SCUDDER, Samuel Hubbard (1837-1911)
The Butterflies of the Eastern United States and Canada with Special Reference to New England
Cambridge, Mass. published by the author [printed by W.H. Wheeler], [November 1888 - October] 1889. 3 volumes, quarto. (10 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches). 2pp. list of subscribers. 3 portrait frontispieces (1 chromolithographed, 1 printed in three colours, 1 uncoloured), 1 folding uncoloured map, 3 maps printed in three colours (2 folding), 89 maps and plates (21 chromolithographs [10 of butterflies and moths, 4 of eggs, 4 of caterpillars and 3 of pupa], 15 distribution maps printed in two colours, 53 uncoloured).
Later blue cloth, spines lettered in gilt, blue and gold floral-patterned endpapers.
An important 19th-century colour plate book and American natural history work
Samuel Scudder's work, one of the most important books about butterflies published in America in the 19th century, was an elaborate publication employing the latest production methods for the plates. The work exemplifies the rapidly changing late 19th-century world of illustration technology, with the finely executed chromolithographs by Thomas Sinclair & Son and Julius Bien & Co. of Philadelphia being complemented by the more scientifically precise images in black and white. These were produced using gelatin-process photographs, photogravures, and electrotypes. Most sets of Scudder's work are found bound in three volumes, each with its own titlepage dated 1889 (as here). It is known that the work was issued by Scudder in monthly parts over the course of a year, from November 1888 to October 1889. Particularly full information is given about the origins and production of each plate: it is interesting to note that the artists of the original drawings used in the compilation of the coloured plates of butterflies and moths (all printed by Sinclair) included J.H. Blake, S.L. Smith, G.A. Poujade and Louis Trouvelot (best known now for his astronomical drawings).
Bennett p. 96; BM(NH) IV, p. 1888; McGrath pp. 46 & 148; Reese, Stamped with a National Character 106.