I am embarrassed to say I did not even know that the American Museum of Natural History had a research library, and within it an impressive rare book collection. Library Director Tom Baione has put together a sumptuously designed and illustrated selection highlighting some of the historically important books in the collection, matched with short essays by museum staffers, many key scientists in their respective fields who still consult these works. The publisher, Sterling, has smartly boxed the book with 40 ready-to-frame 8.5 x 11 reproductions of these magnificent woodblock, intaglio, and lithographic classics of science. (More than a few are tattoo-ready, too!) Here’s one from Moses Harris’s An Exposition of English Insects (1782)On the other hand, the publisher seems a bit cagey about spreading these images on the ‘net, so I’ve tried my hand at reproducing a couple more, because they are so damn beautiful:Top: J.F.W. Herbst, Versuch einer Naturgeschicte des Krabben and Krebse… (1799) Bottom: Conrad Gessner, Historia Animalium (1551-58). See what I mean by tattoo inspiration?
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This work by Matthew Wills is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.