. Colour illustrations throughout. Some dark grey spotting of the cloth. A very good copy in the jacket that is lightly rubbed and creased at the extremities with some small splits and light spotting on the spine panel and lower panel.
Pennington, Mary Engle, et al. Paul Mandeville (ed). | Eggs
First edition, first printing of this charming set on the biology, economics, and preparation of chicken eggs. Uncommon as a full set.
This copiously illustrated production promotes the US egg and poultry industry to the general reader, and was presumably distributed at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, as the spine carries the Fair’s logo. Volume I contains chapters on egg biology, chicken husbandry, safe storage and handling of eggs, and the development and future of the egg industry. Volume II contains chapters on the egg’s place in the modern diet, the different ways eggs contribute to recipes, “practical hints on buying eggs”, and “egg oddities in foreign lands”, concluding with a large selection of recipes for both poultry and eggs.
Author Mary Engle Pennington (1872-1952) was a pioneer of modern commercial bacteriology and food handling standards. In 1898, shortly after obtaining her doctoral degree, she established her own business performing bacteriological analyses for Philadelphia physicians, and was appointed a lecturer at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. She then became head of the Philadelphia Health Department’s bacteriological laboratory, “where she devevloped methods of preserving dairy products and standards for milk inspection that came to be employed throughout the country” (Ogilvie, p. 1003).
In 1908 Pennington was appointed chief of the Food Research Laboratory of the Department of Agriculture, supervising its research on food handling and storage for the next eleven years. “During World War I, she devised standards for railroad refrigerator cars; her war work on perishable foods earned her the Notable Service Medal.” Later she entered the private sector and “established her own consulting office in New York City, advising packing houses, shippers, and warehouses on food handling, storage, and transportation, as well as doing original research on frozen foods. Pennington’s early work in devising methods of preventing spoilage of eggs, poultry, and fish, as well as her later research on the freezing of various foods, resulted in many practical techniques for the preparation, packaging, storage, and distribution of perishables. She published her conclusions in technical journals, government bulletins, and magazines” (Ogilvie, p. 1003).
...Book 1: Whence Come Our Eggs and Poultry. Book 2: The Best of Food Eggs and Poultry. Chicago: Progress Publications for the Institute of American Poultry Industries, 1933.
2 volumes (duodecimo). Original blue and silver cloth, titles to spine in blue on silver. Illustrations from photographs and diagrams throughout the text. Mid-century ownership tickets of Miriam E. Lowenberg to each front free endpaper, with an ownership ink stamps of the same to the rear pastedown of volume I and front free endpaper of volume II. Jacket flaps bearing the blurb loosely inserted. Cloth rubbed and worn at the extremities, particularly the corners and hinges. A very good set.
Vos, George H. | Birds and Their Nests and Eggs
A handsomely bound copy of a later impression, originally published in 1907. This lovely little book is "an attempt to describe by camera and pen the recent rambles of two friends, during the months of May and June, in search of birds and their nests for the purpose of photographing them in and near London". It includes a large number of photographs of British birds (usually stuffed specimens) as well as their nests, eggs, and habitats.
- Found in and Near Great Towns. Illustrated by reproduction of photographs of each bird, its nest and eggs, made by the author from Nature, and of incidental scenes. Second edition, revised. London: George Routledge and Sons, Ltd., 1910. Octavo (174 x 117 mm). Contemporary tree calf prize binding, spine elaborately gilt in compartments, red morocco label, gilt floral roll to boards, gilt crest of the Terra Nova School to the upper board, marbled endpapers and edges. Prize bookplate. Frontispiece and illustrations throughout from photographs. Very lightly rubbed at extremities, spine a little faded. Excellent condition.
Wood, J. G. | Insects at Home
An attractively bound and copiously illustrated work on British insects by the naturalist John George Wood (1827-1889), originally published in 1872.
Wood began his career in the Church of England, but from the early 1880s "was developing a career as a natural historian; his first book, The Illustrated Natural History, was published in 1851. Several more works had followed by 1856, when he began to give occasional lectures on natural history subjects. Wood's appeal as a populariser of natural history was spotted by the publisher George Routledge. Routledge asked him to contribute to a shilling series of handbooks, starting with Common Objects of the Seashore (1857), which enjoyed huge popularity among holiday-makers to the coast. Common Objects of the Country (1858) had an even greater success, and Routledge followed this with a three-volume Illustrated Natural History (1859) by Wood. Many future naturalists were said to have been inspired by reading these books at an early age" (ODNB)
"Wood wrote more than seventy books, some under the pseudonym George Forrest. The majority of them were on natural history, but he also published works on the history of the biblical period and English scenery... and edited titles as diverse as Gilbert White's Natural History of Selbourne and the Boy's Own Magazine. His own natural history titles, such as Our Garden Friends and Foes (1863) and Handy Natural History (1886), were not rigorously scientific but were influential in popularizing the subject. His works on microscopy such as Common Objects of the Microscope (1861) and Nature's Teaching (1877) are still in use by amateur microscopists who hold him in affection" (ODNB).
- ...Being a Popular Account of British Insects, their Structure, Habits, and Transformations. With Upwards of 700 Figures by E. A. Smith and J. B. Zwecker, Engraved by G. Pearson. New Edition. Large octavo (215 x 140 mm). Contemporary tan calf prize binding, spine elaborately gilt in compartments, black morocco label, double lines rules to boards and Hanley Castle Grammar School Crest to upper board gilt, marbled edges and endpapers, turn-overs ruled in blind. Contemporary presentation inscription to the front blank. Colour frontispiece and 20 engraved plates, engravings throughout the text. Boards a little rubbed and scuffed, small gouge from top edge of lower board, blank piece of paper pasted over an inscription on the verso of the front free endpaper, light spotting to contents. A very good copy.
[Seaweed] | An exceptional Victorian seaweed album
A sumptuous, mid-19th century seaweed album, unusually finely bound and containing eighty specimens.
Most seaweed albums we have handled have been simply bound in skiver or paper-covered blank books. This example, however, is in green morocco with elaborate gold tooling and attractive, gilt patterned endpapers. The specimens are among the most beautiful we have seen, delicate, artfully arranged, and retaining their colour and texture, and they represent an unusually varied selection of species. Each one is individually mounted on white card, and hand-labelled with its scientific name and the location where it was collected. Most were found in Cumbria, at Roa and Piel Islands off the Furness Peninsula, as well as the mainland beaches of Roose, Baycliff, Aldingham, Bardsea, Saltcoats, Rampside, Flimby, and Maryport. Also represented are nearby Ayrshire in southwest Scotland, as well as more exotic locales: the Isle of Mann, Gibralter, Tangier, and one location given only as “Mediterranean”.
Seaweed collecting was, together with other types of natural history collecting and scrapbooking, a popular occupation for young women during the Victorian era. Inspired in part by the Romantic Movement's reverence for nature, it was considered a wholesome way for women to engage with the outdoors, and it also functioned as a social accomplishment indicating one's suitability for marriage and family life.
Nature was at the centre of the Victorian domestic imagination, and "one reason for the appearance of various representations of the natural world in the parlour. was a continuing apprehension of the world as beautiful - or at least a continuing prestige attached to those who were sensible of that beauty" (Logan, The Victorian Parlour, p. 142). Nature was inextricably tied to religious and moral edification, with amateur collectors "drawn to the study of the natural world as a culturally approved form of recreation. seen as aesthetically pleasing, educational and morally beneficial, since [nature] lifted the mind to a new appreciation of God" (Logan, p. 144).
"Queen Victoria as a young girl made a seaweed album; later in the century, materials for such an album could be purchased at seaside shops like that of Mary Wyatt in Torquay, who specialized in natural souvenirs" (Logan, p. 124). "In the late 19th Century, the books Sea Mosses: A Collector's Guide and An Introduction to the Study of Marine Algae by A. B. Hervey outlined how to properly press and mount various types of algae. The tools needed are a pair of pliers, scissors, a stick with a needle in the end, at least two 'wash bowls,' botanist's 'drying paper,' or some kind of blotting paper, cotton cloth, and finally cards to mount the specimens on. Pliers and scissors are used to handle the specimens and cut away any extraneous, 'superfluous' branches, and the needle is used like a pencil so that the plant can be moved around with relative ease to show the finer details. The drying and pressing process consists of layering the mounting papers with various types of blotting cloth and additional paper topped with weights; in this case the weights suggested by Hervey are 50 lbs. worth of rocks found by the seashore. Most seaweed in this case will adhere to the mounting board via gelatinous materials emitted from the plant itself" (Harvard University, Mary A. Robinson online exhibition).
United Kingdom, mid-19th century.
Tall quarto (288 x 227 mm). Contemporary green morocco rebacked with the original spine laid down, spine elaborately gilt in compartments, elaborate gilt rules and rolls to boards, cornerpieces, gilt turn-ins and patterned endpapers, all edges gilt. 24 leaves of green paper with 80 specimens mounted on white paper inserts of various sizes, each labelled with scientific name and location in manuscript, tissue guards. Rebacked as noted above, small repairs to corners, binding rubbed and scuffed, occasional light spots and toning of contents, one specimen lacking. Very good condition.