True, Marjorie | Diary of a British Second World War Civil Defence Volunteer: September 1939-October 1941
A dense, detailed, and revealing diary chronicling the first two years of the Second World War by Marjorie True of Peterborough’s Cathedral precinct, who was active in the Women’s Voluntary Service. In addition to the eighty-six pages of manuscript text there are sixty-five photographs pasted-in, as well as ephemera (including her clothes ration book and City of Peterborough registration card for Civil Defence Duties) and news clippings, mainly documenting her civil defence work. This diary is of historical importance and would benefit from knowledgeable institutional cataloguing and conservation.
True seems to have begun her diary specifically to document the war, with the first entry dated September 2nd, 1939: “On the verge of war. Germany bombed Warsaw & has marched into Poland at several points. No ultimatum — the final note from Germany to Poland with terms was never sent. British Gov. waiting for answer to our ultimatum to Hitler. Father who is 71 is an air raid warden. His job is to patrol the street from the Cathedral gateway to Bishop’s Road & see all is in darkness — give advice & warning... I am an ambulance driver’s attendant which meant being trained in first aid, gas & map reading...”
The diary continues in this fashion for the next two years, chronicling international events alongside her voluntary work, local goings-on, private and public sentiment, and rumours. She closely follows the advances of Germany and Russia across the continent, and the efforts made by western European governments and armies as one by one they fell to the Blitzkrieg, often commenting on the fortitude of the Europeans.
May 15th, 1940: “Today the Dutch Army have laid down their arms. Barely a week ago they were a free people. The Queen, government, Princess Juliana & children are all in England.” Sunday, May 19th: “The war is getting very close now. There is a terrible melee taking place in Sedan and on the French Belgian border — The Germans have penetrated about 60 odd miles into France. They have brought super heavy tanks which have gone through the weakest part of the Maginot Line.” Saturday, June 15th: “The Germans marched into Paris yesterday. A heavy depression has all but NOT despair. To-day we had most of our windows painted with triplex. This should prevent the glass from flying if shattered.”
During this early part of the war True focuses on the watching and waiting in Britain, a time during which she and her fellow citizens were swinging between anxiety and inattention. In September 1939 she writes that “here things are getting rather slack. We feel Hitler cannot bother with us until Poland is finished. Already people are forgetting their gas masks…” Later, “For weeks now we have all been suffering from colds in the head. In fact they have been so persistent that there have been grave doubts in some parts that it could be one of Hitler’s trump cards, or his ‘Secret Weapon’ which he boasts of.” She describes her experience of measures such as the blackout and reports that, “Amongst the things I miss is the sounding of the church clocks in the night”. In December that year she visits London for the first time since the outbreak of war and describes seeing “high in the sky only just visible in the fog & mist… barrage balloons looking rather like fat sausages with large [?] fins. Sandbags everywhere — but apart from the darkened streets & shops there seemed quite as many people as ever.”
But always there is the sense that Germany is getting closer, and True carefully records instances of German fighters being downed in the Firth of Forth and Scapa Flow, as well as the numerous U-boat attacks on ocean liners and Allied battleships.
The unprecedently severe winter of 1939/40 is a frequent subject. On January 25th, 1940 she writes, “This cold has nearly driven us all crazy - frost & snow - burst pipes - water coming through ceilings & general awful discomfort has been our lot for what seems like months”. And she discusses the rationing that had just started. “To-day Father went through the business of procuring our sugar for making homemade marmalade or jam! The fruiterer gives one a signed receipt for so many lbs of Seville oranges (no sugar is allowed for the sweet oranges) this has to be taken to the food control office where a [?] is made out for 1lb of sugar to each 16 of fruit. What a game.”
Other aspects of the diary are both troubling and revealing. In recent decades historians have been at pains to point out that the perception of British self-sacrifice and “stiff upper lip” during the war was only part of a much more complex and morally ambiguous reality, with elements of class, colonialism, and anti-Semitism often at the forefront of events. This is apparent almost immediately in the diary, when on September 3rd, 1939 True reports that, “Since 11 am we have been at war with Germany. All day there has been a flood of evacuees from London — hundreds & hundreds of women & children all housed at the Government’s expense & billeted on private homes here — almost as we were sitting down to lunch we had 2 women & 3 children thrust on us... All the evacuees seem to be Jewish. Why they should choose a small cathedral town to let them loose on beats me. In a very short time both women were grumbling so we tried to get them removed & fortunately were able to do so late in the day to Mrs. Mellow at Vineyard House... We are sorry for these women who have had to break up their homes but they forget our homes are broken up too. Life would have been unbearable had we had to live with that crowd — the women were passable but horribly cheap — the kind who jar horribly”.
Again, in September of the following year she reports that, “The town is again getting flooded with refugees – real refugees this time. People whose houses are in ruins or who have fled the unceasing crash of A.A. guns & explosions. There are some terrible looking Jews about, I would be glad if those people did not send such a feeling of loathing thro’ on. Why is it? I always feel I must hurry by because what I am feeling must be written on my face.”
True was a member of the Women’s Voluntary Services, working as an ambulance driver’s attendant and stationed at the local swimming pool. Many entries record her training sessions, experiences of nights on call, and interactions with other volunteers.
Early in the diary there are multiple reports about conflict over some volunteers being paid, a practice that True disdained, with strong undertones of classism. “…there is a rather [?] air amongst the many so called ‘voluntary’ helpers. I say ‘so called’ because so many of them are being paid... I was called to the Ambulance Station last Friday and stayed there from 7 to 10-20. For this I get nothing however many times I do it after my day’s work. The whole idea of payment is pernicious...”
Voluntary work could be physically difficult but emotionally rewarding. On May 11th, 1941 True describes a practice session. “Saturday I tried my hand at putting out a fire by a stirrup pump. As I was wearing my best slacks & not the usual dungarees, I did not feel too enthusiastic when Mr. Brown invited us to try. However, rolling up my slacks & wearing an old oilskin over my Ambulance coat I waded in. It was great fun really... All went well except for my helmet which fell off… Also we were taken — four at a time into a smoke-filled room — here we had to crawl round the room…I felt sure I was to be the one to cry out for the door to be opened but pride as usual came to the rescue and I crawled out with the others after the longest four or five minutes of my life.”
But there are also happier times. True frequently writes about the other women who were good companions during long days and nights, and the socialising they did. Most of these friend and colleagues are mentioned by name and depicted in the numerous photographs pasted-in to the diary (there are also several pages where True has had the other women sign their own names.) Some photos depict the volunteers doing practice exercises such as preparing equipment, cleaning an ambulance, carrying a comrade on a stretcher, and wearing gas masks and emergency oilskins “for mustard gas”. Other images are casual, and show women relaxing together, having tea, holding pets, and posing in front of official vehicles. True usually rode her bicycle to the station, and there are several photos labelled with variations of “Me & my bike”, including one in uniform. There are also images of True’s father — with the handlebar moustache of a different era — in his warden uniform. Additionally, newspaper clippings record the visit of the Marchioness of Reading to the station, as well as a test mobilisation of firefighters in downtown Peterborough (“that’s me talking to Mrs. Fowlis in the ambulance”).
By spring of 1940 the tension reflected in the diary has considerably ramped up, with the German threat coming ever closer to Peterborough. The diary covers the entire period of the Blitz and Battle for Britain, which began that summer, and reports on events throughout the country. On June 19th True describes the anxious wait for the large-scale air raids that the population knew was coming. “A whole week gone & no Battle for England – or rather Britain started yet. Our airmen have put in some marvellous work – this may be one factor. However many hours grace means a lot to us.” And by September she is reporting on the effects of the Blitz, which began on the 7th. Her entry for September 14th, 1940 reads, “London has suffered terribly – & not only London. The Docks have been the chief target but Buckingham Palace received its first & let’s hope last bomb the other night. There have been marvellous tales of courage…”
In early June True describes Peterborough’s first air raid.
Friday June 7th: “This morning about 1-15am? we had our first real air raid warning. It was hot & still and my window was wide open & I suddenly wakened to the fearful din of the air raid siren. I have often said when listening to the practices that we should never hear it but at 1-15 am on a still summer morning it sounded absolutely devilish. After the first paralysing second I leapt out of bed and tried feverishly to get into my battle dress which by great good fortune was handy. Of course the dungarees went on back to front & it seemed hours to me before I set off on my cycle to the ambulance station. At first I was so rattled I had to get off my bike but gradually I calmed down & rode as fast as the darkness would allow — arriving at last to find I was the first of the part timers to appear. I was given a hearty welcome and we then commenced our long wait until the ‘all clear’ went at 3-15. We looked a grim party of women — none of us looking our best, shining noses and hair entirely out of hand. Now and then we heard the uneven drone of the German planes but that thank goodness was all that happened.”
Saturday June 8th: “Last night we had our baptism by fire. To-day the town has a weary look after two practically sleepless nights. About 1-15 again — without any warning a German plane dropped what sounded like three or four bombs in Bridge St., Bishop’s Gardens & the swimming pool!... It is not just a bang - there is a sickening thud which shatters the nerves - At the first moment I felt sick & then began gathering my things in my arms to get downstairs… I must say I listened carefully and sought the sky before venturing forth... What I hate most is thinking of Father on his beat, right in the midst of things. He says that there are several good places to shelter but we are very worried. After another ghastly ride with my heart beating like a sledge hammer & my knees knocking I arrived for the second night in succession at the A.S.”
True seems to have returned to this diary much later in life, as there are a few annotations in a spidery ballpoint pen and some pieces of late-20th century ephemera inserted. On one loose wartime photo of a group of women she writes “How easily one forgets. My Party. This is what I remember of my Party.” The final contemporary entry is dated October 26th, 1941, and ends on the recto of the very last page in the diary. On the verso of that page True has obtained the signatures of a number of her colleagues, and below them, she has later written: “I wish I had got more names to help my memory now on April 12 1992 when the war is over…” This is followed by additional text that is difficult to read because it has been overlaid with white address label stickers, presumably because she or a relative wanted it to remain private.
Quarto (230 x 175 mm). Ready-made journal, burgundy pebble-grain cloth backstrip, blue moiré boards, lined paper. Approximately 86 pages of manuscript text, plus loosely inserted manuscript leaves. Ephemera and documents both pasted in and loosely inserted. 65 photographs, primarily 85 x 60 mm with white borders, though a handful are slightly larger and without borders. Most of these are pasted-in, but a handful are loosely inserted. Early in the diary there are glue spots where 4 photos were once attached, and at least two of the loosely inserted prints also have glue on the back. 4 modern white label stickers pasted over some text on the final left, presumably to hide it. Significant wear to the spine and boards, contents shaken, occasional light spotting to contents which are clean and legible. Very good condition.
[Masudaya] Modern Toys | Distant Early Warning Radar Station
A remarkable relic of the Cold War, this interactive tin toy allowed a child to pretend that they were manning a distant early warning station with a radar “scope” showing the silhouette of a moving plane, as well as a rotating radar dish and blinking lights. It was made by the famed Masudaya firm of Tokyo, which was founded in 1923 and became the leading producer of battery and mechanical-operated toys during the post-war period (fabtintoys.com). This toy has been tested and is only partially functional, with two of the lights and the rotating wheel of plane silhouettes not working at present, possibly due to loose connections. it is nevertheless a lovely example, and rare in the original box with the paper signal key, as here.
Though early warning radar systems had been in use since Britain’s deployment of Chain Home in 1938, the post-war threat of nuclear bombers led to the development of increasingly sophisticated long-range systems, particularly to monitor activity over the Arctic. The most successful of these was the DEW Line, which was constructed primarily in Canada’s far north, with additional stations in Alaska, Greenland, and Iceland. It went on-line in 1957 but quickly became semi-obsolete as the nuclear threat shifted from bombers to ICBMs, though it continued to operate until the early 1990s to provide an early warning of airborne invasion forces that might have proceeded a missile strike by several hours. The militarisation of the Canadian Arctic had significant effects on Canadian politics, and resulted in increased government interference in the lives of the Inuit as well as serious environmental damage.
This toy was probably inspired by DEW, and it might be a coincidence, but the illustration on the box looks remarkably similar to a 1955 ad in Time magazine extolling Raytheon’s role in designing and manufacturing the radar for that undertaking. Though the toy is undated it was probably sold in the late 1950s or early 1960s, given the short period during which distant early warning radar was of military significance. Work at these stations would have involved fairly dull duties, monitoring radar screens for the start of World War III in an isolated and harsh environment, and it’s strangely charming that someone chose to produce a colourful toy based on what must have been one of the more demoralising jobs in the Air Force.
...Battery operated. With revolving radar scope, blinking warning lights, telegraph key and light blinker. Japan: [Masudaya] Modern Toys, [c. 1960].
Enamelled tin toy, approximately 19.5 x 12 x 14cm. Opaque backlit “scope” with moving airplane silhouette on the interior, red and green lights, red signal key button, and on/off button. With the detachable beacon tower in tin with red light, the plastic radar dish, and the paper with signal key in morse code. The battery compartment accommodates two D batteries. All together in the original card box (20.5 x 14 x 13cm). Price of 39/6’ in ink to the box lid. Some scuffs and wear commensurate with use, some loss of the green and red paint from the lightbulbs, occasional tiny spots to the tin, on/off button slightly cracked, morse code card torn at the top where there was originally a string, light wear and some creasing and toning of the box. This toy has been tested and is only partially functional, possibly due to loose connections. Both the red light on the body and the light at the top of the tower are not working, and the interior wheel with airplane silhouettes does not rotate. The “morse code” buzzzer works, as does the green light and the backlight. A very good example.
(Cold War) Soole, B. W. | RADIAC Slide Rule
Reserved An uncommon slide rule designed to calculate radiation doses after the explosion of a fission weapon. Similar examples are held at the Science Museum in London, the Oak Ridge Museum of Radiation and Radioactivity, and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney.
Because the radioactive products of fission explosions decay over time, the dose that individuals have received cannot be calculated by simply multiplying the current radiation levels by the length of exposure. To solve this problem, B. W. Soole of the Admiralty Research Laboratory designed this slide rule for simple and fast dose calculations in the event of nuclear war, and described it in a paper published in the Journal of Scientific Instruments (volume 29, number 6) in 1952. The instructions on the back explain its three functions: computing the dose-rate at any point in time from the moment of explosion; determining the dose received between two points in time; and determining the same for doses received from contaminated sea water rather than the air.
Teddington, England: Blundell Rules Limited for the Admiralty Research Laboratory,
Heavy plastic slide rule (29.5 x 6.5cm) with 5 scales and clear plastic slider. Text printed in black, red, and green. In the original green cloth-over-card box. Excellent condition with just a few tiny marks. The case is worn and bumped, has sustained water damage, and has a white sticker with manuscript identification numbers in black ink.
Redard, Paul | Manuscript copy of Transport par Chemins de fer des Blesses et Malades Militaires. Deuxieme Rapport
An elegant manuscript copy, probably made for presentation, of a report on the organisation of the French military railway hospital system by the doctor in charge of it. The text was published in book form by O. Doin of Paris in 1902.
Dr. Paul Redard (d. 1917) was “a well-known orthopaedic surgeon of Paris” who “took his doctor’s degree in 1879... He was the author of monographs on torticollis, spinal curvature, and orthopaedic gymnastics; of a textbook of orthopaedic technique and of an atlas of radiography. He held appointments in connexion with the State railway service of France and was chief physician to the opera”. He died in 1917 of pneumonia contracted in the course of his work in military hospitals (obituary, British Medical Journal, March 24, 1917).
This was the second of Redard’s reports on the railway system, the first having been published in 1885. The contents here include ten photographs mounted on card that illustrate medical railway carriages, including the exteriors, linen store, pharmacy, dining room, kitchen, bunks for the wounded, and doctors’ quarters, as well as 26 technical diagrams.
Paris: [O. Doin], 1902.
Folio (305 x 201 mm). Contemporary red half morocco, marbled sides and endpapers, spine titles gilt, five raised bands. 69 pages of manuscript text in black ink, rectos only. 10 photographs and 1 printed illustration mounted on card, 26 plans and technical drawings of which 8 are printed in blue. Some wear and scuffing to the boards, primarily the edges, and a little soiling and dust affecting the binding, spotting to the edges of the text block, contents lightly toned with the occasional light spot. Photograph 9 detached from its card backing and loosely inserted. Very good condition.
(Art Nouveau) [Verneuil, Maurice Pillard] | Le Décor Floral
A striking Art Nouveau design portfolio, unusual for using photography to depict geometric floral arrangements.
This portfolio is usually attributed to the French designer and commercial artist Maurice Pillard Verneuil (1869-1942), a student of Eugène Grasset whose career successfully spanned both Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras. If so it would be his only known photographic work. As bookseller Daniela Kromp has explained, it may be that Verneuil was inspired by the Viennese pioneer of botanical photography, Martin Gerlach (1846-1918), who was producing botanical portfolios as early as 1893.
“Although in Helen Bieri Thomson's bibliography, Verneuil is named as the author (or editor) of Le Décor Floral (cf. p. 118), he isn't known as a photographer so far. Thus, Verneuil presumably has not done the photographs himself, but at least he made the arrangements of the plants and of each particular plate... it is known that Verneuil made a journey to Vienna in 1902 (cf. Thomson p. 13). Perhaps he got to know Martin Gerlach's photographic work there in detail and received the essential inspiration for Le Décor Floral” (Kromp, "Short List for London 2018", item 45).
The publisher of this set, Librairie Centraledes Beaux-Arts, was one of the primary firms of the Art Nouveau movement, producing important work by Alphonse Mucha and Eugène Grasset, as well as other important portfolios by Verneuil.
Documents d’Art Décoratif d’après Nature...50 Planches. Bordures et Panneaux Semis, Fonds ornés, etc. Paris: Librairie Centraledes Beaux-Arts, [c. 1904].
Folio. Half title and 50 tinted collotype prints after photographs, 4-page title and publisher’s prospectus printed in green and brown. In the original linen-backed card portfolio with linen ties. Bernard Quaritch ink stamp to the title, ink stamp of the Birmingham Assay office Library to the inside of the cover. Portfolio browned and rubbed with some wear at the corners and slight creasing to the upper cover, linen ties browned but intact, title and prospectus toned and a little rubbed at the extremities, plates very faintly toned at the edges. Portfolio professionally cleaned and spine caps repaired by Bainbridge Conservation. Very good condition.
Metzger, Hélène | Newton, Stahl, Boerhaave et la Doctrine Chimique
Second edition, facsimile reissue of this influential work in the history of science, originally published in 1930.
Hélène Metzger (1889-1944) studied science against the wishes of her father, specialising in crystallography at the Sorbonne. Her first degree was awarded based on her study of lithium chlorate, and her doctoral thesis, submitted in 1918, was on the historical origins of crystallography. “From this beginning, Metzger began her focus on the history of chemistry, particularly French history in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. She moved away from the ‘great man’ idea of science and focused instead on the importance of lesser-known figures who often held ‘false’ theories... She continued to write the history of ideas as they existed within their particular timeframe” and “was active in history of science organizatios” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p. 889).
Metzger was an outsider for most of her life. “This status, doubtless related to her being a woman, especially one with a fairly low self-image, was made possible by Metzger’s economic independence. However, she found recognition and much comfort from a number of great scholars, notably André Lalande in Paris (who arranged a literary prize for her in 1924), and George Sarton at Harvard, the founder and editor of Isis, the major journal in the history of science, with whom she regularly exchanged letters... It is owing to her anti-positivistic historical method, which today is shared by most historians of science, that Metzger’s work is still appreciated and used today. (The late Thomas S. Kuhn’s favorable mention of Metzger in his celebrated The Structure of Scientific Revolutions  played a determining role in this respect.)” (Freudenthal, Metzger’s entry in the Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women).
During the Nazi occupation of France Metzger openly embraced her Jewish identity. “She remained in Paris until late 1941 and then moved to Lyon, where, again, she did not hesitate to register as a Jew. During the more than two years she remained there, she took part in an extraordinary enterprise: the “Bureau d'études juives” (Office for Jewish Studies), an informal group of persons—professors, teachers, lawyers, high state officials, publishers, etc.—who had been dismissed from their positions and who met weekly in order to study Judaism. Most of these people had had a very feeble relation to and knowledge of their Jewish roots, and they now gathered in order to learn something about the history of the tradition which was the cause of their misfortune. This was a heroic act of spiritual resistance: ‘in the troubled, dramatic and tragic period through which we live,’Metzger wrote to George Sarton in 1942, ‘[intellectual] effort is the only thing which can maintain us in a physical and moral stability’” (Freudenthal). Metzger was deported to Auschwitz and murdered in March, 1944.
...Nouveau Tirage. Paris: Librairie Scientifique et Technique Albert Blanchard, 1974.
Octavo. Original grey wrappers printed in black. Contents unopened. Slight creasing of the spine, a few small dark spots to the lower wrapper and a faint spot to the upper wrapper. An excellent copy.
Weeks, Mary Elvira | The Discovery of the Elements I-XVII
A rare and unusual set of the first seventeen parts of the classic The Discovery of the Elements, published as twenty-one articles in the Journal of Chemical Education in 1932 and 33 before it was republished in book form. Here collected and bound together in a contemporary, ready-made cloth binder with manuscript label.
Author Mary Elvira Weeks (1892 - ?) was a physical and analytical chemist at the University of Kansas. “She worked on the atmospheric oxidation of solutions of sodium sulfite in ultraviolet light, the role of hydrogen ion concentration in the precipitation of calcium and magnesium carbonates and the use of oxidation-reduction indicators in the determination of iron. She was also interested in the history of chemistry, particularly in the discovery of the elements” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p. 1358).
Weeks “combined her dual interest in chemistry and languages to prepare a series of 21 articles in the Journal of Chemical Education in 1932-1933. The popularity of the series encouraged the Chemical Education Publishing Company of Easton, Pennsylvania, to collect the series and publish it as a paperbound book, Discovery of the Elements (1934). The articles and the resulting books were lavishly illustrated with pictures from [her colleague Frank B.] Dains’ collection, subsequently supplemented by pictures collected by Weeks. The book ultimately went though seven editions; the last in 1968 with the co-authorship of Henry M. Leicester. The book was, in many respects, a history of chemistry developed around the theme of discovering elements” (American Chemical Society, Division of the History of Chemistry biography).
...[from] the Journal of Chemical Education volume 9, number 1 - volume 9, number 12. Journal of Chemical Education, 1932-33.
17 articles removed from the Journal of Chemical Education and bound together in green cloth ready-made binder by Baschaga. Paper label to the upper board with manuscript title in an early-twentieth century hand. Black and white illustrations throughout the texts. Endpapers a little toned, binder lightly rubbed at the extremities. Excellent condition.
Scharrer, Ernst & Berta | Neuroendocrinology.
First edition, first printing and a very attractive copy of this “seminal, comprehensive monograph” by the founders of neuroendocrinology (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p. 1158). From the library of prominent American psychologist Henry Guze, with his ownership inscription on the front endpapers.
“There are very few scientists whose discoveries have marked the advent of a new discipline. Berta Scharrer was one of these pioneers. Her scientific career was crowned with great success. The concept of neurosecretion (the storage, synthesis and release of hormones from neurons) developed by Ernst and Berta Scharrer between 1928 and 1937 formed the foundation for contemporary neuroendocrinology... Today we know that secretory nerve cells are widely distributed over the whole nervous system” and “serve to maintain the organism and preserve the species” (Ogilvie). Scharrer was the recipient of honorary degrees from eleven institutions, including Harvard, and “among her numerous medals and prizes were the Kraepelin Gold Medal of the Max Planck Society, the Schleiden Mdal of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and the National Medal of the Science of the United States of America” (Ogilvie).
The previous owner of this copy, Henry Guze, “specialized in psychosomatic illness, schizophrenia and disorders of sexual behavior. He was a founder of The American Academy of Psychotherapists and the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis and co‐founder and former president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex” (New York Times obituary, July 4, 1970).
New York & London: Columbia University Press, 1963.
Octavo. Original teal cloth, title to spine in gilt on light blue ground, publisher’s logo to upper board in blind. With the dust jacket. 3 plates, illustrations and diagrams within the text. Ownership inscriptions of Henry Guze to the front endpapers. An excellent copy in the jacket that is lightly rubbed and faded along the spine panel, with two short closed tears to the upper panel and light dampstain affecting the lower panel.
Lebour, Marie V. | The Planktonic Diatoms of the Northern Seas
First edition, first impression. Presentation copy inscribed by the author to her sister on the front free endpaper, “To dear Yvonne, From M. V. L.” (see Lebour’s obituary in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, volume 52, p. 778).
Diatoms, a type of phytoplankton, are one of the earth’s keystone species. They are microscopic algae with silica shells that live in both freshwater and marine environments, and produce an amount of oxygen comparable to that of the all terrestrial rainforests combined. They are a primary food source for many other organisms, and accumulations of their shells in sediments record changes in the oceans and climate. Much was learned about phytoplankton during the early twentieth century, and marine biologist Marie Lebour (1876-1971) became one of the leading experts through her work at the Plymouth Marine Biological Laboratory. She “published two classical papers on this topic in 1917. Her subsequent work on taxonomy of plankton species resulted in her first book, Dinoflagellates of the Northern Seas, and in a subsequent volume in 1930 [the present work]. She identified no fewer than twenty-eight new species” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science). Lebour also studied molluscs and their parasites, euphausiid larvae, and the eggs and larvae of fish. She was also a talented draftsperson, and “her detailed and artistic sketches enhanced her publications” (Ogilvie).
...With Four Plates. London: printed for the Ray Society, sold by Dulau & Co., Ltd., 1930.
Octavo. Original blue cloth elaborately blocked in blind, titles to spine and floral roundel to upper board gilt, yellow coated endpapers, top edge gilt. Ray Society half title with portrait vignette, 4 plates, engravings throughout the text. 16 page Ray Society membership and recent publications lists dated January 1930 at rear. Cloth just a little rubbed at the extremities, spine and edges of the boards tanned, free endpapers partially tanned. An excellent copy.
(Ratcliffe, Derek) Howard, H. Eliot | Territory in Bird Life.
First edition, first impression of the book that popularised the modern understanding of territoriality among male birds. From the library of the important conservationist Derek Ratcliffe (1929-2005), who discovered the effect of DDT-related eggshell thinning on peregrine falcon populations. With his ownership inscription on the front free endpaper, dated 24 July, 1964.
Author H. Elliot Howard (1873-1940) was an amateur ornithologist whose study of warblers led him to the conclusion that male birds fight not for females, but directly for territory, which then attracts females. This was first explicated in The British Warblers: a History with Problems of Their Lives (published in parts between 1907 and 14). The lavishly illustrated work was well-reviewed, but too expensive for a general readership, so Howard published Territory in Bird Life in 1920. This popular work explores all aspects of territory among many different species, and “from the late 1920s the theory became increasingly influential both in Europe and the United States” (Online Dictionary of National Biography).
“Howard was not, in fact, the first person to discover territory in birds for, unknown to him, J. B. Altum in 1868 in Germany and C. B. Moffat in 1903 in Ireland had described its main features. However, it was Howard's persuasive and extensive exposition of the concept that established its importance and brought it to international ornithological notice; it is a striking example of an amateur significantly influencing modern scientific research” (ODNB).
This former owner of this copy was Derek Ratcliffe, one of the most influential British conservationists of the 20th century. Ratcliffe was educated as a botanist, completing his PhD at Bangor in 1953, and then being appointed a scientific officer for the Nature Conservancy in Edinburgh. He made important surveys of plant and bird communities in the Scottish Highlands, many of which had never been studied in detail. During 1961-62 he completed the first survey of British peregrine falcons, discovering that they were declining in numbers and even ceasing to breed at all in some areas. "The cause of the decline was persistent pesticides, notably DDT, which caused eggshell thinning and catastrophic breeding failure. Ratcliffe published a classic paper on eggshell thinning in the journal Nature in 1967, and a more detailed paper in the Journal of Applied Ecology in 1970, both of which were among the most frequently cited ornithological scientific publications" (ODNB).
In the 1960s and 70s, as scientific assessor for the Nature Conservancy, he led efforts to inventory Britain’s most important natural sites. “At the heart of this work was the exposition of a philosophy for nature conservation founded on the use of such concepts as 'diversity', 'fragility', and 'naturalness', which enabled scientists systematically to compare sites and even regions. This became, and remained, the cornerstone of nature conservation, culminating in the publication of the two-volume book edited by Ratcliffe, A Nature Conservation Review (1977)” (ODNB). During the 1980s he led the movement to establish sites of special scientific interest throughout Britain, and was a key player in the drive to prevent industrial scale pine tree planting on the critically important flow country habitat in northern Scotland.
...With Illustrations by G. E. Lodge and H. Grönvold. London: John Murray, 1920.
Octavo. Original blue cloth, titles to spine gilt. Colour frontispiece and 10 black and white plates with tissue guards, double-page map. Errata slip at page 238, single leaf of publisher’s ads at rear. Binding lightly rubbed at the extremities, faint spotting to the edges of the text block, free endpapers partially tanned. An excellent copy.
Clow, Archibald & Nan L. | The Chemical Revolution
First edition, first impression of this comprehensive history of chemistry’s role in the Industrial Revolution by a professor of chemistry at the University of Aberdeen. A very nice copy.
...A Contribution to Social Technology. London: The Batchworth Press, 1952.
Large octavo. Original blue cloth, title to spine gilt. Colour frontispiece and 52 black and white plates. A couple of tiny pencil notes in the margins, leaf of manuscript notes loosely inserted. Spine rolled, cloth lightly rubbed at the extremities. An excellent copy, the contents clean.
Perry, John | The Romance of Science. Spinning Tops.
Second edition, first published in 1890. A nice copy of this book which is scarce in all early editions. Copiously illustrated and in the attractive publisher’s cloth. Unusually, there is a contemporary pencilled note on the dedication leaf stating “no! no!!” in reference to the printed acknowledgement of Sir William Thomson as “the real author of whatever is worth publication in the following pages”.
Electrical engineer and mathematician John Perry (1850-1920) lectured at the Royal College of Science and the School of Mines in London (part of Imperial College from 1907), and also developed a number of important instruments for the rapidly expanding electrical industry. After retiring from teaching, Perry "continued to pursue his interest in spinning tops, a subject on which he had lectured and published often since 1890, and which embodied his wide-ranging concerns from engineering to cosmology" (ODNB).
...The "Operatives Lecture" of the British Association, Meeting at Leeds, 6th September, 1890. With Numerous Illustrations. Published under the direction of the general literature committee. London, Brighton, & New York: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1901.
Octavo. Original red cloth blocked in gilt and black with an image of a gyroscope on the upper board. Engraved frontispiece and engravings throughout the text. 8 pages of separately paginated publisher’s ads at rear. Ink ownership signature of B. G. Davies to the half title, pencilled remark “No! no!!” to the dedication leaf. Spine slightly rolled, lower corner bumped, cloth a little rubbed and marked with some waviness on the spine, contents tanned in the margins. Very good condition.
Cholmondeley, John St. Clair | The Government Laboratory
Reserved First and only edition of this unusual and rare booklet on the history of the Government Laboratory, Britain’s national laboratory for chemical and biological measurement standards, now the National Measurement Laboratory at LGC Ltd. Though this work has been cited in scholarly articles several times in recent years, we can locate no copies in either WorldCat or Library Hub. This copy from the library of Government Chemist Sir Robert Robertson (1869-1949).
The first iteration of the Government Laboratory was created by the Board of Excise in 1842 to oversee the purity of goods such as tea, spirits, and tobacco. The role of Government Chemist, established in 1909, “oversees the statutory function of referee analyst within the UK, resolving disputes over analytical measurements, particularly in relation to food regulatory enforcement” (NML website). The author of this booklet, John St. Clair Cholmondeley, is listed on the title page as “formerly Assistant of Excise at the Government Laboratory”. The contents include a history of the laboratory from 1842 based on its annual reports, Inland Revenue documents, Royal Commission Reports, and newspapers, and there is an appendix containing information about staffing and sample exams. Chapter VI contains suggestions for improvement that the author hopes “may receive more attention than hitherto apparently bestowed upon them”. These include publishing more of the Laboratory’s investigations, better organisation of research work, improved staffing levels, and the provision of a common room and better library facilities.
The owner of this copy, Sir Robert Robertson, was an expert on explosives and made numerous contributions to their development and manufacture for the colonial Indian administration, the Boer War, and both World Wars. He was appointed Government Chemist at the laboratory in 1921 and “the work of his department, which provided chemical advice and services to other departments (particularly the board of customs and excise), was considerably increased between 1921 and 1936 by the introduction of various new import duties, and by legislation involving chemical control. Robertson placed much emphasis on promoting independent research activity among staff of the laboratory. As an innovation, he introduced occasional seminars at which staff (including himself) would read research papers. These meetings, held after hours, were not popular and were abolished soon after he left. He also served on numerous government committees” and “pursued important fundamental research. In collaboration with John Jacob Fox, who succeeded him as government chemist, he made a detailed study of the infra-red absorption of the gases ammonia, phosphine, and arsine and interpreted the main features of their spectra. This pioneering work stimulated the growth of infra-red spectroscopy both in Britain and abroad” (ODNB).
London: C. Fry, 1902.
Octavo. Original limp green cloth, title to upper wrapper gilt. Manuscript title to spine in black ink on a white slip of paper, separate sheet of blank paper loosely inserted at rear. Corner of upper cover creased, gilt dulled, spine rolled, contents a little shaken and toned. Very good 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.
Huggins, William | The Royal Society
First edition, first impression of this history of the Royal Society, from the library of chemist Sir Robert Robertson (1869-1949). The contents also include addresses by Huggins on the importance of fundamental research to industry and the state, the relationships between the Royal Society and the other scientific societies and the government, and the place of science in general education.
The previous owner of this volume, Sir Robert Robertson, was an expert on explosives and made numerous contributions to their development and manufacture in colonial India and during the Boer War and both World Wars. Appointed government chemist in 1921, he also “pursued important fundamental research. In collaboration with John Jacob Fox, who succeeded him as government chemist, he made a detailed study of the infra-red absorption of the gases ammonia, phosphine, and arsine and interpreted the main features of their spectra. This pioneering work stimulated the growth of infra-red spectroscopy both in Britain and abroad” (Online Dictionary of National Biography).
Author William Huggins ( ) was a self-taught astronomer and microscopist who made very significant contributions to the birth of spectrographic astronomy. Together with a friend and neighbour, the analytic chemist William Allan Miller, Huggins “perfected a spectroscope which, attached to his telescope, brought the prominent spectral lines of the brighter stars into view. Huggins's star spectroscope enabled astronomers to ask new questions and undertake new mensuration, and ultimately altered the boundaries of acceptable astronomical research. He was recognized by contemporaries as a principal founder of this new science of celestial spectroscopy. Direct visual comparison of stellar spectra against those produced by known terrestrial elements was hindered by the lack of standard and precise spectrum maps. To rectify that, in 1863 Huggins embarked on an extensive examination of metallic spectra, making important improvements in instrument design and research methodology. As an independent observer he tested the spectroscope's analytic power on his choice of a variety of celestial objects. Thus in 1864 his research shifted from stars to nebulae in the hope that the spectroscope would resolve the many unanswered questions about their nature. It was a bold initiative which ultimately propelled Huggins to a position of prestige and authority among his fellow astronomers. He selected a bright planetary nebula (37 H. IV. Draconis) as his first object, fully expecting to find that it differed from a star not so much in terms of composition but in its temperature and density. He was astonished to find a bright line spectrum unlike that of any known terrestrial element. The spectra of other planetary nebulae showed similar characteristics, leading him to conclude that they were not only gaseous in nature but represented a class of truly unique celestial bodies. Huggins's announcement captured his colleagues' imagination and heightened their awareness of the potential of spectrum analysis to generate new knowledge about the heavens. In June 1865 he was elected to fellowship in the Royal Society, and in February 1867 he and Miller were jointly awarded the RAS gold medal for their collaborative research on nebular spectra... Huggins was created a KCB by Queen Victoria in 1897 and was among the first twelve individuals awarded the prestigious Order of Merit by Edward VII in 1902. ” (Online Dictionary of National Biography).
...or, Science in the State and in the Schools. With Twenty-Five Illustrations. London: Methuen & Co., 1906.
Quarto. Original red cloth, titles to spine and upper board gilt. Frontispiece and 22 plates, roundel of Francis Bacon to the title page. The list of illustrations includes 22 numbered plates as well as the frontispiece and, unusually, also counts the title page roundel and the gilt crest on the upper board, making a total of 25 “illustrations”. Loosely inserted in this copy is a photographic reproduction, probably from microfiche, of a manuscript document dating to 1670. Occasional light pencil marks in the contents, faint chemical smell from the inserted microfiche reproduction. Cloth lightly rubbed at the tips, small tear at the head of the spine, which is faintly toned. An excellent copy.
(Maxwell, James Clerk) Goldman, Martin | The Demon in the Aether
First edition, first impression of this biography of physicist James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879).
Maxwell was the first scientist to describe electricity, light, and magnetism as different manifestations of the same phenomenon, and to demonstrate that light and magnetic fields travel through space as waves. His equations for electromagnetism are considered the second great unification of physics, Newton’s laws having been the first, and they laid the groundwork for special relativity and quantum mechanics.
...The Story of James Clerk Maxwell. Edinburgh: Paul Harris Publishing in association with Adam Hilger Ltd, 1983.
Octavo. Original black boards, titles to spine gilt. With the dust jacket. 6 double-sided plates. Very slightly rubbed at the extremities. An excellent copy in the price-clipped and lightly rubbed jacket with some fading of the spine panel and adjacent portions of the other panels.
Hassard, Annie | Floral Decorations for the Dwelling House
First edition, and a lovely copy, of this delightful work on flower arrangements and indoor plants that was highly praised by contemporaries.
By 1875, botanical pursuits such as flower and fern collecting, pressing, and arranging had been a major hobby for British women for at least a generation. Floral Decorations for the Dwelling House expanded on the work of earlier authors, such as A. E. Maling (Flowers for Ornament and Decoration, 1875), by adding advice on living plants in addition to cut flowers. It “offers a very detailed account, both practically and artistically oriented, of the best plants and best pieces of equipment to use for a wide variety of indoor plant and flower decorations, from bouquets to dining tables, window displays, hanging baskets and Christmas decorations, as well as giving advice on how best to arrange them” (Sparke, Nature Inside, p. 48).
The book was praised in the January 1876 issue of The Floral World and Garden Guide as “a systematic treatise on the subject. The truth is, the gifted author of this stands alone and far in advance of all competitors, whether as an exhibitor or a judge of exhibitions, whether in the preparation of a bouquet for a princess or the decoration of a grand saloon for an important public ceremony”. In that year an American edition was published by Macmillan, in which additional emphasis was placed on living plants in decorative schemes (Sparke).
...A Practical Guide to the Home Arrangement of Plants and Flowers. With Numerous Illustrations. London: Macmillan & Co., 1875. Octavo. Original green cloth elaborately blocked in gilt and black with floral designs on the spine and upper board, brown coated endpapers. Burn & Co. binder’s ticket to the rear pastedown. 9 steel engraved plates, steel engravings throughout the text. Single leaf of ads at rear. Blind stamp of the W. H. Smith lending library to the front free endpaper. Cloth only very lightly rubbed at the extremities with a few small marks, a few light spots to the title. An excellent copy.
(Tollemache, Julia Anne Elizabeth) Roundell, Mrs. Charles & Harry Roberts | The Still-Room
Reserved First edition of this rare work on home distillation and other domestic processes written in part by the historian Julia Anne Elizabeth Tollemache (1845-1931), who also wrote histories of Ham House and the Cowdry Park estate, as well as the Dictionary of National Biography entry on the Tudor courtier Sir Anthony Browne.
The Still-Room is a clear fore-runner of the late-20th and early-21st century focus on crafting and artisanal products. The introduction encourages women to embrace tradition rather than purchase goods in shops or “mechanically and brainlessly” follow recipes in cookbooks. The introduction states that, “it is housewifery to which nearly all the arts and sciences bring their secrets… To introduce science and order into the domestic kingdom is a task worthy of the finest intellect”.
The book’s contents describe the preparation of a variety of foods, including dairy, fish, eggs, pickled meat and vegetables, sauces and condiments, preserved fruits and vegetables, alcoholic drinks such as beer and cider, invalid food, ice cream, and mixed drinks that would be described today as cocktails. The section on distillation describes the operation of a still and offers recipes for a variety of liquors, cordials, and bitters, and is copiously illustrated with reproductions of early modern alchemical and medical illustrations, as well as photos of modern equipment.
London and New York: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1903. Octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spine and upper board gilt, illustration of distillation apparatus to the upper board gilt, edges dyed dark green. Frontispiece and 7 plates, illustrations throughout the text. 2 leaves of ads at rear. Spine rolled and a little toned, cloth slightly rubbed, small spot affecting the gilt decoration on the upper board, endpapers lightly spotted. A very good copy.
Clerke, Agnes M. | The Herschels and Modern Astronomy
First edition of this biographical work on the astronomers William, Caroline, and John Herschel by one of the “great popularisers of science of the Victorian period” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p. 270). Copies of The Herschels and Modern Astronomy are uncommon on the market, particularly in such a nice example of the publisher’s binding.
Agnes Mary Clerke was taught at home by her scholarly parents, and “by the age of eleven she had mastered Herschel’s Outlines of Astronomy” (Ogilvie, p. 270). Settling in London in 1877, she pursued a career as a writer, producing a remarkable body of work. Clerke “possessed the rare ability to communicate clearly the complexities of scientific theory to a popular audience, while synthesising masses of astronomical information into a coherent whole for professional scientists, who had become so specialised that they could not see the larger connection between their work and other current discoveries in astronomy” (Ogilvie p. 270). Though she never held a position at a university or observatory, Clerke gained “partial admission” to the male-dominated word of astronomy. She had an extensive correspondence with other astronomers, was awarded the Actonian Prize by the Royal Institution, and in 1903 was elected an honorary member of the Royal Astronomical Society.
New York: Macmillan & Co., 1895.
Octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spine and upper board gilt. Portrait frontispiece and 2 plates. Tiny bump to the edge of the upper board, very lightly rubbed at the tips, and what may be a tiny spot of dampstain affecting the extreme corner of the lower panel, light spotting to the edges of the text blocks and occasionally the contents. Very good condition, the cloth fresh.
Bacon, Gertrude | Memories of Land and Sky
First edition of the memoirs of the first Englishwoman to fly. Inscribed by the author, using her married name, on the title page, “(Gertrude Foggitt) – Sept. 1936”.
Gertrude Bacon (1874-1949) was the daughter of the scientist and balloonist Rev. John Maczenzie Bacon, and she accompanied him on most of his expeditions. "Bacon became fascinated by flying and as a journalist reported on the various airships and planes being built." In August 1904 she became the first woman to fly in an airship, being a passenger in the near-disastrous first flight of an 84-foot-long ship designed by Stanley Spencer. "From 22 to 29 August, 1909, the world's first aviation meeting was held at Rheims, France. Bacon was determined to go for a ride in one of the new machines. On the last day she was taken up in a Farman plane, squeezed between the radiator and the pilot. She described the takeoff: 'The motion was wonderfully smooth - smoother yet - and then - ! Suddenly there had come into it a new indescribable quality - a lift - a lightness - a life!' Thus she became the first Englishwoman to fly" (International Women in Science: A Biographical Dictionary, p. 15). Bacon flew on several other occasions, and became the first ever hydroplane passenger at Lake Windermere in 1912. Bacon became Gertrude Foggitt in 1929, when she married fellow botanist and chemist Thomas Jackson Foggitt.
...With Twenty-Four Illustrations. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1928.
Octavo. Original blue cloth, titles to spine gilt and to upper board in blind. 8-page publisher’s ads at rear. Portrait frontispiece and 15 plates from black and white photographs. Spine cocked, cloth a little rubbed at the extremities, two shallow dents in the upper board, lower corner bumped, some spotting to the contents, particularly the early leaves, and edges of the text block. Very good condition.
Wick, Frances G. & Louise S. McDowell | “A Preliminary Study of the Luminescence of the Uranyl Salts under Cathode Ray Excitation"
First edition, the journal issue in original wrappers, of a significant paper by two early professional female chemists.
Frances Wick (1875-1941) became interested in physics after teaching a high school course in the subject. In 1904 she enrolled at Cornell where her mentors, Edward L. Nichols and Ernest Merrit, were supportive of women students and introduced her to what would become her primary interest, the study of luminescence. After graduating she taught in women’s colleges, did research at General Electric, Harvard, Cornell, Cambridge, Berlin, and Vienna, and worked on gun sights and radio during the First World War.
Wick “took part in comprehensive studies of the fluorescence of uranium compounds coordinated by Nicholas and funded by the Carnegie Institution. During the remainder of her career, Wick investigated the luminescence produced by various agents, such as cathode, X, and radium rays; heat; and friction; as well as the effects of previous exposure to radiation on thermoluminescence… Wick was known as an inspiring, enthusiastic teacher who loved her research. She was well respected for her extensive experimental research on luminescence” and “was a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science”, as well as a member of numerous other research and teaching associations (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p. 1375).
Wicks’ co-author, Louise McDowell (1876-1966) also attended Cornell as a chemistry student, and the two became good friends. Her dissertation on the electrical properties of selenium “was one of the early studies of semiconductors. She investigated crystal detectors for the Signal Corps during World War I. Her determination of power loss in dielectrics provided much useful information on properties of different insulators, especially glass” (Ogilvie, p. 866). With Wick she studied luminescence and during the Second World War she worked on radar at Harvard for the U.S. office of Scientific Research and Development. Like Wick, she was also a respected and devoted teacher and member of numerous professional societies.
...[in] The Physical Review, volume XI, number 6. Lancaster, PA & Ithaca, NY: The American Physical Society, June 1918.
Octavo. Original green wrappers printed in black. 1 plate, 3 leaves of ads at rear. Spine and edges of wrappers tanned, wear along the spine with a closed tear in the upper wrapper near the tail and loss from the head of the spine. Very good condition.
Ramsay, William & J. Norman Collie | “The Spectrum of the Radium Emanation”
First edition, the journal issue in original wrappers.
Chemist Sir William Ramsay’s (1852-1916) most important research was on the noble, or inert, gases. He was the first to isolate helium and discovered neon, krypton, xenon, and argon, the latter being the element for which he and John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh, were awarded Nobel Prizes in 1905.
In his Nobel lecture Ramsay described on-going spectroscopic work on radium, begun in 1903: “Much work remains to be done on these emanations. In conjunction with Dr. Collie, my colleague, the spectrum of the radium emanation has been mapped. It resembles generally speaking those of the inert gases... It might then be an unstable member of the argon family; there is a vacant place for an element with atomic weight about 162”. Ramsay’s work with radium was not particularly fruitful, and this paper mainly deals with efforts to purify samples and obtain accurate readings.
...[in] Proceedings of the Royal Society, volume LXXIII, No. 495. London: Harrison and Sons & R. Friedländer & Sohn for the Royal Society, June 22, 1904.
Octavo. Original grey-green wrappers printed in black. 2 folding graphs. Index leaves on onion skin paper loosely inserted. Contents partially unopened, leaf 2K7 clumsily opened with slight loss from the margin. Wrappers toned along the spine and edges, a little rubbing and some nicks and creases along the edges, slight loss from the head of the spine. Very good condition.
Erdmann, Rhoda | Praktikum der Gewebepflege oder Explanation Besonders der Gewebezüchtung
First edition, first impression of “the first German textbook that provided detailed instructions on tissue culture methods and indicated how they might be applied for cancer research”, by the pioneering cytologist Rhoda Erdmann (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p. 424). Rare, with only one institutional copy listed in WorldCat, at the University of Groningen.
Erdmann (1870-1935) struggled throughout her career, despite being recognised by her peers as a talented and forward-looking researcher. Her father opposed science as a career, so she only pursued it following his death. After qualifying in 1907, she worked at the University of Munich and did experimental cell research at the Helgoland and Naples zoological stations for her dissertation. She then became a scientific assistant at the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases, but the poor pay forced her to undertake literary work on the side.
In 1913 the American Lorande Loss Woodruff announced his discovery that paramecium could reproduce asexually seemingly indefinitely. Erdmann had been studying “the importance of sexual reproduction for both nuclear division and death of single-celled organisms” and wrote requesting samples of his cultures (Ogilvie). Instead, her offered her a position a Yale, where she “solved a number of problems related to parthenogenesis. She also updated her techniques of tissue culture under Ross Harrison, head of the Osborn Laboratory at Yale, who had developed new methods of culturing nerve cells” (Ogilvie).
On her way back to Germany in 1914 Erdmann was held as an enemy alien in Britain until she was offered the position of lecturer at Yale by Harrison, “an extraordinary offer since the charter of the university had to be changed to admit her as a woman faculty member” (Ogilvie). With scientific independence and a good salary, this was a productive period in her career, but it came to an end in 1918 when rumours about her research were enflamed by anti-German sentiment. “She was forcibly removed from her position and accused of plotting to poison the New Haven drinking water, and of destroying American chickens with a chicken virus that would poison the brains of American soldiers. After four and a half months in detention in the Waverley House in New York (a prison for ‘wayward girls’), she was released following the intervention of Ross Harrison and American female friends who had paid five thousand dollars in fines… Erdmann’s health suffered for the rest of her life from the results of this incarceration” (Ogilvie).
On her return to Germany, Erdmann was rejected fifty times when applying for positions, but was finally hired by the Friederich-Williams University Institute for Cancer Research in Berlin. “It was a position without additional personnel and no funding for laboratory equipment. Nevertheless, Erdmann established the first German department for experimental cytology in two empty rooms… Initial research conditions were so bad that she figured she had lost the first four years for research” (Ogilvie). Erdmann was not appointed to a teaching teaching post until 1929, and her laboratory did not become a formal university institute until the following year. As late as 1927 she was earning a lower salary than her assistant. “Meanwhile both students and coworkers were attracted to the new field and the medical faculty recognized experimental cytology as an interdisciplinary science important to both medical biology and physiology. Erdmann supplied both fields with assistants well trained in cytology” (Ogilvie).
During this period she also founded an international journal for cell research which had editors and contributors from as far away as Japan, and covered “every branch of cytology, including biochemistry, cell physiology, electrophysiology, and radiation biology. This was the only international scientific publication published by a woman. Erdmann also planned several international cell biology congresses, advertising them in the issues of the journal” (Ogilvie).
The final years of Erdmann’s life were blighted by the rise of the Nazis. She was jailed by the Gestapo for helping Jews escape Germany, and then lost her position under the “Aryan” laws of 1934. She died in Berlin the following year, having “promoted the importance of tissue culture studies in biology and cancer research in her lectures and scientific publications until her untimely death” (Ogilvie).
...Mit 101 Textabbildungen. Berlin: Julius Springer, 1922.
Octavo. Contemporary library binding of marbled boards with black cloth backstrip, titles to spine gilt. Illustrations from photographs throughout the text. Inked shelf number to the title, and ink stamps of the Leipzig Surgical Hospital to the title and 9 other leaves. Binding a little worn at the edges. Very good condition.
Morris, Simon Conway | The Crucible of Creation. The Burgess Shale and the Rise of Animals.
First edition, first impression and a very attractive copy.
This volume by leading palaeobiologist Simon Conway Morris describes the discovery and interpretation of fossils from the famed Burgess Shale in Canada, which dates from the Cambrian period 545 million years ago. Prior to this time most living things were loosely organised colonies of single-celled organisms, but the Cambrian saw a dramatic increase in diversity, with the evolution of many new body types and survival strategies. The majority of animal and plant body plans we know today evolved during the Cambrian, and this time period has been a source of mystery and scientific debate since the early 19th century. The Burgess Shale is a rich source of Cambrian fossils, most so well preserved that the soft parts of the animals can be studied, providing important insights into the evolution of life.
Morris played a key role in interpreting the Burgess Shale fossils, and in this volume he gives his perspective on the scholarly debate surrounding them, including what he argues are crucial errors in Stephen Jay Gould's famous book on the fossils, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. Octavo. Original black cloth, titles to spine in silver. With the dust jacket. 2 double-sided colour plates, illustrations throughout the text. Jacket very lightly rubbed, with a contemporary ISBN sticker to the lower panel. An excellent copy.
Ross, Ronald, et al. | The Prevention of Malaria
First edition of this significant work by the doctor who identified the transmission pathway of malaria.
Ronald Ross (1857-1932) was a physician in the Indian Medical Service who became interested in malaria during the 1890s. He was mentored by Patrick Manson, the leading British specialist in tropical diseases, and set out to prove Manson’s mosquito hypothesis. Ross’s first breakthrough was proving that the parasite in question could be transmitted to mosquito stomachs from infected humans, and he was then able to track the entire infection cycle in birds using avian malaria. It was the Italian Giovanni Battista Grassi who conclusively demonstrated the cycle in humans shortly thereafter.
During the resulting debates on prevention, Ross “strongly favoured vector control as the most cost-efficient means to prevent the disease, and he developed a sophisticated mathematical model of malaria epidemiology to show that it was not necessary to eradicate all Anophelines in a particular area to effect a significant reduction in malaria incidence. Ross's model was rooted in the mathematics of probability (what he called a theory of happenings), and although it was later recognized as a basis of mathematical epidemiology it was poorly appreciated in Ross's lifetime and made relatively little impact” (ODNB). Ross elaborated on his mathematical ideas in The Prevention of Malaria, which contained “chapters by different experts on malaria control in many malarious countries, but the bulk of the monograph contained Ross's own reconstruction of the contributions made by various individuals to the discovery of the transmission of malaria by Anopheles mosquitoes” (ODNB). The volume also contains sections on the history of malaria and the progress and symptoms of the disease.
...With Many Illustrations. London: John Murray, 1910.
Large octavo. Original red cloth, titles to spine and upper board gilt, borders blocked in blind. 30 plates of which 3 are folding, tables and graphs within the text. 4 leaves of ads at rear. Ink stamps of the John Holt Company, Liverpool to the front free endpaper, pages 95, 241, 273, 289, and 481 as well as two of the folding plates. Cloth a little rubbed at the extremities, spotting to the edges of the text block and the early and late leaves, and scattered spotting throughout the contents. Very good condition.
Wulf, Andrea | (Uncorrected Proof Copy) The Invention of Nature
Uncorrected proof copy of the best-seller that reintroduced naturalist Alexander von Humboldt to the English-speaking world and explored his contributions to the ideas of figures such as Thoreau, Darwin, and Muir. The Invention of Nature was awarded the Royal Society’s Insight Investment Science Book Prize in 2016. This uncorrected proof is marked “not for sale or quotation” and contains blank pages in place of the index.
...The Adventures of Alexander Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science. London: John Murray, 2015. Perfect bound. Original wrappers printed in colour. Wrappers a little rubbed, a few light marks to the lower cover. Very good condition.
Knight, Margery & Mary W. Parke | Manx Algae
First edition, first impression of this guide by one of Britain’s leading phycologists.
Mary Winifred Parke (1908-1989) studied botany at Liverpool University, then joined the marine station on the Isle of Man where she studied algae under Margery Knight, who specialised in their cytology and life histories. “Together they published a handbook describing the algae of the area, Manx Algae, which appeared in 1931” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p. 978).
After receiving her doctorate Parke continued at the marine station. She made important discoveries about the microscopic organisms oysters that feed on, which led to a new culturing process for oyster farming. During the Second World War she and Knight designed new types of agar and alginate for bacteriological use. The development of powerful new microscopes after the war renewed her interest in marine flagellates, and together with the electron microscopy pioneer Irene Manton she published fourteen important papers. “They described unusual details of structure including extracellular scales and an organelle capable of attaching itself to solid substrates. They also described the role of other organelles that could form and package material for extracellular transport. They carefully described the importance of these organisms in rock-building as well as in the pelagic food chain” (ODNB).
...An Algal Survey of the South End of the Isle of Man. With Two Maps and 19 Plates. L.M.B.C. Memoirs on Typical British Marine Plants & Animals, Edited by James Johnstone. Liverpool: University Press of Liverpool, 1931. Octavo. Original white boards printed in black, red cloth backstrip. Folding chart, 2 maps, and 19 plates, errata slip at page 7. Binding rubbed and spotted with some wear at the ends of the spine. Very good condition.
Sowerby, George B. | Popular History of the Aquarium of Marine and Fresh-Water Animals and Plants.
Reserved First edition, an unusually lovely copy of this charming book with hand-coloured plates depicting a variety of aquatic animals and plants.
George Brettingham Sowerby (1812-1884) was the grandson of the naturalist and botanical artist James Sowerby, and assisted his father (also George Brettingham) in the elder’s publishing and conchological businesses. The youngest Sowerby was “renowned for the illustrations he produced for the works of other specialists. A volume of drawings, Palaeontology of the Vicinity of Cheltenham (c.1844), showing fossils in the collection of Charles Fowler, suggests that he ought to be regarded as the most artistically talented of the Sowerbys. Crosse in a review (Crosse, 260) commented that he was a mediocre naturalist, a shocking Latinist, but an excellent draughtsman and concluded 'Faites des planches, faites des planches … mais pour l'amour de Dieu ne décriver point de coquille!' ('Make plates, make plates, … but for the love of God don't describe any shells!')” (ODNB).
The Popular History of the Aquarium came about when the publisher Lovell Reeve persuaded Sowerby to write an account for general audiences, “but not having the necessary knowledge he was criticized for incorporating material published by other authors and labelled as 'one of the greatest proficients in the art of “scissors and paste”' (Annals and Magazine of Natural History, 20, 1857, 139)” (ODNB).
London: Lovell Reeve, 1857.
Octavo. Original green cloth elaborately blocked in gilt and blind with a design of a turtle to the upper board, Westley’s & Co. binder’s ticket to the rear pastedown. Frontispiece and 19 plates, all of which are hand-coloured lithographs. 5 leaves of ads at rear. Cloth just a little rubbed at the tips, a little spotting to the early leaves, including the frontispiece, contents faintly toned in the margins. An excellent copy.
Hahn, Otto & Fritz Strassman | Die Chemische Abscheidung der bei Spaltung des Urans entstehenden Elemente und Atomarten
The true offprint, in the orange wrappers, of the third of Hahn and Strassman’s “three fundamental papers on nuclear fission, containing the first comprehensive account of the phenomenon” (Hook & Norman, Norman Library of Science and Medicine 963). Offprints in the orange wrappers labelled “Einzelausgabe” are the true offprints, because these only ever contained a single paper. The “Abhandlungen” issues in the green wrappers are not true offprints because they could contain multiple papers, though in the case of the Hahn & Strassman fission papers each contains only the one paper.
“In 1938 Hahn and Strassman had demonstrated the presence of radioactive barium, lanthanum and cerium among the products of neutron bombardment of uranium, an observation that seemed to contradict all previous experiences of nuclear physics” (Hook & Norman, Norman Library of Science and Medicine 963). They announced these unexplained findings in an earlier paper published in Naturwissenschaften on January 6th, 1939, but before that wrote to Lise Meitner, then in exile in Copenhagen, “telling her of their baffling discovery and asking for advice. It was this letter that inspired Meitner and her nephew Otto Frisch to create their hypothesis of a fission process, which they published on 11 February 1939” (Hook & Norman). The first paper in the series was published on September 18th, 1939, with the second appearing in 1942.
...(Allgemeiner Teil). Aus den Abhandlungen der Preußischen Akademie der Wisenschaften Jahrgang 1944. Math.-naturw. Klasse. Nr. 12. Einzelausgabe. Berlin: Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1944.
Quarto. 14-page offprint. Original orange wrappers printed in black. Just a little rubbed and toned along the edges, contents very light toned in the margins. An excellent copy.