Happy Marmota Monax Day!

These critters, otherwise known as woodchucks or groundhogs, may be found in the Libraries' collections in the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History and the Biodiversity Heritage Library. No word yet whether these volumes cast a long shadow or not . . . —Elizabeth Periale

A Second Look Uncovers a First Edition: a Manuscript Page from Darwin’s Origin of Species

Within the span of about a month, the Dibner Library received two separate inquiries about our lone manuscript page from the draft of the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. His popularity is unsurprising, especially during this anniversary year: 2009 is the year Darwin would have been 200, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his Origin of Species, events which are being actively commemorated here. One inquiry was from a gentleman named Milton D. Forsyth, Jr., who has been tracking down all extant leaves of the first draft of the Origin within his reach; the other from David Kohn, Director and General Editor of the American Museum of Natural History’s Darwin Manuscripts Project (currently called the Darwin Digital Library of Evolution, a project linked to the Biodiversity Heritage Library). Both were seeking pages of the original draft, so I was disappointed to see the note on the back by Darwin’s daughter Henrietta Litchfield, describing the page as containing “the passage… from Chapter VII, p 264 of 5th edn, 1869…” more »

2009 Collections Highlights

The Libraries' Cullman Library has acquired some new and interesting items this year. Here we highlight one of them: Leopold Trattinnick's Die essbaren Schwamme des Oesterreichischen Kaiserstaates.  [Edible fungi of the Austro-Hungarian Empire]  Vienna, Trieste, 1809. This was acquired by the Libraries in April of this year.  Trattinnick (1764-1849) was a wealthy Austrian botanist and curator at the k.k. Hof-Naturaliencabinette from 1809 to 1835.  He contributed to the study of plant taxonomy and systematics; one of his earliest publications was on classification—Genera planatarum method naturali disposita (Vienna, 1802)—and, among other things, he named the genus Hosta after his contemporary Nicolaus Thomas Host (1761-1834).  Several of his publications are sumptuously illustrated works on the botany of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, including the present work focusing on his specialty in mycology (fungi). Beautifully illustrated, Die essbaren Schwamme des Osterreichischen Kaiserstaates contains 30 hand-colored plates, unsigned; a second edition, apparently with the same plates but a revised text, was published in 1830.  This edition is held by only eight libraries in the United States more »

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