Essential Works in Science and Medicine<br>From the 19th Century Shop
Less than a century earlier, the whole concept of genetic change was just starting to be understood. In 1859, Darwin published his book that would totally change our understanding of ourselves, On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection… This is a first edition of one of the most important and most controversial books ever published. Price on request. For a less monumental and more affordable Darwin publication, there’s his last book from 1881, The Formation of Vegetable Mould, Through the Action of Worms, with observations on their habits. $950.
Of incredible artistry is Andreas Cellarius’ A Collection of three Celestial Charts from 1660. These are three hand-colored engravings which chart the skies, including illustrations of many of the constellations. $17,500.
Increase Mather, and his even more famous son Cotton Mather, are generally remembered as leading figures among the Puritans at the unhappy time of witch hysteria. Mather, the senior, published Kometographia; or a Discourse Concerning Comets in 1683. It is one of the major American scientific imprints from its first century. In it, Mather tries to combine his scientific observations of comets with his fundamental religious beliefs. $18,000.
In 1878, Louis Pasteur published La Theorie des Germes et ses Applications a la Medicine… in a French journal. In this lecture Pasteur applied his theories of germs to practical medicine, warning that physicians should thoroughly clean their hands and sterilize their instruments. It’s hard to believe but there was a time when they would not have known to do so. $1,800. Also hard to imagine is medicine before Henry Jacob Bigelow’s Insensibility During Surgical Operations Produced by Inhalation. This reports on the discovery of ether, the first anesthetic. Surgery prior to anesthesia is not pleasant to contemplate. $7,000.
That’s enough books for now. We’ll close with something lighter, a dinner menu for $25,000. This one’s definitely not from Denny’s. It’s from the Century Plaza in Los Angeles and it comes from a special dinner on August 13, 1969. On that evening President Nixon hosted the three Apollo 11 astronauts who had recently returned from the first manned mission to the moon. They had returned on July 24 and promptly spent the next 18 days in quarantine. The menu is signed by all three of the astronauts and President Nixon, and is accompanied by an 8 x 10 photo of the Apollo that is signed by first man on the moon Neil Armstrong.
The 19th Century Shop is located on the web at www.19thcentury.com and can be reached by phone at 410-727-2665.