American Medical Botany
Jacob Bigelow, 1817
BIGELOW, Jacob (1787-1879). American Medical Botany, being a Collection of the Native Medicinal Plants of the United States. Boston: Cummings and Hilliard, 1817.

First edition of "the first botanical work published in America" (Stamped with a National Character). "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 à la poupée. The stone, inked with multiple colors, was then printed in a single impression. This is the only use of such a process in an American color plate book" (ibid.). Nissen BBI 164; Norman 234; Sabin 5294; Stamped with a National Character 10.

Six parts in three volumes, quarto (249 x 162mm). 60 aquatint plates mostly printed in color à la poupée, most with tissue guards (some toning from tissue guards, some spotting to plates in vol 3, occasional other spots throughout). Vols 1 and 2: contemporary calf (vol 1 rebacked with original leather labels laid down, vol 2 a bit worn); vol 3: modern calf bound to match, new endpapers. Provenance: University of Chicago Libraries (bookplate with deaccession stamps dated 1984 in vols 1 and 2, a few other ID stamps in all vols)T.A. Greene (stamps in all three vols).

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