Massee, George. | British Fungi
First edition and a very attractive copy.
George Massee (1845-1917) was a prominent mycologist. He was keeper of the Lower Cryptograms at Kew Gardens and one of the founders of the British Mycological Society, of which he served as president. Massee wrote many books and articles for both scientific and popular audiences, and he described numerous new species of fungi, though a lack of type specimens means that a significant proportion have been relegated to uncertain status. Massee’s daughter Ivy was also a talented mycologist who did field work and painted plants. She contributed the forty colour plates illustrating this guide (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science p. 851).
...With a Chapter on Lichens. With Forty Coloured Plates by Ivy Massee. London: George Routledge and Sons, Limited, .
Octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spine and mushroom design to upper board gilt. 40 coloured plates, illustrations from photographs within the text. Small bumps to the edge of the upper board, the joint, and the lower corner, a little light spotting to the endpapers. An excellent, fresh copy, the gilt bright.
Girvin, Brenda | Munition Mary
SOLD First edition, first impression of this important First World War adventure novel by the lesbian author Brenda Girvin (1884-1970). Uncommon with the decorative publisher’s cloth in such nice condition.
During the First World War “female authors were quick to take advantage of the changing social climate in which women were taking up the opportunities of more and varied work outside the home and for the war effort. The heroines, albeit fewer in number than their male counterparts, worked on the land, in the factories, and as army and ambulance drivers. Brenda Girvin’s eponymous heroine in Munition Mary (1918) single-handedly foils a German spy-ring attempting to sabotage the newly employed female labor force in the munitions factory owned by the fierce Sir William. Sir William is so prejudiced against women working outside the home that he will apparently walk up several flights of stairs rather than get into a lift operated by a woman. Mary’s colleagues initially blame the sabotage on Sir William himself, but the loyal Mary fights to prove his innocence and ultimately captures the Germans. Throughout however Girvin is at pains to let her readers know that Mary lost none of her ‘womanliness’ despite taking up men’s work” (Kennedy, The Children’s War: British Children’s Experience of the Great War, Goldsmith’s College PhD thesis, p. 218).
Girvin and her partner Monica Cosens (1888-1973) both served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service during the First World War, and Girvin dedicated this volume to her “munition friend” the artist Margaret Kemp-Welch (1874-1968), who presumably worked in one of the factories at the same time. Girvin and Cosens had extensive careers as children’s authors, often working together on books and plays. Together they built the remarkable vernacular-style holiday cottage Cock Rock in North Devon, which was designed by the prominent architect and landscape designer Oliver Hill (1887-1968) (Kepp, “Gardens by Oliver Hill in North Devon”, Journal of the Devon Gardens Trust, March 2020).
...Illustrated by Gertrude Demain Hammond. London: Humphrey Milford, 1918.
Octavo. Original blue cloth, titles to spine and upper board gilt, elaborate illustrations to spine and upper board in black, yellow, and several shades of blue. Colour frontispiece and 3 plates. Sunday School prize bookplate awarded in 1927, the bookplate manufactured for Brown’s Bookstore in Hull. Small manuscript note on 1996 purchase loosely inserted. Spine rolled, lightly rubbed at the extremities with just a little loss of size from the lower corners of the boards, endpapers partially toned. A very good copy.
Foxwell, A. K. | Munition Lasses
First edition, first impression of this account of women munition workers at the Woolwich Arsenal between July 1916 and January 1917. Uncommon, particularly in the dust jacket.
Author Agnes Kate Foxwell (1872-1957) was a graduate of University College London, a teacher at Cheltenham Ladies College, and active in the suffrage movement. In 1914 she joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment and worked as a Red Cross nurse in a number of military hospitals, primarily in London but also Rouen (https://vad.redcross.org.uk/record?rowKey=78412).
Shortly after women were first hired as employees of the Woolwich Arsenal in early 1916 she was recruited as Principal Overlooker in Danger Buildings, supervising employees in the most dangerous sections of the factory. The present volume describes her role and the perilous, exhausting, and low-paid work undertaken by women munition workers. It covers a wide variety of factory roles and also describes social life among the workers, but some technological details were omitted for national security reasons. The book is illustrated with four pages of photographs depicting the Woolwich employees, primarily in formal group shots, including several in costumes for a Joan of Arc pageant.
...Six Months as Principal Overlooker in Danger Buildings. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1917.
Octavo. Original light blue cloth, titles to spine and upper board in black. With the dust jacket. 2 double-sided plates from photographs. Spine rolled and faded with a mild crease, a little dulling and spotting of the cloth, contents toned with occasional spotting. Contemporary gift inscription to the front free endpaper. A very good copy in the rubbed and dulled jacket with three small chips to the spine panel and the lower edge of the upper panel, as well as a short closed tear and some nicks and creasing.
Marchant, Bessie | A Girl Munition Worker
SOLD First edition of this important First World War adventure novel by the prolific children’s writer sometimes described as “the girls’ G. A. Henty”.
Bessie Marchant Comfort (1862-1941) spent her entire life in England but wrote close to 150 novels set in locations around the world. Her protagonists are mainly young women who take on masculine-coded traits and roles, overcoming fear and uncertainty to save the day (and often male characters) through intelligence, courage, and self-control. In A Girl Munition Worker the heroine, Deborah, is employed in a munitions factory and becomes involved in the case of a German spy, heroically foiling a Zeppelin raid against the facility by shooting the agent guiding the airship from the ground.
“British and American wartime girls’ books unabashedly celebrate opportunities for middle-class heroines to take on exciting new jobs outside the home: as munition factory workers in Brenda Girvin’s Munition Mary (1918) and Bessie Marchant’s A Girl Munition Worker (1916), or as farm laborers in Marchant’s A Transport Girl in France (1919). Within these workplace settings, the protagonists perform additional heroic service by identifying and capturing German spies. As intrepid spy catchers, girl heroines are able to contribute to the war effort by engaging, like their soldier counterparts, with the enemy, but they make use of what are portrayed as some distinctly feminine weapons: curiosity and intuition. At the same time, by hunting down and confronting dangerous spies, the young female protagonists in these books demonstrate a level of bravery not typically associated with femininity at that time. Ironically, these moments of gender-bending are often followed by scenes in which the girls fall in a faint, clearly overcome by the magnitude of what they have done… The activities of these characters, both as working girls and as spy catchers, clearly challenge the notion that a girl’s or woman’s world must be limited to the domestic sphere. At the same time, the radicality of this message is tempered by frequent reminders of the heroine’s femininity, beauty, and physical and emotional fragility” (Redmann, “Girls Reading the Great War”, Women Writing War, 2018).
...The Story of a Girl’s Work during the Great War. Illustrated by J. E. Sutcliffe. London: Blackie and Son Limited, [c. 1916].
Octavo. Original grey cloth blocked in black, blue, and yellow, grey coated endpapers. Frontispiece and 5 plates. Bookseller’s ticket of William Pile of Sutton and Wallington. Spine rolled, cloth rubbed with slight wear at the tips, spotting to the edges of the text block and title page and occasionally to the contents, small raised spot on the frontispiece. Very good condition.
Jex-Blake, Sophia | Medical Women
Second edition (originally published in 1872) and a nice association copy, inscribed in 1928 from Louie M. Brooks, Secretary and Warden of the London School of Medicine for Women, the institution founded by author Sophia Jex-Blake as the first medical school in Britain to allow women to fully qualify as physicians. Copies of both the first two editions are scarce on the market.
Sophia Jex-Blake (1840-1912) “spent most of her life fighting for a career in medicine for herself and for other women” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p 657). She was close friends with Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, whom she assisted in trying to enter the medical school at the University of Edinburgh. In 1868 Jex-Blake herself began studying medicine under Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman doctor in the United States, but was forced to return to Britain after her father fell ill. After a strenuous campaign, she and four other women were admitted into the medical school at Edinburgh in 1869, but they faced increasing obstacles. Most of the professors refused to teach them anatomy, and there was aggression from male students, including a mob that tried to prevent them from entering Surgeon’s Hall. Finally in 1872 the University insisted that it would not award them degrees, but only certificates of proficiency, leading to a lengthy court case and the passing of an Act of Parliament that allowed medical examining bodies to test women.
“Meanwhile, Jex-Blake had founded the London School of Medicine for Women (1874), with a staff of respected lecturers. She herself was granted the legal right to practice medicine in Great Britain by the Irish College of Physicians in 1877. She began practising in Edinburgh in 1878, founded the Women’s Hospital there in 1885, and in 1886 organised the Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women” (Ogilvie).
Medical Women is a history of women’s participation in the field, from the ancient world through the medieval and early modern periods, but its main focus is the ‘Battle of Edinburgh”, as Jex-Blake calls it. The first edition was published in 1872, the year in which Edinburgh rejected the women’s demand for full degrees, so this second edition, published in 1886, has been updated with a significant amount of new material covering the lengthy court cases and the establishment of the London School.
This copy was presented as a gift from Louie M. Brooks, who in 1910 is recorded as the Secretary and Warden of the London School (https://wellcomecollection.org/works/wcgpsubv). She was presumably still working at the school in this or some other capacity when the book was gifted in 1928, as she includes the institution’s formal name, “London (Royal Free Hospital) School of Medicine for Women”, under her signature (the school had been consolidated with the Royal Free in 1896). The identity of the recipient of this copy, S. G. Rawson, is unclear, but the name appears in the Journal of Education for 1904 as Director of Education for Worcestershire, and there is an 1884 letter of recommendation for an S. G. Rawson connected with the University of Liverpool in the National Archives (https://archive.org/stream/journalofeducati3619unse/journalofeducati3619unse_djvu.txt & https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/733ef856-7060-4b25-914a-32b1688bde0a).
...A Thesis and a History. Edinburgh: Oliphant Anderson, & Ferrier. London: Hamilton, Adams, & Co., 1886.
Octavo. Original red cloth, titles to spine and upper board gilt. Separately paginated 100-page appendix, 4 pages of ads at rear. Spine faded with wear at the head and tail, some dulling and spots to the cloth, occasional faint spots to contents. Very good condition.
[Waite, Arthur Edward] Valentinus, Basilius | The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony
Second impression of the Arthur Edward Waite translation, originally published in 1894. One of only 500 copies from the same setting of type by the metaphysical publisher Vincent Stuart Ltd., and a lovely example of the dust jacket.
The mysterious Basil Valentine was “one of the most celebrated figures of early modern chymistry” (Principe, The Secrets of Alchemy, p. 138). Though described as the work of a 15th-century German monk, his large corpus was likely the product of several authors beginning in the 1590s, primarily Johann Thölde (1565-1624), a salt manufacturer who published the first five books that appeared under Valentine’s name.
“The most famous book in the Valentine corpus appeared in 1604 under the grand title of The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony (Der Triumph-Wagen Antimonii). The first part is largely theoretical, while the second contains about two dozen practical preparations seemingly very clearly described, based on antimony. Today, antimony is known as a fairly rare, semimetallic element of moderate toxicity... but for early modern chymists it was a source of inexhaustible fascination. Despite the toxicity of antimony compounds, most of Valentine’s preparations are pharmaceutical... The Triumphal Chariot’s emphasis on transforming poisons into pharmaceuticals, and its vitriolic condemnations of the medical establishment, places it firmly in the tradition of Parcelsianism.” (Principe, The Secrets of Alchemy, p. 140).
Arthur Edward Waite (1857-1942) is perhaps best known as co-creator of the famed Raider-Waite-Smith tarot deck. He was involved with numerous aspects of turn-of-the-century mysticism and the occult, including the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, and his own organisation, the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross. Waite was also a prolific author, publishing widely on the history of esotericism, alchemy, ceremonial magic, Kabbalah, the Holy Grail, and Freemasonry, and preparing translations of a number of important texts in these traditions.
...With the Commentary of Theodore Kerckringius. Being the Latin Version Published at Amsterdam in the Year 1685 Translated into English, with a Biographical Preface. London: Vincent Stuart Ltd., 1962. Octavo. Original black cloth, titles to spine and decorative design to upper board gilt. With the dust jacket. Engraved half-title. An excellent, fresh copy, the jacket only very slightly rubbed along the edges with a couple of minor nicks.
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
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.
A clear fore-runner of the late-20th and early-21st century focus on crafting and artisanal products, The Still-Room is a practical guide that, in its contents, design, and illustrations foregrounds historical methods. 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.
Watson, James D. | The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA
First edition, first printing. The Double Helix is one of the most significant first-hand accounts of the scientific process written during the 20th-century. With "Pepys-like frankness," Watson describes science as it actually happens, including the frustrations, dead-ends, and gritty political battles. Richard Feynman praised Watson's account, writing that, "He has described admirably how it feels to have that frightening and beautiful experience of making a great scientific discovery".
The Double Helix is also significant for Watson’s unashamed belittling of chemist Rosalind Franklin — whose work formed the basis for the determination of DNA’s structure — calling her by the nickname Rosy, which she had never used, and describing her in profoundly sexist ways. Watson has also become known in recent years for his racist views on human genetics.
New York: Atheneum, 1968.
Octavo. Original blue boards, titles to spine gilt and to upper board in blind, red endpapers, top edge yellow. With the dust jacket. Diagrams and illustrations from photographs throughout the text. A little fading and rubbing along the edges of the boards. A very good copy in the price-clipped, rubbed, and nicked jacket with a short closed tear in the upper panel and two small chips from the lower panel, as well as some marks and scuffs.
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.
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
Offprint of the second of Hahn and Strassman’s “three fundamental papers on nuclear fission, containing the first comprehensive account of the phenomenon… 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 this one following five years later on December 21st, 1944.
...(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.
Hahn, Otto & Fritz Strassman | Über das Zerplatzen des Urankernes durch langsame Neutronen
Offprint of the first of Hahn and Strassman’s “three fundamental papers on nuclear fission, containing the first comprehensive account of the phenomenon" (Norman Library of Science and Medicine 963).
"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” (Norman 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” (Norman). The present paper was presented at the May 25th, 1939 meeting of the Akademie and published on September 18th of that year. The following two papers in this series would not appear until 1944 and 1945.
...Abhandlungen der Preußischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Jahrgang 1939. Mathematisch-naturwissenschaftliche Klasse. Berlin: Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1939. Quarto. 20-page offprint, original green wrappers printed in black. A little fading along the spine and edges, lightly rubbed at the extremities. An excellent copy.
(Hosking, Eric) Baker, J. A. | The Peregrine.
First edition, first impression of this masterpiece of 20th century nature writing, cited by Ted Hughes, Andrew Motion, Werner Herzog, and many others, as one of the most important works of its kind. Uncommon in such nice condition in the dust jacket. This copy from the library of eminent bird photographer Eric J. Hosking, with his owl bookplate.
Author J. A. Baker (1926-1987) was a librarian who spent ten years tracking peregrine falcons in coastal Essex during the 1950s and 60s. This, the first of his two published works, distils his observations of the birds and their changing habitat into a lyrical account of a single year, beginning in autumn with the birds’ migration from Scandinavia and ending with their return north in spring.
Born in 1909, Eric Hosking developed his love for nature and photography at an early age. He received a Kodak Box Brownie at age eight, and graduated to a plate camera by age ten, using it to photograph birds. He lost his job in car sales at the beginning of the Great Depression, but an opportunity arose when the Sunday Dispatch asked him to get a shot of an elephant seal at the London Zoo. For several years he supplemented his income by photographing weddings and children (including the young princesses for Country Life in 1935), but by 1937 he was a full-time nature photographer, the first person in Britain to make their living in this field.
Hosking was intrepid in his pursuit of wild birds. He designed his own hides and made a number of important technical advances, among them the use of the flash in nature photography. His most famous photo is the “technically perfect” shot of a barn owl carrying prey that he captured using an electronic flash in 1948 (Sage, “A Photographer in Hiding”, New Scientist, September 1979). He is widely credited with developing wildlife photography into a mature artform.
During his sixty-year career Hosking’s photographs were published thousands of times around the world. He authored thirteen books, including the autobiography An Eye for a Bird, and he lectured, wrote for popular periodicals, and appeared on television. Hosking was president of the Nature Photographic Society and served as vice-president of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the British Ornithologists’ Union. He was awarded the RSPB’s Gold Medal in 1974, and three years later received an OBE.
London: Collins, 1967.
Octavo. Original black boards, titles to spine gilt. With the dust jacket. Bookplate of Eric J. Hosking. Tail of spine a little bumped, lightly rubbed at the edges. An excellent copy in the jacket that is also a little faded on the spine panel and edges, and lightly rubbed at the extremities.
Geiger, Hans, John Harling & Ernest Marsden. “On the Diffuse Reflection of the α-Particles"
First edition, first impression of one of the five key papers resulting from Ernest Rutherford’s landmark gold foil experiment, which led to the modern understanding of atomic structure. An attractive copy and uncommon in the original journal format, as here.
During the early years of the 20th century physicists had a poor understanding of the structure of atoms, whose existence had only been proved mathematically by Einstein in 1905. The leading — though still controversial — theory was J. J. Thomson’s “plum pudding” model, which posited that the mass of an atom was evenly distributed, with negatively charged electrons appearing throughout like raisins in a Christmas pudding. If that were the case, alpha particles emitted by radioactive substances should pass through atoms with little or no deflection. But in an elegant series of experiments Ernest Rutherford, Hans Geiger, and Ernest Marsden showed that they were often deflected, sometimes by more than 90 degrees, as described here in “On the Diffuse Reflection of the α-Particles”. Rutherford used the results of these experiments to mathematically model the alpha scattering, proving that atoms contained a dense, positively charged nucleus surrounded by negatively charged electrons with little mass, publishing this conclusion as "The Scattering of α and β Particles by Matter and the Structure of the Atom" in 1911.
...in Proceedings of the Royal Society Series A., Vol. 82, No. A557. London: for the Royal Society by Harrison & Sons, July 31, 1909.
Octavo. Original grey wrappers printed in black. 1 plate. Spine slightly toned with some loss from the head and tail, a couple of tiny chips and nicks to the wrappers, closed tear of the lower wrapper. Very good condition.