St. Petersburg: Kayserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1789.
1st Edition. Hardcover. Very Good. Item #002368
4to (295 x 220 mm). 63 ; 94 pp. Signatures: A-H4; A-L4 M-N2 (-N2, presumed blank), 79 of 80 leaves, lacking the engraved plate to Blumenbach's text. Text block untrimmed and partially unopened. Early 19th-century blue paper covered boards (old rebacking, head of spine torn). A stipple engraved portrait of Blumenbach by Ball after Grimm is bound in as a frontispiece. Internally little age-toned, untrimmed leaves little soiled and frayed at fore-margins. Provenance: William Lister*, with engraved booklabel "Dr. Lister, Lincoln's Inn Fields", Walter Pagel Library (paper label to front pastedown). Except for the lacking portrait a fine, unsophisticated copy. ----
FIRST EDITION, exceedingly rare. "Two papers responding to the prize question on plant nutrition set by the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences for 1782 and resubmitted in 1788. There is an appendix by Wolff, the larger second section of the book, Von der eigenthümlichen und wesentlichen Kraft der vegetabilischen sowohl als auch der animalischen Substanz. This is cited as a separate item in Gaissinovitch's D.S.B. article, but it was not published independently. This was a crucial period in the history of the theories of plant nutrition, begun by Ingenhousz's discovery of photosynthesis (1779) but only fully developed when Lavoisier's new chemistry was assimilated. This is discussed by Sachs (History of Botany, 1890, pp. 494), though he does not mention these prize essays on the subject. Wolff is a key Figure in the history of botany, the first since Malpighi and Grew to devote attention to plant anatomy. His Theoria Generationis (1759), which established the theory of epigenesis, laid the foundation of our understanding of the development of plant cells. *William Lister (1757?-1830), the former (perhaps first) owner of this copy took his MD at Edinburgh in 1781. He settled in London and was physician to St. Thomas' Hospital. He was a good classical scholar. (Munk II, pp. 329-7)" R. Gaskell, Books from the Library of Walter Pagel, Pt. 2, 16. This book is very rare with no copy in the USA and the U.K. according to OCLC/Worldcat.
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