GODMAN, Frederick DuCane and Osbert SALVIN, editors. Biologia Centrali-Americana; or, contributions to the knowledge of the fauna and flora of Mexico and Central America. London: for the editors by R. H. Porter and Dulau and Co., 1879-1915.
66 volumes, 4o (310 x 250 mm) and oblong 2o (315 x 500 mm). APPROXIMATELY 1,657 LITHOGRAPHIC AND AUTOTYPE PLATES OF THE FAUNA, FLORA AND ARCHAEOLOGY OF CENTRAL AMERICA, INCLUDING 890 HAND-COLORED LITHOGRAPHS. (Several plates spotted on margins, a few plates in Archaeology slightly browned.) Uniform contemporary gold-tooled red morocco, top edges gilt (some spines evenly faded), oblong volumes in similar contemporary red half morocco, top edges gilt, original wrappers and Botany indices bound in 3 separate volumes in contemporary red half cloth. Provenance: Frederick DuCane Godman (armorial bookplates).
THE EDITOR'S COPY OF THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE STUDY OF CENTRAL AMERICAN WILDLIFE, IN FINE CONDITION AND THE MOST COMPLETE SET TO HAVE APPEARED AT AUCTION IN THE PAST 35 YEARS. This copy has 12 more volumes (including six concerning archaeology) than the copy in the British Museum Natural History catalogue, which was published while the Biologia was still being issued. The natural-history section of the work appeared in 240 parts (25 of Botany and 215 of Zoology), spanning 36 years, and each separate study was edited by a leading natural scientist of the day. It was possible to subscribe either to the botanical or the zoological section, which were issued concurrently, with the editors aiming to publish six parts of each every year. The full extent of the work was unknown at the time publication began: according to the prospectus it was erroneously believed that the total "will not much exceed 60 parts . . . of Zoology, and 20 parts of Botany". The 17 parts of Archaeology were included in consequence of Maudslay's excavations, and his photographs, which, Godman felt "made a valuable addition to our knowledge of the country".
Although it was not until 1876 that Godman and Salvin, who had first met at university in Cambridge, decided to embark on a large-scale study of the biology of Central America, their research into this field had started twenty-two years prior to the first issue's publication in 1879. During that time, they travelled extensively in Central America and amassed specimens for their own collections, as well as training some of the natives to collect further specimens which were sent back to England for classification. These specimens, as well as those obtained by professional collectors employed by Godman and Salvin, were distributed to the section-editors for the necessary research and illustrations during the publication of this work. After Salvin's death in 1898, Godman continued the work, assisted by G. C. Champion, who worked as secretary and sub-editor to Godman, as well as contributing to nine volumes of the series. Godman's obituary in The Ibis magazine describes the Biologia as "WITHOUT QUESTION THE GREATEST WORK OF THE KIND EVER PLANNED AND CARRIED OUT BY PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS . . . AND . . . A MONUMENT TO THE ENERGY AND MUNIFICENCE OF SALVIN AND GODMAN".
The set comprises:
Introductory volume by F. DuCane Godman. 1915. 2 photogravures of Godman and Salvin, each with facsimile signature, and 8 double-page chromolithographic maps of Mexico and Central America.
Botany by W. B. Hemsley. 1879-1888. 5 volumes. 110 lithographic plates by W. H. Fitch, some after Salvin, including 18 hand-colored, and a chromolithographic map of the region by Edward Weller. The section on the Cycadaceae is by W. T. Thiselton Dyer. Loosely inserted is a pamphlet "On results recorded in the Biologia Centrali-Americana", from the proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, September 1916.
Mammalia by E. R. Alston, introduction by P. L. Sclater. 1879-1882. 22 lithographic plates, including 20 hand-colored, by J. G. Keulemans and J. Smit.
Aves by O. Salvin and F. D. Godman. 1879-1904. 4 volumes. 84 hand-colored lithographic plates by J. G. Keulemans.
Pisces by C. Tate Regan. 1906-1908. 26 lithographic plates and 2 chromolithographic maps of Mexico and Central America by J. Green, several small maps in the text.
Reptilia and Batrachia by A. C. L. G. Günther. 1885-1902. 76 lithographic plates by R. Mintern, 5 hand-colored and 7 chromolithographed.
Land and Freshwater Mollusca by E. von Martens. 1890-1901. 44 lithographic plates by E. Duval and von Zglinicka, 28 hand-colored.
Arachnida-Acaridea by O. Stoll. 1886-1893. 21 lithographic plates after Stoll, 13 hand-colored.
Arachnida-Araneidea by F. O. Pickard-Cambridge. 1897-1905. 2 volumes, the second entitled Arachnida Araneida and Opiliones. Volume I: 39 hand-colored lithographic plates by E. Wilson after A. T. Hollick. Volume II: 54 lithographic plates by E. Wilson after Pickard-Cambridge, 24 hand-colored.
Arachnida: Scorpiones, Pedipalpi and Solifugae by R. I. Pocock. 1902. 12 lithographic plates by J. Green after A. T. Hollick. With a loosely inserted autograph letter signed from Pocock to Godman, dated Jan. 20th, 1907, apologizing for the delay in replying to Godman's letter and discussing plans for "getting on with Myriopoda [centipedes and millipedes] again" and writing "the review on the spiders", with a note added by Godman below: "Promised him (50 if completed this summer, FDG", 2 leaves, 8o.
Chilopoda and Diplopoda by R. I. Pocock. 1910. 3 hand-colored lithographic plates by E. Wilson and a further 12 lithographic plates by J. Green after A. T. Hollick and Pocock.
Coleoptera by H. W. Bates, D. Sharp, G.C. Champion, H.S. Gorham, W. Blandford, M. Jacoby, J.S. Baly and others. 1876-1911. 16 volumes. 350 lithographic plates by W. Purkiss, E. Wilson, M. Freiherr von Schlereth, M. H. Fisher and G. Saunders, 305 hand-colored.
Hymenoptera by P. Cameron and A. Forel. 1883-1900. 3 volumes. 34 hand-colored lithographic plates by W. Purkiss, 3 uncolored lithographs by E. Wilson and an autotype plate of ants' nests.
Lepidoptera-Rhopalocera by F. D. Godman and O. Salvin. 1879-1901. 3 volumes. 113 hand-colored lithographic plates by R.H.F. Rippon and W. Purkiss.
Heterocera-Lepidoptera by H. Druce, 1881-1900, 3 volumes, and Lord Walsingham, 1909-1915, 1 volume. Vols. I-III: 101 hand-colored lithographic plates by W. Purkiss. Vol. IV: 10 chromolithographic plates by A. J. Wendel after F. W. Frohawk, illustrations.
Rhyncota. Hemiptera-Heteroptera by W. L. Distant, 1880-1893 and G. C. Champion, 1897-1901. 2 volumes. Vol. I: 39 hand-colored lithographic plates by W. Purkiss. Vol. II: 22 lithographic plates by E. Wilson, 6 hand-colored.
Rhyncota. Hemiptera-Homoptera by W. L. Distant, W. W. Fowler and T. D. A. Cockerell. 1881-1909. 2 volumes. 34 hand-colored lithographic plates by W. Purkiss and E. Wilson.
Diptera by C. R. Osten Sacken, F. M. van der Wulp, S. W. Williston and others. 1886-1903. 3 volumes. 21 hand-colored lithographic plates by E. Wilson after van der Wulp.
Neuroptera by A. E. Eaton and P. P. Calvert. 1892-1908.10 lithographic plates after Calvert and Amelia Smith, 3 hand-colored.
Orthoptera by H. de Saussure, L. Bruner, R. Shelford and others. 1893-1909. 2 volumes. 20 lithographic plates by T. Bannwarth after Zehntner, Mercier, Lunel, Hyatt and others, including 4 chromolithographs.
Archaeology by A. P. Maudslay, appendix by J. T. Goodman, 1897-1902. 6 volumes, 2 of text (4o) and 4 of plates (oblong 2o). 393 views, maps, plans and details of archaeological remains and artefacts, (including an alternative plate 49, vol. I), several folding or double-page, mainly autotypes after Maudslay or H. N. Sweet, and lithographs, including 5 chromolithographs, some hand-colored lithographs and several tinted.
The set includes a further 3 volumes containing the original wrappers and the indices for Botany. BMC N.H. p. 687. (66)