NCSU Library Exhibits

Recent Acquisitions in NCSU's Special Collections, 1999

Recent Acquisitions in NCSU's Special Collections, 1999

The NCSU Libraries' Special Collections Research Center has been busy acquiring new manuscript collections, archival materials, and rare books during the 1998-1999 fiscal year. These volumes represent the types of rare books the Research Center has purchased and include some of the highlights for the year. Collection purchases focused on main collecting areas such as engineering, architecture, design, and history of science, in particular entomology, forestry and science education. New acquisitions totaled over 550 books for the year.

Jablonsky, Carl Gustav & Herbst, J. F. W. Natursystem aller bekannten in-und auslandischen Insecten, als eine Fortsetzung der von Buffonschen Naturgeschichte. Nach dem System des Ritters Carl von Linne bearbeitet: Kafer. Berlin: J. Pauli, 1785-1806. 10 volumes.

hand colored plate featuring six bugs from NatursystemJablonsky's Natursystem is one of the first attempts at a complete survey of the order Coleoptera, which includes insects such as beetles, borers, weevils, and fireflies. Carl Gustav Jablonsky (1756-1787) was a naturalist who was also private secretary to the queen of Prussia. Jablonsky died unexpectedly at the age of 31, and the writing and editing of the text fell to a colleague, Johann F. W. Herbst (1743-1807), a German naturalist and entomologist.

Macer, Floridus (Odo de Meung). De viribus herbarum. Herbarum varias qui cognoscere vires. Paris: Bacquelier, ca. 1515.

frontispiece from De viribus herbarumMacer's text was one of the most important and popular general botanical texts of the medieval period, and its influence on botanical pharmacy and therapeutics is said to have stretched from the 11th century to the Renaissance. It describes the medicinal properties of 77 herbs and is written in Latin hexameter, a poetic verse form that was most likely employed as a mnemonic device for physicians and midwives. The herbal is supposed to have been first written between 1070 and 1112, with the first printed versions appearing in 1477. Despite the attribution of the work to Aemilius Macer, a Roman poet and naturalist, the text is generally believed to have been authored by Odo de Meung, a medieval physician, who based his work on the writings of Pliny, Galen, Dioscorides, and Hippocrates.

Christ, Johann Ludwig. Naturgeschichte, Klassification und Nomenclatur der Insecten vom Bienen, Wespen, und Ameisengeschlecht. Frankfurt am Main: Hermann, 1791. 2 volumes.

beautiful handcolored frontispiece to NaturgeschichteJohann Ludwig Christ (1739-1813), an 18th-century expert in apiculture, produced only this one master work. The volume is a true gem: with its 60 stunning hand-colored illustrations of bees and wasps, it enhances an already strong collection of bee literature held by Special Collections.

hand colored plate with six bees

Christ's work complements the university's existing scholarly research in the order Hymenoptera. This interest in hymenopteran systematics finds its foundations in the Mitchell Bee Collection, a specimen collection of more than 34,000 bees collected by former NC State professor T. B. Mitchell and housed in the NCSU Department of Entomology's Insect Collection at the university. Dr. Mitchell's collecting efforts culminated in a revision of bee classification. The Mitchell Collection, along with approximately 40,000 additional hymenopteran specimens, is of great value to systematics scholars.

Mensuration of Superficies. Vellum Bound Manuscript. 1794?

page from Mensuration of Superficies titled Problem of a circle page from Mensuration of Superficies

This unique manuscript is a student's exercise book on learning to measure solids. The beautifully handwritten text contains geometric problems and answers along with eye-catching diagrams illustrating the solution to the problems. The student author whimsically intersperses his problem solving with bits of poetry and axioms for good living. No personal information is known about the author of the text, except he "Left Mr. Stubbs 11th of May 1794" presumably having completed a course of study. The student is likely to have been an apprentice to an engineer, merchant, or mariner. This one-of-a-kind item is a great addition to Special Collections' science education collecting initiative.

Page designed by Piet Zwart from Het boek van PTTPage designed by Piet Zwart from Het boek van PTTZwart, Piet. Het boek van PTT. Leiden: Posterijen, Telegrafie en Telefonie, 1938.

Page designed by Piet Zwart from Het boek van PTT

This work, written for the Dutch National Postal, Telephone and Telegraph Service, is considered a classic in graphic design. The illustrations and layout are capricious and eye-catching. Intended for children, the text was used to teach children about modern communication techniques and devices. The original Dutch edition is very scarce in the United States; only three copies are listed in United States libraries.

Rösel von Rosenhof, August Johann & Kleeman, Christian Friedrich Carl. De Natuurlyke Historie der Insecten . . . Haarlem and Amsterdam, C. Bohn and H. de Wit, H. Gartman, 1765-1787. 9 volumes.

title page from Natuurlyke Historie der Insecten

August Rösel von Rosenhof (1705-1759) was a painter and engraver by training and a naturalist by avocation. He became inspired by the drawings of Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), a noted 17th-century botanical and entomological illustrator, and he devoted himself to the painting of insects from live specimens. The work is profusely illustrated with more than 300 hand-colored, detailed engraved plates, and despite the age of the publication, the colors remain fresh and vibrant. Attesting to the scholarly value of Roesel's text, L. C. Miall notes in his The Early Naturalists 1912), "On the whole, the description [of aquatic beetles] is quite as good as that given in most popular books of our own day, but the figures are much better than those which we are accustomed to see."
hand colored plate with butterflies from Natuurlyke Historie

The Natuurlyke Historie was first published in German between 1746 and 1761, and is considered one of the most important entomological publications of the 18th century. After Roesel's death, the fourth volume was completed by Roesel's son-in-law, Kleemann. Kleemann also completed a supplement to the work, which is included in this set.

French, James Weir. Machine tools commonly employed in modern engineering workshops. London: Gresham Publishing Company, 1911.

Cover of Machine toolsThe 19th-century witnessed an explosion of mechanical inventions and manufacturing processes. French sought to document the many new designs and to aid the engineer in assessing and choosing appropriate tools and manufacturers for specific types of work. He intended Machine Tools to be a descriptive catalog of engineering machinery, a directory of manufacturers, and a textbook for young engineers. The elaborate cutaway illustrations in Machine Tools make it particularly useful in documenting the history of engineering and technology in the United States and Great Britain at the turn of the century.

Loewy, Raymond. [Set of 7 lithographs and 1 serigraph in deluxe portfolio with 1 lithograph issued loose]

plate of Loewy's S-1 LocomotiveThe Loewy prints consist of seven 21" x 28" lithographs and one 21" x 28" serigraph in a clamshell portfolio, plus one 18" x 29" lithograph issued loose. The set was published in a limited edition of 300 copies, and each of the nine original graphics are signed and numbered by the artist. The plate above is number 8 of 300. The lithographs were pulled at the American Atelier in New York with Loewy very much involved in the publication process. Loewy created maquettes for the lithographs from his original designs, then mylar sheets were prepared and transferred onto the lithographic plates. After proofs were pulled by American Atelier artists under the direction of Loewy and corrections were made by Loewy himself, the entire edition was then pulled one color at a time. Loewy inspected and initialed each print in pencil. The prints were then issued as a set in a portfolio designed by Loewy. One print, "Moonlanding," is a serigraph and was pulled at the Chicago Serigraph Workshop. A serigraph is a print produced from a silk-screen process involving the use of color stencils. After each serigraph was pulled one color at a time, it was embossed and hot stamped with silver foil. The same process of correction, inspection, and signing by Loewy was performed on the serigraphs. The serigraph completes the portfolio set as issued.

Seguy, E. A. Insectes; vingt planches en phototypie coloriees au patron donnant quatre-vingts insectes et seize compositions decoratives. Paris: Chartre et Van Buggenhoudt [1929?]

section of a Seguy design with bees from Insectesplate created with pochoir technique in Insectes

The Insectes is a set of 20 remarkable insect prints produced in Paris by the French designer Eugene Alain Séguy circa 1928. Each hand-colored print was produced using the pochoir technique, a printing process employing a series of stencils to lay down the colors; this technique accounts for the prints' strikingly fresh and vibrant colors. Séguy was especially inspired by exotic and colorful creatures of the natural world that most designers had overlooked. He fashioned meticulously detailed entomological drawings not from actual specimens, but from illustrations in scientific publications. The Insectes portfolio features 80 insects from around the world and 16 abstract entomological wallpaper designs.

Rankine, William J. M. A Manual of Civil Engineering. London: Griffin, Bohn, 1862. First Edition.

title page from A Manual of Civil EngineeringIn the mid 19th-century, engineering education was shifting from practical, apprentice-style training to more scientific, university-oriented instruction. Rankine's engineering textbooks became primary in the standard curricula not only in his native Britain, but throughout Europe, Japan, and the United States. They broadly influenced the development of engineering in the modern era. The textbooks were reprinted for many decades after the appearance of the first edition, and this original edition of his civil-engineering textbook accurately portrays the methods and practices of technical design from surveying to bridge building.

Essig, Daniel J. Metamorphosis III. Asheville, N. C.: Dan Essig, 1999. Dan Essig was born in 1967 and studied at the Center for the Book at the University of Iowa, Penland School of Crafts, and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. In Metamorphosis III he used ancient Coptic sewing techniques for binding, traditional handmade paper stained with natural dye extracted from walnut hulls, and found objects such as insect wings and mica to produce this most-unique book that augments the Special Collections Research Center's design and cultural entomology collections.

The text block consists of 10 blank folio signatures with insect wings embedded in the handmade paper. The cover is made of spalted and curly maple and contains two windows covered with mica. The front-cover window houses a Cicada in its larval stage. The inside back-cover window houses a Cicada in its adult stage, which give the title to the piece, "Metamorphosis III."

Poehlmann, JoAnna. Beelines (from the stamp collection). Milwaukee, Wisc.: J. Poehlmann, 1996.

cover of Beelinespage from BeelinesJoAnna Poehlmann's Beelines was hand-lettered in pen and ink on one-ply Strathmore paper and collaged with postage stamps from around the world.

Sears, Roebuck and Company. Sears Wallpaper and Wall Oilcloth. Chicago, Ill.: Sears, Roebuck and Co., 1954.

cover of Sears Wallpaper and Wall Oilcloth catalogpage from Sears Wallpaper and Wall Oilcloth catalogThis catalog includes 84 actual samples and 197 listings of wallpaper designs from the early 1950s. It also contains pricing information for products used to install wallpaper. Catalogs such as this enhance the architectural collection and provide documentation of the built environment, including vernacular architecture.

Polonceau, Antoine Remi. Notice sur le nouveau systeme des ponts en fonte suivi dans la construction du pont du Carrousel. Plaches. Paris: Carilian-Goeury, 1839.

detailed illustration from bridge design drawing of bridgeThis volume consists of plates depicting plans, elevations, and details for iron-bridge construction during the mid-19th-century, in particular the Pont du Carrousel in Paris. There are measured drawings showing details of the elements from which the bridge was built and several elevated views of the bridge during various stages of construction.

Batemean, John Frederic & Revy, Julian John. Channel Railway. Description of a Proposed Cast-iron Tube for Carrying a Railway Across the Channel Between the Coasts of England and France. London: Vacher & Sons, August 1869.

front cover of Channel RailwayIn this 1869 volume, predating the Chunnel, one of the biggest civil-engineering projects of the 20th-century, Bateman and Revy describe the construction of a cast-iron tube, 13 feet in internal diameter, with a single line of rail. Their construction method of building the tube out from shore from inside a watertight cylinder moving forward the completed sections by means of powerful hydraulic jacks is fascinating. Railroad engineering in the time of steam locomotives posed crucial ventilation issues which Bateman and Revy solved by proposing to push the carriages through the tunnel with pneumatic pressure. This volume details feasible engineering plans for a channel tunnel.

Gorey, Edward. The Bug Book. New York: Epstein & Carroll; distributed by Random House, 1960.

cover of The Bug BookIn this early volume by artist Edward Gorey a happy community of bugs is threatened by a mysterious, disagreeable bug. This amusing book illustrates Gorey's early works and is a delightful addition to our entomology collections as an example of cultural entomology.