David Young: Acquiring the Friedrich Tippmann Collection


Documenting Science Through Journals

Journal articles are an integral form of scientific discourse and the most common form of scientific communication. As a scientist himself, Tippmann recognized the importance of the journal, and he presciently collected it in its early forms as it related first to general zoology, and later to entomology. His collection contains some of the earliest and rarest entomological periodicals.

One can trace the evolution of science through its periodicals. The history of the scientific journal goes back to the seventeenth century and is linked to the origination of the scientific societies created in the mid-1600s. The first scientific journals were the French Journal des Sçavans and the British Philosophical Transactions, both published in the year 1665. These early general science publications gave rise to more specialized journals, which focused first on the natural sciences, then on narrower disciplines such as zoology. By the early to mid-1800s, journals devoted to specific subdisciplines such as entomology were published. Along side of the more scholarly publications of the learned societies, popular science journals exploded onto the Victorian cultural scene by the mid-1800s. Science became an integral part of business, education and society during the Victorian period. Popular science journals were lucrative endeavors, and more than 60 percent of periodicals launched during the Victorian period were published by commercial publishers rather than scientific societies. There were approximately 100 science journals in existence before 1800; this number grew to 1,000 by 1850 and to 10,000 by 1900. Journals continue to play a vital role in science and continue to evolve in that role. As with other modes of information dissemination, journals have made the technological leap from paper to virtual form. Many full-text journals are now available online, and some are only available digitally.

Frontispiece from volume 1  of "An Die Zürcherische Jugend."An Die Zürcherische Jugend. [Zurich: Naturforschende Gesellschaft], 1799-1870.

This children's publication of the Natural History Society of Zurich was published annually. Each issue consisted of approximately five to ten pages and was accompanied by one or two elaborate engravings, often hand-colored. Literature intended specifically for children did not exist as a genre until the early to mid-1700s. This is an early and rare example of a popular scientific publication for children.

The frontispiece for volume 1 depicts an aristocratic gentleman teaching his children about the natural sciences. Behind him is a Wunder-kammer, or curiosity cabinet, along with entomological specimens and artwork depicting natural phenomena. Natural history enjoyed a long association with polite society, from the Renaissance through the Victorian period. Aristocrats and gentle society of the eighteenth century considered a curiosity cabinet a necessary furnishing for the affluent home. These cabinets, assembled by amateurs and expressive of individual taste, often consisted of minerals, gemstones, shells, coins, insect specimens, exotic flora, and zoological specimens. Some collectors gathered their own specimens, but many were purchased from a thriving market in exotic goods.

Title page from "Der Naturforscher."Der Naturforscher. Halle: J.J. Gebauer, 1774-1804. v.11-12.

Plate from "Der Naturforscher."Der Naturforscher distinguishes itself among the early science periodicals because it was one of the first to publish a significant number of original contributions, as opposed to duplicating or reprinting from other sources. It was also the first to limit itself to natural science. The title page vignette shows a gentleman receiving papers from cherubs who are depicted observing and collecting zoological and botanical specimens. The folding plate, a hand-colored engraving of minerals and gemstones, is a typical illustration in a late eighteenth century journal.


Magazin für die Liebhaber der Entomologie. Zürich: bey dem Herausgeber und bey Heinrich Steiner, 1778-1779.

This journal was aimed at amateur entomologists. The title translates to "Magazine for Entomology Lovers." Amateurs played an important role in the development of the sciences. The profession of scientist did not viably exist until the mid-1800s. Gentleman scholars, who could afford to finance their interests or who secured a benefactor to support their collecting and research, completed much of the early work in the disciplines of biology and botany. A few entomology clubs or societies were formed by the late 1700s, and entomology proved even more popular in the nineteenth century. These eighteenth century amateurs were often quite sophisticated in their knowledge of entomology.

"Faunus."Faunus. Zeitschrift für Zoologie und vergleichende Anatomie. München : Lindauer'sche Verlagsbuch-handlung, 1832-1837.

A rare journal, only five institutions in the United States record owning copies of Faunus. The pages shown here are advertisements, which list books, specimens, and exotic natural history collections for sale, as well as subscriptions to newly published scientific works. The travelers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries knew the market for exotic specimens was very active and lucrative, and they brought back exotic natural history items to sell from their voyages. One advertisement shown here sought to sell a specimen collection, arranged according to Latreille's system, consisting of 600 specimens--478 of which are insects from Germany, France Italy, Spain, America and Africa--in 8 locked cabinets for the price of 2 Karolin.


"ACTA Societatis Regiae Scientiarum Upsaliensis."Acta Societatis Regiae Scientiarum Upsaliensis. Stockholm: Laurentii Salvii, 1740-1750.

Acta Societatis Regia Scientiarum Upsaliensis, or the proceedings of the Royal Scientific Society of Uppsala, is representative of a major subset of periodicals, the official proceedings or transactions of a society. It contains original articles and abstracts, announces upcoming natural phenomena of interest, such as eclipses, and encompasses all aspects of the sciences. Published in Latin, the scientific lingua franca of the period, this article discusses the use of electricity to treat rheumatism. Opposite is the table of contents, which shows an article by Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778), the Swedish-born naturalist, who was a regular contributor to the publication. Also featured is an engraved plate typical of the journals of this period.


Title page from the "Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society. Zoology."Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society. Zoology. London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longman & Roberts, and Williams and Norgate,1857-1864.

James Edward Smith bought Linnaeus' personal library and collections and used them to found the Linnean Society of London in 1788, whose mission was to further the pursuit of the study of natural history. The zoology section of the Linnean Society, established in 1822, represents one of many such splinter societies that formed in the early 1800s from the larger, more general scientific societies. The Linnean Society was an important vehicle for the dissemination of scientific knowledge in the natural sciences. In 1858, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace presented their theory of natural selection to the Linnean Society.

Transactions of the Entomological Society of London. London: The Society, 1834-1932.

Further specialization continued within the disciplines of the natural sciences. The Entomological Society of London was the first modern entomological society of its kind. Other societies and clubs had been formed prior to this, including the first Aurelian Society in 1742, but these included only a handful of members who were gentleman collectors. Forged from a number of these previous entomological societies dating back to the mid-eighteenth century, the Entomology Society of London later became the Royal Entomological Society. The Society's Transactions are the first official organ of an organization devoted specifically to entomology. Often early serials have stunning hand-colored engravings, such as the one displayed here, or beautifully executed chromolithographs.

Entomologische Zeitung. Stettin: Becker & Altendorff'sche Buchhandlung, 1840-1914.

The Entomologische Verien zu Stettin was the first German entomological society. This volume shows a characteristic Tippmann binding in quarter bound cloth with marbled paper boards.


Index Introduction David Young Friedrich Tippmann Pre-Linnean Works Linneaus
Victorian Interest in Natural History Voyages and Travels Virtual Exhibits Special Collections Research Center NCSU Libraries Sponsored by Aventis


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