1817. Item #88076
THE FIRST BOTANICAL WORK PUBLISHED IN AMERICA BIGELOW, Jacob. AMERICAN MEDICAL BOTANY, BEING A COLLECTION OF THE NATIVE MEDICINAL PLANTS OF THE UNITED STATES, CONTAINING THEIR BOTANICAL, HISTORY AND CHEMICAL ANALYSIS, AND PRPOERTIES AND USES IN MEDICINE, DIET AND THE ARTS, WITH COLOURED ENGRAVINGS. Boston: Cummings and Hilliard, 1817[-1820]. First edition. 60 color plates, most with tissue guards: 10 hand-colored copper engravings and 50 plates printed in color a la poupee, probably from an etched stone, with some plates finished by hand. Six parts bound in three volumes. Octavo in fours, nineteenth-century quarter calf bindings with marbled boards, red morocco label and horizontal double-rules in gilt to spines. Ex library: each volume has a bookplate and ink stamp on front pastedown, a perforated stamp to title-leaf with an ink stamp on verso, a perforated stamp in top margin of first text leaf, and an ink stamp on p. 51. Plates are unmarked. Bindings are worn and scuffed with joints tender, some starting. Plates are clean for the most part, though some have offset on versos from text leaves or slight toning from tissue guards. Text is clean. "This is the first botanical work published in America. Bigelow originally planned to use hand-colored copper plate engravings, which are employed in the first half of the first volume. This method proving too expensive and laborious, he sought a method of printing color rather than applying it by hand. Richard Wolfe, who has made an exhaustive study of the work, believes that the rest of the plates (the book was issued in six parts over a three-year period) were made by etching a stone block, then applying the colors to the stone 'a la poupee'. The stone, inked with multiple colors, was then printed in a single impression. This is the only use of such a process an American color plate book." - Reese, 19th Century American Color Plates Books, #10. (Bennett, p. n11, Nissen 164, Pritzel 773, Staflue & Cowan 514, Sabin 5294).