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Heralds of Science

In 1955 Bern Dibner, the noted science book collector and founder of the Burndy Library, published Heralds of Science as Represented by Two Hundred Epochal Books and Pamphlets Selected from the Burndy Library. Two things combined to inspire him to prepare this list. The first was the 500th anniversary of the invention of printing from moveable type ascribed to Johannes Gutenberg dating from approximately 1455. The second was a small exhibition, “First Editions in the History of Science,” prepared at the Library of the University of California in 1934 for the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. One hundred and fourteen works were selected by the physiologist and book collector Herbert McLean Evans and the list was published in a small pamphlet, Exhibition of First Editions of Epochal Achievements in the History of Science (Berkeley, Ca.: University of California Press, 1934). Evans exhibition included many of the great works of mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, botany, and zoology. In his introduction, Evans stated that, “by consulting the first form of a scientific achievement…one can hope to observe the origin and change of ideas. But, more than this, it may be maintained that one cannot adequately understand any scientific subject without knowledge of the manner in which our present conceptions were established.”

More about the Heralds...

Browse the titles in the Heralds of Science collection using the categories on the left.

At this time, only select titles have associated digital images. We will gradually be putting up more images as they are scanned.