Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2005 Issue

American Natural History from William Reese

R0611

American Natural History from William Reese.


By Michael Stillman

This month, the William Reese Company has issued its 239th catalogue, "American Natural History." These are primarily North American items from the 18th and 19th centuries, although many were printed in Europe, the work of foreign explorers and visitors come to the New World. Many of the books are illustrated, and while these illustrations were intended to depict various flora and fauna unknown to their reader, they have effectively become works of art. We can substitute photographs for Audubon's drawings of birds for scientific examination, but those images will never be quite the same as Audubon's.

Item 48 recounts one of the most important scientific voyages undertaken, though it may not have been clear at the time. It is the 1839 four-volume set Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle, Between the Years 1826 and 1836.... Robert Fitzroy, who commanded the voyage, edited the set. However, it is the third volume that is most interesting. This contains the observations of Charles Darwin, who served on the Beagle. A separate edition of just the third volume was published later in the year to meet demand for Darwin's work. It was the observations he made on this voyage that would lead to Darwin's revolutionary "Origin of the Species" a few years down the road. Priced at $25,000.

Logging of public forests is an important concern today, but it is hardly a new one. Here is a broadside from Jacksonville, dated Sept. 29, 1842, signed by H.L. Thistle, a federal agent for preserving timber on public land in East Florida. The broadside is headed, An Act to Provide for the Punishment of Offences Committed in Cutting, Destroying, or Removing Live Oak and Other Timber or Trees.... The scheme that Thistle evidently uncovered involved large contractors importing many men, ostensibly coming as settlers. However, their real purposes was to gain dominion to the tracts of land, so as to turn it over to the contractors for logging. As Thistle said, the contractors, "under the name of the settlers would take millions and millions of dollars worth of timber from public lands...." Perhaps we could use Agent Thistle today. Item 59. $1,750.

Another early environmental report is found in the 1880 Special Report of New York State Survey of the Preservation of the Scenery of Niagara Falls. This report by James T. Gardiner calls on the state to buy land surrounding the Falls to protect them from "defacements" and "repulsive scenery" resulting from development. Included is a five-page endorsement of the report by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead and nine photographs of the Falls by George Barker. Item 63. $675.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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.
  • <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>

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions