MICHAUX, François André (1770-1855)
Histoire des Arbres Forestiers de l'Amerique Septentrionale, consideres principalement sous les rapports de leur usage dans les arts et de leur introduction dans le commerce ...
Paris: L'Imprimerie de L. Haussmann, 1810-1813-1813. 3 volumes, tall octavo. (9 3/4 x 6 1/4 inches). Half-titles, 2pp. of errata at end of vol.III. 138 hand-coloured colour stipple engravings. Extra illustrated with a carte-de-visite albumen portrait photograph of the author, by J.A. Whipple of Boston, tipped in at the front of vol.I. (Foxing to the text, some minor offsetting to the plates).
Expertly bound to style in half dark brown morocco over nineteenth century marbled paper-covered boards, spines lettered in gilt
Provenance: Theodore Lyman III (1833-1897, signature in each volume)
Theodore Lyman's copy of the original issue, in French, of Michaux's great work on North American trees, including beautiful colour plates printed in Paris, many after Redouté.
This is the most important work relating to American trees published prior to the 20th century, and excepting the unillustrated Arbustrum Americanum by Humphrey Marshall (Philadelphia, 1785), it is the first significant work devoted to North American sylva. In the English translation as The North American Sylva , this book remained the standard work on the subject for most of the 19th century.
It was the product of the efforts of one of the greatest naturalists to work in 19th-century America, François A. Michaux, who together with his father, André, was a pioneer in the natural history exploration of Eastern North America. The beautifully-executed plates illustrate leaves and nuts or berries of American trees across the entire continent. The English and Latin names are printed in the caption of each plate. Michaux's work is based on his extensive travels in the Eastern half of America and those of his father, from the 1790s on. Both men were friendly with Jefferson and other leading figures, who aided them in their work and travels. The plates were executed by the great French flower painter, Redouté, and his associate, Bessa. At least two sets are known to have the date of 1813 on the title-page of the first volume, most likely denoting a later issue. The first volume of this copy bears the correct date of 1810. The work was issued in twenty-four parts during 1810-1813.
This set with provenance to American soldier and naturalist Theodore Lyman III. Lyman studied under Louis Agassiz at Harvard, and continued his studies researching starfish off the Florida coast. After a European tour, at the outbreak of the Civil War he served on General Meade's staff. Following the war, he was a state Fish Commissioner, a federal commissioner, and one of the first scientists to advocate the widespread use of fish ladders, known then as "fishways." He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Sciences, a trustee of the Peabody Education Fund, and an overseer of Harvard University.
This copy extra-illustrated with a rare carte-de-visite albumen portrait photograph of F.A. Michaux by John Adams Whipple (1822-1891) of Boston, after the daguerrotype portrait taken for Dr. Asa Gray during his visit to Paris in June 1851.
Cf. MacPhail, Andre and Francois Andre Michaux 12B (title to vol.II dated 1812); Meisel III,p.371; Oak Spring Sylva 19; cf. Stafleu & Cowan III, 5961 (title to vol.II dated 1812).