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.
Rockstroh, Heinrich | Das Mikroskop
First and only edition of this charming and early book on microscopy for young people, including advice on how to use microscopes and how to collect and prepare specimens. A nice copy in the publisher’s boards and featuring 5 hand-coloured engravings depicting plant, insect, and mineral specimens, as well as uncoloured plates illustrating how light behaves and microscopes work. Uncommon, particularly in the original binding. WorldCat locates just nine institutional copies, and only three others appear in auction records.
...oder Anweisung zur näheren Kenntniss und zum Gebrauche desselben, behufs einer belehrenden und nützlichen Beschäftigung in den Stunden der Musse; nebst angabe, wie die interessanten mikroskopischen objekte aus den drei naturreichen aufzufinden...
Berlin: Wilhelm Schüppel, 1835.
Duodecimo. Original blue boards printed in black. Hand-coloured frontispiece and 11 engraved plates of which 5 are hand-coloured. Manuscript library ticket to the head of the spine, small pencilled note to the upper board, contemporary manuscript notes in German to both pastedowns, ownership signature and library ink stamp to the title. Boards rubbed and spotted, hinges cracked and repaired, corners bumped, some spotting and offsetting to contents. Very good condition.
Skloot, Rebecca | The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
First edition, first printing. A superb copy, signed and dated “3/29/10” by the author on the half title.
In 1951 Henrietta Lacks, a 31-year-old African American woman, died of ovarian cancer at Johns Hopkins. Unbeknownst to herself or her family, doctors used her biopsy to culture a line of cells that revolutionised medicine. Previously, no human cell culture had survived for more than a few days in the laboratory, seriously limiting their usefulness to research. Lacks’s cultures, however, survived for weeks, then months, and eventually decades, becoming essentially immortal. Dubbed “HeLa”, they are now mass produced and have been used to study almost every major medical question of the last seventy years. HeLa cells have been key to the development of vaccines, including the Salk polio vaccine; to identifying and treating AIDS and other emerging diseases; to our understanding of cell biology, genetics, and ageing; and in the development of medications for a range of illnesses.
But this scientific success has a darker side. There are serious concerns about how Lacks’s race affected her medical care and the treatment of her family by the scientific community. Neither Lacks nor any of her relatives provided informed consent for her cells to be retained and studied, much less for them to become a multi-million dollar industry over which they have no control. And her descendants fear the privacy implications of their genome being made public.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks approaches the HeLa cells from this perspective, and is based on nearly a decade of personal interviews and archival research. Skloot focuses in particular on Lacks’s daughter, Deborah, who spent years fighting for access to the full story of her mother’s cells and to ensuring that her life and legacy would be honoured. The book also situates Lacks within the wider context of racism in medicine, and how Black women’s bodies have frequently been co-opted for the benefit of white doctors and patients. Now considered a key work of popular science writing, it spent 75 weeks on the New York Times best seller list and received numerous awards, including the Wellcome Trust Book Prize and the National Academies Best Book of the Year Award.
New York: Crown Publishers, 2010.
Octavo. Original red boards, titles to spine gilt. With the dust jacket. Illustrated title and chapter titles, 8 pages of illustrations from photographs. A fine copy in the jacket.