INDEX ANIMALIUM / Charles Davies Sherborn

 

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Epilogue by Charles Davies Sherborn

It is now forty-three years since I issued in Nature and La Feuille des Jeunes Naturalistes a scheme for an "Index Animalium" and received in reply letters approving that scheme from Professor J. Victor Carus and Professor Sven Lovén.

In the Introduction to this volume I gave an account of the financial assistance I had received during the progress of the work and that I here continue. The whole of this assistance since 1922 has come from the Trustees of the British Museum, who have made themselves responsible for the completion of the work.

1922-3 £140 1927-8 £225 1923-4 £140 1928-9 £225 1924-5 £200 1929-30 £225 1925-6 £225 1930-31 £225 1926-7 £225 1931-32 £250

This final volume of the Index Animalium for 1801-1850 contains a note of all books not listed in pp. xv-cxxxi of the Introduction and comprises also in its one alphabet the two separate additional lists published in February 1923 and May 1925 (parts II and VII) together with books examined since the later date.

It prints "Additamenta et Corrigenda" and under this section is included a great number of misspellings recorded in the valuable Nomenclator Animalium now being issued by the Berlin Academy. I decided against the inclusion of many of these obvious misspellings, which do not invalidate the originals, merely encumber literature and are moreover as frequently the errors of printers as of authors. Still on the whole they are apt to confuse even though perfectly obvious and I have therefore included them here (up to the end of the letter L) with any other corrigenda that have been kindly sent to me by many friends at home and abroad. As, however, it has not been possible for me to verify these entries I have given the authority for their occurrence, and references and dates must be verified by those who use them.

Then follows an "Index to Generic Names showing the trivial names associated with each from 1801-1850," those from 1758-1800 having appeared in my first volume. This has been a severe labour to prepare and type as owing to the frequent use of the same Generic word in various groups the disentanglement of the entries has been difficult. I therefore ask the indulgence of the reader for any errors. The Advantage of such a list of species will be clear to all and will I hope save much future labour.

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I gladly acknowledge the continued help afforded to me by those colleagues whose names I listed in my previous Introduction and to those may be added the following whose assistance has been of great value to me during these later years: J. Ardagh, G. J. Arrow, Maj. E. E. Austen, R. Baker, D. Bannerman, F. Barnett, W. E. Barnett, J. C. Battersby, H. A. Baylis, K. G. Blair, E. Browning, G. E. Bryant, M. Burton, E. A. R. Bush, W. E. China, G. W. F. Claxton, Prof. F. J. Cole, L. R. Cox, F. W. Edwards, W. J. Fox of Philadelphia, A. G. Gabriel, F. J. Griffin, L. Guillaume of Strasbourg, M. J. Hardy, Capt. A. F. Hemming, M. A. C. Hinton, A. S. Hirst, A. T. Hopwood, D. E. Kimmins, N. B. Kinnear, R. Kirkpatrick, F. Laing, W. D. Lang, J. R. Loewe of Berlin, Sir G. A. K. Marshall, C. C. A. Monro, G. H. G. Mower, J. J. Mugford, Baron Nopsca of Vienna, J. R. Norman, H. W. Parker, W. H. Perrett, C. Tate Regan, A. Reeley, F. Reeley, Capt. N. D. Riley, G. C. Robson, A. E. Salisbury, F. C. Sawyer, W. L. Sclater, H. Seely, G. A. Smith, G. F. H. Smith, B. H. Soulsby, H. Stringer, W. E. Swinton, W. H. T. Tams, H. D. Thomas, Capt. A. K. Totton, A. C. Townsend, H. B. Usher, B. P. Uvarov, J. C. Vickery, T. F. Vincent, J. Waterston, R. J. West, E. I. White, G. P. Whitley of Sydney, R. Winckworth, C. Wood.

Sir Sidney Harmer (Polyzoa), G. M. Mathews (Birds) and T. H. Withers (throughout), have read my proofs to my great satisfaction.

As regards the printers all I need say is that hundreds of pages have come to me without a typographical error and of the alterations made by me the bulk have been my own fancies, wrong alphabetical arrangements or additional matter. No words can sufficiently thank the compositors and readers of the Cambridge University Press for the exceptional care shown by them in interpreting my manuscript and I thank them heartily.

Now my work is finished it may be well to glance at the difficulties met with during its compilation. In any well-appointed Natural History Library there should be found every book and every edition of every book dealing in the remotest way with the subjects concerned. One never knows wherein one edition differs from or supplements the other and unless these are on the same table at the same time it is not possible to collate them properly. Moreover for accurate work it is necessary for the student to verify every reference he may find; it is not enough to copy from a previous author; he must verify each reference itself from the original. Bad work, for which there is little excuse, is only too common. This want of every book and every edition has been a serious hindrance and loss of time to me while working for over forty years in the British Museum (Natural History) and though I have acquired over a thousand volumes for the Libraries there, gaps still remain to be filled. On the whole one has met with a generous response, but the amused smile, real apathy, or the remark "we have no money" which invariably means heavier expenditure later on, have been encountered. In my experience true economy is only secured by immediate purchase when prices are reasonable, and it is false economy in money and in time from every point of view to listen for a moment to any financial argument when the purchase of books for scientific research in a National Institution is involved. And now that rotography has superseded photography as regards cost, a rare tract can be reproduced in a few hours and placed on its proper shelf in any Library for a few shillings.

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In conclusion I may add that the whole of my papers, Books of Reference and apparatus will remain at the Museum for my continuator and I trust that arrangements will be made for the permanent indexing of even current literature as the only true method of economizing the time of the working zoologist.

C. DAVIES SHERBORN

LONDON
March
, 1932

This project was funded by
the Atherton Seidell Endowment Fund of the Smithsonian Institution
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