In 1989, SSAR issued the first volume in what became a series of three containing the biographies (with portraits and signatures) of 786 herpetologists from throughout the world. The biographies provide key details of each person’s life and education and their major contributions to herpetology and science generally, all written in an engaging style. Volume 1 has now been out-of-print for 15 years: rather than simply reprint it, the opportunity has been taken to correct errors and to add 110 pages of plates and other new material.
Volume 1 covers 152 herpetologists and includes most of the world leaders in the discipline. Their names are immediately familiar as authors of major works or as great teachers or explorers. Many species have been named in their honor.
Two sections – “Taxonomic Authors" by John Applegarth and "Doctoral Lineages" by Ronald Altig – were revised in volume 3 (2012), thus the versions in volume 1 are out-of-date and have been replaced in this new edition of volume 1 with 110 pages of new materials that supplement the biographies in the old edition of volume 1. These include original handwritten letters such as one by Linnaeus expressing his surprise at observing a siren for the first time. and another from a 20-year-old G. K. Noble. who had been a bird watcher, exclaiming his conversion: “l am a real honest-to-goodness herpetologist."
There are 60 plates (52 in full color) from classical herpetological books, many of them titles that are locked away in rare book rooms and hardly ever seen by most herpetologists. The plates have extensive captions that contain much new and important information, including details about the outstanding artists. All portraits from the 1989 edition have been scanned with modem laser technology for much improved quality of reproduction. A section of corrections and additions to volumes 2 and 3 is added, together with a number of portraits that had been missing from the series. A new comprehensive index, with more than 5,000 entries, covers the entire series including all the many new persons added in the revisions to volume 1.