Peckham, George W. & Elizabeth G. On the Instincts and Habits of the Solitary Wasps

  • First edition, first printing of both titles, the “Additional Observations” being a presentation copy inscribed, “Mr, Claus H. Shirum [?], compliments of the authors”.

    Authors Elizabeth and George Peckham were entomologists and archnologists who together pioneered the study of jumping spiders; were early proponents of including behaviour in taxonomical analysis; and performed some of the first studies on sexual selection. Elizabeth was the first female science graduate of Vasser, one of Milwaukee’s first librarians, and a suffragist. George obtained a medical degree but chose to teach high school, and in 1880 the Peckhams introduced the first biological laboratory course in an American High school, also incorporating Darwinian concepts in their pedagogy.

    Together the Peckhams described 63 genera and 366 species, and one genus, at least twenty species, and a scientific society are named in their honour. Following George’s death in 1914, Elizabeth continued their scientific work and was awarded a PhD by Cornell in 1914. On the Instincts and Habits of the Solitary Wasps is now considered a scientific classic, for both its style and scholarship.

  • [Bound together with] “Additional Observations on the Instincts and Habits of the Solitary Wasps” [in] Bulletin of the Wisconsin Natural History Society, vol. 1, no. 2, April 1900. Madison, WI: the state of Wisconsin, 1898.

    Octavo. Contemporary library style binding of black half skiver, black cloth sides, spine gilt in compartments. 14 plates of which 2 are chromolithographs and the 12 are lithographs. Binding rubbed with wear at the corners, spine ends, and hinges, contents toned. A very good copy.