Lucas, Frederick A. | Animals of the Past


    This popular guide to prehistoric creatures was first published by McClure, Philips & Co. in New York in 1901. This edition followed in 1913 as a production of the American Museum of Natural History, where the author, Frederick A Lucas, had recently been appointed director.

    Lucas (1852-1929) “was one of the first American paleontologists to write books for the general public on prehistoric life, including dinosaurs, and his Animals of the Past (1901)and Life Before Man in North America (1902) helped shape the public view of dinosaurs in the early twentieth-century. Lucas employed for his principal illustrator the singular Charles Knight, who in his short career had already established himself as the country’s premier dinosaur artist” (Ashworth, Paper Dinosaurs 27).

    Knight had “appeared on the scene in 1897” working initially with Edward Drinker Cope in Philadelphia and then Henry F. Osborn at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He “quickly showed a great gift for bringing dinosaurs to life, in practically any medium whatsoever. Not only was he the first truly great dinosaur artist, but his impact continues to be felt right up to the present day” (Ashworth, Paper Dinosaurs 23).

    The present volume contains five plates by Knight, including his sculpture of a triceratops and paintings of Brontosaurus, Thespesius (now disputed), and Stegosaurus. Other illustrations were created by J. M. Gleeson, who worked under Knight, and some are from photographs of specimens. The text begins with a chapter on fossils and how they are formed, covers a wide range of species from the earliest vertebrates to the Ice Age mammals, and ends with a new chapter on discoveries made in the twelve years since the first edition was published.

  • ...An Account of Some of the Creatures of the Ancient World. American Museum of Natural History Handbook Series No. 4. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1913.

    Octavo. Original brown paper wrappers printed in black with an illustration of a Mosasaur to the upper cover. Frontispiece and 16 plates, 25 illustrations within the text. Ownership ink stamp to the front blank. Inked shelf number to the upper wrapper, some numbers and markings in red ink to the title. Spine professionally rebacked by Bainbridge Conservation. Ends of spine worn, spine creased, a few light spots of dampstain to the lower corner of the upper cover and front blank, light offsetting from inserted material on page xiii. Very good condition.