RAFINESQUE, Constantine Samuel (1783-1840)
A Monograph of the Fluviatile Bivalve Shells of the River Ohio, containing twelve genera and sixty-eight species
Philadelphia: J. Dobson, 1832. 12mo. 72pp. Hand-coloured lithographed frontispiece.
Publisher's green cloth, lettered paper label on the upper cover, rebacked.
Provenance: William Hembel (presentation inscription on the front endpaper)
A rare work by Rafinesque, inscribed by the dedicatee.
Self-educated in France, Rafinesque visited the United States in 1802-4, returning as a permanent resident in 1815. Settling in Ohio, he travelled extensively in the eastern and midwestern United States, and served as a professor of natural history at the University of Kentucky. His publications, though significant in their contributions to the study of American natural history, were not widely published and are thus all rare and desirable.
This scarce work, translated from the French by C. A. Poulson, is an early publication on North American freshwater mussels, and is here complete with the lithographed frontispiece which is often lacking. Boewe notes that the plate is more usually found uncolored, but is here in contemporary hand colouring.
This example with provenance to William Hembel, a patron of Rafinesque, the president of the Academy of Natural Sciences (1840-49), a shell collector of note and the dedicatee of this work. In 1834, Rafinesque sold Hembel his specimens which he used for his Medical Flora, which Hembel later gave to the Academy.
Sabin 67460; Boewe/Fitzpatrick 608.