geology - 14 titles

Author:  Eratosthenes
Title/Imprint: Phainomena kai Diosēmeia
147, [13], 69 p., 2 fold. leaves of plates : ill., diagrs., music ; 20 cm; E. Theatro Sheldoniano: Oxford , 1672

Eratosthenes, a director of the great Library at Alexandria, is best rememberd for his calculation of the circumference of the Earth. He did this by noticing the difference in the angles of shadows cast by gnomons at Alexandria and Syene. His result is remarkably close to our modern value. This work is based on a manuscript containing fragments of texts by Eratosthenes and others and was edited and annotated by John Fell of Oxford. It was printed as a supplement to a larger work by Aratus, Solensis, Phainomena kai Diosēmeia. Our copy has the provenance: John Loveday (pencilled notes).


Author:  Christopher Columbus (1451-1506)
Title/Imprint: The The letter of Columbus on the discovery of America. A facsimile of the pictorial edition, with a new and literal translation, and a complete reprint of the oldest four editions in Latin
xiii p., 1 l., 10 numb. l., 1 l., 61 p. incl. illus., facsim. 20 cm; De Vinne Press: New York , 1892

In April 1493, shortly after Columbus's return to Spain from his first voyage to the New World, a copy of his letter announcing the results of his travels was printed in Barcelona. Only one copy is now known to exist of this first printing and it resides at the New York Public Library. This work is a facsimile of the 1493 letter and was printed in 1892. This printing contains an introduction by Wilberforce Eames (p. v-xiii).


Author:  Georg Agricola (1494-1555)
Title/Imprint: De re metallica libri XII (On metallurgy)
[12], 538 (i.e. 502), [74] p. woodcut illus. (part fold.) 35 cm; Hieron Frobenium et Nicolaum Episcopium: Basel , 1556

Agricola (his German name was Georg Bauer) is generally regarded as the "father of mineralogy." This work was published posthumously and his Agricola's magnum opus. It conains many details of mining and metallurgy and its illustrations give us a vivid picture of the state of mining in the sixteenth century.
Our copy has "ICD/1559" tooled on the front cover.

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Author:  Lazarus Ercker (d.1594)
Title/Imprint: Beschreibung allerfürnemisten mineralischen Ertzt vnnd Berckwercks arten
[4], CXXXX, [6] l. : ill. ; 31 cm. (fo.); Georgen Schwartz: Prague , 1574

Ercker's great work is reminiscent of Agricola's De re metallica in its graphics and descriptions of early mining and metallurgy. Only two copies of this edition exist in the Americas and it contains useful information on assaying, refining metals, and extraction of many different compounds.
Imprint from colophon: Gedruckt zu Prag inn der alten Stadt durch Georgen Schwartz, 1574.
The pagination differs from that described in Heralds of Science 89. Signatures: *4 A-2M4 2N6.
Illustrated title page in red and black.
Our copy is bound with: Publication der newen Pergwerks Vergleichung im Königreich Behem, anno M.D.LXXV. [Prague] : Bey Michael Peterle von Danna, 1575.
Our co[y is bound in vellum leaves of unidentified Latin biblical commentary in ms., rubricated and illuminated in red and blue. It has a bookplate: Ex libris Denis Duveen.


Author:  Nicolaus Steno (1638-1686)
Title/Imprint: De solido intra solidvm natvraliter contento dissertationis prodromvs
1 p. l., 78 p., 1 l. fold. diagr. 24 cm; Ex typographia sub signo stellae: Florence , 1669

Steno (Niels Stensen) was trained as a physician and in 1665 became the doctor to Grand Duke Ferdinand II in Florence. While in Tuscany he studied the local geology and came to the conclusion that the strata of the Earth's crust tell a chronological story of its formation. He surmised that horizontal strata were caused by sedimentation while more vertical strata were due to violent upheavals. In this work he also asserted that fossils were the remains of ancient living organisms.
The plate is preceded by a folded leaf with descriptive letterpress. Vignette on t.-p.
Signatures: [*]1 A-K4.
Our copy is bound with: Redi, F. Esperienze intorno alla generazione degl' insetti. Firenze, 1668.


Author:  Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749-1817)
Title/Imprint: Von den äusserlichen Kennzeichen der Fossilien
302, [2] p., [1] folded leaf of plates ; 18 cm. (8vo); Siegfried Lebrecht Crusius: Leipzig , 1774

Werner was the champion of a geological theory known as Neptunism, in which he believed that all all minerals precipitated out of water. Neptunists were opposed to believers of Vulcanism, a theory that espoused the igneous origin of rocks.


Author:  René Just Haüy (1743-1822)
Title/Imprint: Essai d'une théorie sur la structure des crystaux
[8], 236 p., VIII folded leaves of plates : ill. ; 22 cm. (8vo); Gogué & Née de la Rochelle: Paris , 1784

Haüy is regarded by many as the founder of the science of crystallography. In this work he published his first theory of the structure of crystals.
Colophon: De l'imprimerie de Demonville, 1783. Title vignette. Includes index.


Author:  James Hutton (1726-1797)
Title/Imprint: Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, vol.1
p. [209]-304, 2 leaves of plates : ill. ; 28 cm. (4to); Edinburgh , 1788

In this article, Hutton expounded his observations that led him to his belief in Uniformitarianism, the theory that the Earth's crust is due to geological process that occur pretty much uniformly over very long periods of time. This publication marked a turning point in geology as uniformitarianism became the dominant paradigm.
Issued as the tenth article in v. 1 of the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. "Read March 7. and April 4. 1785." The plates, which are accompanied by a leaf of letterpress description, are signed: J. Baine del. et inci.; D. Lizars sculp.
Contents: Part I. Prospect of the subject to be treated of -- Part II. An investigation of the natural operations employed in consolidating the strata of the globe -- Part III. Investigation of the natural operations employed in the production of land above the surface of the sea -- Part IV. System of decay and renovation observed in the earth.
Our copy has a manuscript ink inscription on front paste-down endpaper: X. IX. 31. Sion College Library, from the Stationers' Company; stamp on verso of title page: Sion College Library, sold by order of the president and governors, 1938. It has an old full leather binding; re-backed. The plates for the article and their descriptive letterpress are bound in after p. 304.


Author:  William Smith (1769-1847)
Title/Imprint: Strata identified by organized fossils
[4], 22 p., [19] leaves of plates : ill., port. ; 33 cm; Printed by W. Arding ..., and sold by the author ..., J. Sowerby ..., Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, and Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown ...,: London , 1816-19

These volumes were the beginnings of an unfinished series in which Smith demonstrated that different geological strata contained different sets of fossils. By looking for specific fossils, Smith (considered the "father of stratigraphy") could track specific strata over a large geographic area.
The back cover of page 1 reads: "this work will be comprised in seven numbers" although actually issued in only 4 pts.: June 1, 1816; October 1, 1816; September 1, 1817; and 1819. Our copy has all four pts. bound in 1 volume, paged continuously. The plates are hand-colored. A duplicate of pt. 4 and original blue paper covers are bound-in.


Author:  Adolphe Brongniart (1801-1876)
Title/Imprint: Histoire des végétaux fossiles, ou, Recherches botaniques et géologiques sur les végétaux renfermés dans les diverses couches du globe
2 v., [201] leaves of plates (26 folded) : ill. ; 31 cm; Chez G. Dufour et Ed. d'Ocagne ...,: Paris & Amsterdam , 1828-37

Brongniart, the founder of modern paleobotany, classified fossil plants into categories and made connections between them and existing plants. This allowed him to make useful observations on the modifications of plant forms well before Darwin's theory of evolution came into being.
Tome II has imprint: A Paris : Crochard et compie ..., 1837.
Plate numbering for t. 1 is slightly irregular: 2 plates numbered 34 but no plate 36; numbers 9 bis, 37 bis, 61 bis, 82A, and 82B inserted in the sequence 1-166. Of t. II only the first livraison (p. 1-72. 30 pl.) was published.
In our copy, plates 27 and 29, t. 2, are wanting. Gathering 37-61 (p. 289-488), t. 1, is bound at the beginning of t.2; plates 91-166, t. 1, are bound in t. 2 between the end of text of t. 2 and t. 2 plates 1-30. The prospecus (11, [1] p.) is bound in after p. 288, t. 1


Author:  Charles, Sir Lyell (1797-1875)
Title/Imprint: Principles of geology : being an attempt to explain the former changes of the earth's surface, by reference to causes now in operation
3 v., [12] leaves of plates (2 folded) : ill., maps ; 23 cm; John Murray: London , 1830-33

Lyell's classic work developed Huttons uniformitarian theory and brought it into full acceptance by geologists. Through a mass of facts, Lyell demonstrated that natural processes that occur on Earth today are sufficient to explain how the Earth's crust came to be in its current condition. He also argued that, since these processes work so slowly, the geological development of the Earth has taken an immense amount of time.
On verso of the title pages: London : Printed by William Clowes ...
Appendices: I. Tables of fossil shells by Monsieur G. P. Deshayes -- II. Lists of fossil shells chiefly collected by the author in Sicily and Italy, named by M. Deshayes.
Some plates are hand-colored.


Author:  Roderick Impey, Sir Murchison (1792-1871)
Title/Imprint: The Silurian system : founded on geological researches in the counties of Salop, Hereford, Radnor, Montgomery, Caermarthen, Brecon, Pembroke, Monmouth, Gloucester, Worcester, and Stafford
2 v., (xxxii, 768 p.), [55] leaves of plates (11 folded) : ill., maps + 1 portfolio (3 folded col. maps) ; 33 cm; John Murray: London , 1839

Murchison's study of Welsh stratigraphy resulted in this work, in which he established a coherent grouping of geological formations found elsewhere into one system, which he named the Silurian system (after a local Welsh tribe). His Silurian sytem was eventually split up into three geolgical periods: the Cambrian, Ordovician, and Silurian periods.
List of subscribers is on p. [vii]-xii.


Author:  Louis Agassiz (1807-1873)
Title/Imprint: Études sur les glaciers
3 p. l., v, 346 p., 1 l. 26 cm. and atlas of 18 pl. 46 cm; Jent et Gassmann: Neuchâtel , 1840

In 1836, Agassiz began studying the glaciers in his native Switzerland and built a hut upon the Aar glacier to study its movements and structure. In this important work, Agassiz demonstrated that Switzerland had at one time been covered by one vast ice sheet similar to those in Greenland today.
Plates 1-14 are each preceded by a leaf with an outline drawing of objects represented, lettered 1a-14a. Atlas has illustrated cover-title: Études sur les glaciers, par L. Agassiz. Dessinés d'aprés natureet lithographiés par Jph. Bettannier 1840. Neuchâtel, Lithographie de H. Nicolet.


Author:  Eduard Suess (1831-1914)
Title/Imprint: Das Antlitz der Erde
3 v. in 4, [24] leaves of plates (8 folded) : ill., maps (some col.) ; 29 cm.; F. Tempsky ; G. Freytag: Prague ; Leipzig , 1883-1909

Suess' great treatise took twenty-four years to publish and it marks the beginnings of paleogeography and the concept of what we now call plate tectonics. Suess expounded on the structure and evolution of the Earth's crust and even suggested that the African rift valleys are places where the crust is moving outwards.
The index at the end of v. 3, pt. 2 has a separate title page: Namens-und Sachregister für sämtliche Bände von Eduard Suess Antlitz der Erde / bearbeitet von Dr. Lukas Waagen ...
Imprint varies: v. 2 and 3 include Wien : F. Tempsky.