American Conchology
Thomas Say, 1830-1832
SAY, Thomas (1787-1834). American Conchology. New-Harmony, IN: the School Press, 1830-1832.

First five parts of "one of the most exotic American natural history and color plate books" (Stamped with a National Character). The plates are after Lucy Way Sistare, Thomas Say's wife, who was the first woman elected to the Academy of Natural Sciences. "This book was produced under frontier conditions in the utopian community of New Harmony, Indiana. Thomas Say, whose American Entomology had appeared with notable color plates in Philadelphia between 1824 and 1828, was one of the scientists who moved to this frontier social experiment, funded by Robert Owen, in 1827" (ibid.). Say met Lucy on the way to New Harmony, both passengers on a keelboat full of scientists called Boatload of Knowledge. The present publication eventually ran to seven parts, although the last was published after Say's death. "A work as extraordinary for having been produced in the wilderness as for its elegance and the importance of its contribution to natural history" (Streeter). America Pictured to the Life 61; Sabin 77368; Stamped with a National Character 13; Streeter sale 1413.

Five parts in one, octavo (219 x 136mm). 50 hand-colored plates (text leaves toned, some spots). Original printed wrappers retained and bound into 19th-century half morocco (boards detached, pt 1 wrapper with large repairs, a few small chips and holes in other wrappers occasionally affecting printed area). Provenance: "Greenwood" (inscription) – Owen Bryant, Banff, Alberta, 1929 (inscription).

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