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hargrett library :: digital collections :: natural history collection

Selections from the Natural History Collection

The Natural History Collection is one of the most important interdisciplinary, scholarly resources in the Hargrett Library. Represented in this collection are a variety of formats including rare books, prints, original renderings, and manuscripts. Among the rare books to be found in the Hargrett Library are classics of natural history collections such as the 1771 edition of Mark Catesby's Natural History of South Carolina as well as Seligmann's Sammlung Verschiedener Auslandischen (1749-1764) essentially a German translation of Catesby's famous work.

Another noteworthy book is Flora Londinenis in which William Curtis attempted to compile and illustrate the wild flowers growing within ten miles of London circa 1777.

An extremely scarce book held in the Hargrett Library is The Ichthyology of South Carolina with twenty-eight lithographs plates published in 1860 . Evidence of the economic promise of the silkworm industry in the newly established colony of Georgia in 1733 is demonstrated in the book A Compendious Account of the whole art of Breeding, Nursing, and the Right ordering of the Silk-Worm with copperplate engravings representing the silkworm in eight different stages.

The highlight of the Natural History Collection is the collection of prints by the undisputed master of botanical art, Pierre Joseph Redoute. Included in the collection are prints from his famous three volume work, Les Roses, and his monumental Les Liliacees containing 503 plates. The Hargrett Library is privileged to own examples from both the standard edition and the large paper edition, which has the distinction of being hand-colored by Redoute himself and limited to only 18 copies. Even more extraordinarily rare are two of Redoute's original watercolor drawings on vellum from his magnum opus which he painted for the Empress Josephine -- certainly among the most treasured art in the Hargrett Library. Among the other original renderings are forty-nine drawings in color of Turtles, Tortoises, Frogs and Salamanders of Georgia and South Carolina (c. 1830) by John Eaton LeConte and over 118 delicate drawings of birds by John Abbot circa 1820.

Within the Manuscript division, the Hargrett Library houses a number of collections pertaining to the topic of Natural History and gardening including the papers of the first garden club in America, the Ladies Garden Club. In addition, there are many interesting and useful documents such as the manuscript orchard handbook of P.J. Berkman, pioneer horticulturist in Georgia.


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For further information about this collection, please contact:
Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library:
Phone: (706) 542-7123 / FAX: (706) 542-0672