Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2010 Issue

Science and Astronomy from Jeff Weber Rare Books

Weber159

Science and astronomy from Jeff Weber Rare Books.


By Michael Stillman

This month we received our first catalogue from Jeff Weber Rare Books of Glendale, California. This is number 159 in their series, titled Rare Science and Astronomy Books. Weber specializes in science, and while this particular catalogue is focused on astronomy, others feature different topics within the field. Some of these books will be rather technical, while others are aimed more at the layman looking to expand his/her horizons. There is an enormous amount of knowledge and discovery in this catalogue - 418 tomes on the latest information of the day, though that day may range from a few years past to centuries ago. These are some samples of the material you will find.

While the names of many of the scientists who have contributed to this catalogue are not well known outside of their fields, we will start with the great work of a man everyone knows: Charles Darwin. Darwin, of course, came up with the explanation as to how the various species of plants and animals got to where they are today, a theory most controversial as it conflicted with many deeply held preconceived notions. Item 76 is a copy of the first American edition, published in 1860, of his earth shattering book On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection. Many regard this as the most important scientific work of the 19th century. It had already proven to be an instantaneous top seller by the time the American edition came out, only a few short months after the first edition. Priced at $5,000.

As big a selling success as the Origin was, here is a Darwin title that sold even faster than that one: The formation of vegetable mould, through the action of worms with observations on their habits. That doesn't sound like it would be more popular, though it was certainly less controversial. It was his last scientific book and the last work published during his lifetime. Darwin had joked about going to join the worms about which he wrote. Actually, he had been fascinated by the creatures for decades, having first written about them long before he conceived the Origin. This book provided the summary of his learning about these animals he considered exceedingly important to the environment, and at least semi-intelligent. Item 75. Published in 1882. $150.

Somewhat forgotten along the way is that Darwin did not publish the first paper on evolution, at least not on his own. Darwin developed the theory first in the early 1840s, but sat on it, somewhat fearful of public reaction. In the 1850s, Alfred Russel Wallace developed a theory of evolution very similar to Darwin's separately. It was on hearing from Wallace that Darwin realized he must finally publish his theories or be left behind. The result was that he and Wallace published the first description of their theory jointly in 1858. Item 389 is Wallace's autobiography, published in 1905: My Life: A Record of Events and Opinions. Item 389. $400.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 19: 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 28: Printed & Manuscript Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 5: African-American Fine Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 17: Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 19:<br>Art & Storytelling: Photographs & Photobooks</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 26: Rare & Important Travel Posters</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 2:<br>Old Master Through Modern Prints</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 7: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 14: 19th & 20th Century Literature</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries: Fall 2017 Auction Schedule</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Nov 16: Contemporary Art</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 5:<br>Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 14: Illustration Art</b>
  • <b>Announcing a new Books for Sale platform hosted by Biblio</b>
    <b>List your books simultaneously on Rare Book Hub and Biblio</b>
  • <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Exodus 10:10 to 16:15. Complete Biblical scroll sheet in Hebrew, a Torah scroll panel. Middle East, ca. 10th or 11th century.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Copernicus Refuted. (Astronomy.). Scientific manuscript of a course of studies at Collège de la Trinité, Lyon. 1660s.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Israel’s War of Independence and the Early Days of the IDF. 58 photographs presented to Israel Ber, IDF officer and later convicted spy.
    <b>19th Century Shop’s Catalog 170 Great Books and Photos. Please inquire for a copy.</b>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Early Unpublished Darwin letter on the races of man. Autograph Letter Signed [to Henry Denny]. Down, Kent, June 1, [1844].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Classic Image of American Slavery. Kimball, M. H. <i>Emancipated Slaves</i>. New York: George Hanks, 1863.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> (Underground Railroad.) Scaggs, Isaac. Important Runaway Slave Poster: $500 Reward Ran away, or decoyed from the subscriber…
  • <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Newton. <i>Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica</i>. London, 1687.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Josephus. <i>De antiquitate Judaica.</i> Lubeck, 1475-76.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Carlerius. <i>Sporta fragmentorum, Sportula fragmentorum</i>. Brussels, 1478-79.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Fridolin. <i>Der Schatzbehalter</i>. Nuremberg, 1491.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Pinder. <i>Der beschlossen gart des rosenkrantz marie</i>. Nuremberg, 1505.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Isidorus Hispalensis. <i>Synonyma de Homine</i>. Nuremberg, 1470-71.
    <b>Bonhams, inviting consignments for Sep 27:</b> Durer. Sammelband including <i>Underweysung der messing</i>. Nuremberg, 1525-29.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions