Buckland, William, 1784-1856.
Reliquiae diluvianae; or, Observations on the Organic Remains Contained in Caves, Fissures, and Diluvial Gravel, and on Other Geological Phenomena, Attesting the Action of an Universal Deluge. London: J. Murray, 1823.
William Buckland was an English theologian who became one of the leading geologists and palaeontologists of his era. Charles Lyell was a student of Buckland’s at Oxford. Buckland was reknowned for using modern scientific anyalysis in his research. His most important research findings are presented in Reliquiae diluvianae in which he concludes a global deluge must have occurred at some point in the past, but he was not a supporter of the Biblical account of the flood. Instead he argued that only a small amount of the strata could have been formed in the single year occupied by the deluge. This illustration depicts some of the artifacts he discovered during his exploration of Kirkland Cave which contained a prehistoric hyena den. Buckland's analysis of Kirkland Cave and other bone caves was widely seen as a model for how careful analysis could be used to reconstruct the Earth's past, and the Royal Society awarded Buckland the Copley Medal in 1822 for his paper on Kirkdale Cave.
Dana, James Dwight, 1813-1895.
Manual of Geology: Treating of the Principles of the Science, with Special Reference to American Geological History, for the Use of Colleges, Academies, and Schools of Science. Philadelphia: Bliss & Co.; London: Trübner & Co., 1863.
James Dwight Dana was an American geologist, mineralogist, volcanologist, and zoologist. He made pioneering studies of mountain-building, volcanic activity, and the origin and structure of continents and oceans around the world. James Dwight Dana was the foremost American geologist of the nineteenth century. His Manual of Geology went through four editions during Dana's lifetime and remained an influential textbook for generations of geologists.
White, Gilbert, 1720-1793.
The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne, in the County of Southampton: to which Are Added, the Naturalist's Calendar, Observations on Various Parts of Nature, and Poems. London: Printed for White, Cochrane ..., 1813.
Gilbert White was the curate of the village of Selborne in Hampshire, England. He was a fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, but from his youth was fascinated by nature and recorded his detailed observations of the flora, fauna, geology, and landscape of Selborne. His work led him to correspond with several other natural philosophers and antiquarians and his letters were eventually edited and compiled in The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne. Originally published in 1789, the book has continually been in print since its first publication and helped establish the genre of nature-writing in English. Gilbert White’s commitment to close observation was pioneering and influenced generations of natural historians and scientists including Charles Darwin.
Cole, John, 1792-1848.
The History and Antiquities of Filey: in the County of York. Scarborough: Printed and published by J. Cole, 1828.
John Cole was an English bookseller and antiquary. A prolific author who wrote more than seventy books, he was active in Northamptonshire and Yorkshire. Unable to make a success in various lines of business, he died in poverty. This book is his extremely rare natural history of Filey and this copy is one of a small number printed on blue paper.
Werner, Abraham Gottlob, 1749-1817.
Abraham Gottlob Werner's Letztes Mineral-System: aus dessen Nachlasse auf oberbergamtliche Anordnung herausgegeben und mit Erläuterungen versehen. Freyberg; Und Wien: bey Craz und Gerlach, und bey Carl Gerold, 1817.
Abraham Gottlob Werner was a German geologist who set out an early theory about the stratification of the Earth's crust and developed an earth history that became known as “Neptunism” in which he argued that rocks had formed from the crystallization of minerals in the early Earth's oceans. This third and final edition of Werner’s influential mineral system was published posthumously.
Bonardo, Giovanni Maria, conte.
La minera del mondo. In Venetia: Appresso Fabio, & Agostino Zoppini Fratelli, 1589.
This work, which is usually translated as Riches of the World, typifies the early efforts at writing natural history based on classical sources and myths rather than from observation or first-hand accounts. Bonardo’s text reads like a book of legends tales rather than the collections of facts which they puroprted to be. This passage is typical:
On the top of Mount Palombra there is a wonderful fountain and those that drink of its waters will never feel pain of any sort for as long as they live and will also preserve their youthful appearance forever...In the copper forges of Cyprus a feathered four-legged beast comes flying from the flames.
This copy of La Minera del mondo contains extensive notes in a contemporary hand.
Mercati, Michele, 1541-1593.
Michaelis Mercati Samminiatensis Metallotheca: opus posthumum, auctoritate & munificentia Clementis undecimi pontificis maximi e tenebris in lucem eductum: opera autem & studio Joannis Mariæ Lancisii archiatri pontificii illustratum. Rome: Ex officina Jo.: Mariæ Salvioni ..., 1717.
Michele Mercati was a physician who served as the Director of the Vatican Botanical Garden under Popes Pius V, Gregory XIII, Sixtus V, and Clement VIII. He was a pioneer in paleontology, and one of the first scholars to identify prehistoric stone tools as human-made at a time when they were generally considered the product of lightning. Mercati’s interest in natural history, mineralogy, palaeontology, medicine, and botany led him to write his magnum opus on these topics titled the Metallotheca; however, it was not published until 1717, more than a century after his death.
Shepard, Charles Upham, 1804-1886.
Treatise on Mineralogy. New Haven: Hezekiah Howe, 1832.
Charles Upham Shepard was one of America's earliest mineralogists. Following his graduation from Amherst College in 1824, he held academic positions at a number of American universities, including Yale, the Medical College of Charleston, South Carolina, and eventually his alma mater Amherst. Shepard was an enthusiastic collector of minerals, meteorites, fossils, shells, and plants and his collection eventually enriched a number of public institutions. This is the first edition of his important Treatise on Minerology.
Bonnet, Charles, 1720-1793.
Betrachtung über die Natur. Leipzig: Johann Friedrich Junius, 1766.
Charles Bonnet was a French philosopher and naturalist. His best known and most popular work, Contemplation de la nature (Amsterdam, 1764–1765), was translated quickly into Italian, English, Dutch, and in this German edition. In the Contemplation, Bonnet sets forth his theory that all the beings in nature form a gradual scale rising from lowest to highest, without any break in its continuity. But although he at times seems to be anticipation the theory of evolution, his ideas are clearly grounded in Christian belief as this passage from the Contemplation demonstrates:
"Between the lowest and the most elevated degrees of corporeal or spiritual perfection there is an almost infinite number of intermediate degrees. The series of these degrees composes the Universal Chain. It unites all beings, links the whole world, embraces all spheres. A single Being alone is outside of this chain, and that is He who made it."
Thiene, Gaetano, 1387–1465.
Habes solertissime lector in hoc codice libros Metheoro[rum] Aristotelis stragirite peripathetico[rum] principis cu[?] co[m?]mentarus fidelissimi expositoris Gaietani de Thienis nouiter ipressos: ac medis erroribus[que] purgatos: tractatum de reactione, et tractatu[m] de intensione [et] remissione eiusdem Gaietani, questiones perspicacissimi philosophi Thimonis super quattuor libros metheoro[rum]. [Venice: B. Locatellus for the heirs of O. Scoto, 1507].
Gaetano da Thiene was a Renaissance philosopher and physician who was born and lived in Padua. This work is the earliest printed commentary on Aristotle’s important natural history text Metheoro, which is better know today as the Mineralogica. This copy of the book contains numerous autograph annotations in the margins.
Leonardi, Camillo, fl. 1502.
Speculum lapidum clarissimi artium et medicine doctoris Camilli Leonardi pisaurensis ... Impressum Venetiis: Per Melchiorem Sessam & Petrum de Rauanis sociis, 1516, Die. 20, mensis Nouembris.
In this famous lapidary, originally published in 1502 as the first book printed in moveable type on the subject of precious stones, Leonardi classifies over 250 types of hard gems and stones according to their color, hardness, porosity, weight and transparency. Lapidaries are texts which provide detailed information about the properties and virtues of precious and semi-precious stones. Lapidaries were very popular in the Middle Ages, when belief in the inherent power of gems for various purposes was widely held, and among the wealthy collecting jewels was often an obsession, as well as a popular way to store and transport capital. A third of the book is devoted to an alphabetical listing and description of particular stones, while another third is occupied with astrological and magical images carved on gems and their occult significance. The author, who was physician to Caesar Borgia, gathered his materials from many of the older sources, but he shows some familiarity with the newer methods of study which were about to be advocated by Agricola and his followers, in that he covers certain physical properties of minerals.