This book is in the form of a gallery guide to a remarkable exhibit of illustrated herpetological books dating from the 16th to the 20th centuries. It results from a display arranged by the Kenneth Spencer Research Library of the University of Kansas on the occasion of the 1996 SSAR meeting held at the university. Books such as these, many of which have exquisitely handcolored illustrations by some of the greatest natural history artists, are today kept under lock and key in institutional libraries and therefore are scarcely known to most herpetologists, but the enthusiasm of the SSAR conference goers for the Kansas exhibit has encouraged us to make this printed version available. The author, Sally Haines, Associate Special Collections Librarian at the Spencer Library, is in charge of the natural history collections.
The bulk of this volume consists of full-color reproductions of illustrations from classic works together with extensive captions containing information about the authors, the artists, and the books. It is an iconography of herpetology and an essential part of the history of the field.
Some of the earliest books represented in this volume are by Pliny, Abbatius, Topsell, Seba, Linnaeus, and Rösel von Rosenhof, with later ones by Daudin, Rüppell, Bonaparte, Schlegel, and Fayrer, among many others. There is a special section on books about the Western Hemisphere, including works by Sloane, Catesby, Bartram, Spix, Holbrook, Cuvier, and Agassiz. The final section, on herps as symbol, includes religious manuscripts, sea serpents, astronomical atlases, and even illustrations from the works of John Milton, Mark Twain, and Walt Kelly. Included is a detailed listing of all illustrated herpetological works in the Spencer Library, which holds one of the great collections of natural history books. This volume represents a veritable treasure trove of some of the finest illustrations of amphibians and reptiles ever produced in book form and extensive bibliographic information about them.
- Myth versus Reality: the Challenge of Illustrating Amphibians and Reptiles, by Kraig Adler
- Part I - Herpetology to 1758: The Pre-Linnaean Period
- Part II - Herpetology after 1758: Beyond Linnaeus
P-art III - West of Eden: New World Herps
- Part IV - The Seven Deadly Sins and other Evils: Herps as Symbol
- References to Historical and Biographical Works
- List of All Illustrated Herpetological Works in the Spencer Library
- Chronological Index to Illustrated Herpetological Works in the Spencer Library
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