Berlin: G. Reimer, 1829-1833. Complete in five parts; bound together. T.p., iv, 17; t.p., 13; t.p., 18; t.p., 19, t.p., viii, 28 pp. 34x23 cm. With a lithographed portrait frontispiece and twenty-five hand coloured stipple-engraved plates. Contemporary half leather with marbled papered boards and faded gilt lettered title on the spine. 19th century library numbers on the front pastedown endpaper, Soviet bookshop’s paper label attached to the rear pastedown endpaper. Spine with cracks on the hinges neatly repaired, paper slightly age toned, title page with some minor expert repair, otherwise a very good copy.
First edition of an important rare addition to the official account of Otto von Kotzebue’s second circumnavigation on board the sloop “Predriyatiye” in 1823-26. The voyage was executed on assignment of the Russian American Company and resulted in the discovery of several atolls in the Tuamotus, the Society and the Marshall Islands, including the Eschscholtz atoll, named after the ship’s physician and the author of this book Johann Eschscholtz (1793-1831); now it is better known as the Bikini atoll (Marshall Islands). Kotzebue also visited Chile, Samoa, Tahiti, Kamchatka, stayed in the New Archangel (Sitka), Russian settlements at Fort Ross and San Francisco, and the Hawaiian Islands. During the expedition Eschscholtz registered about 2400 species of fauna and amassed a significant collection of plants and insects, mostly from Hawaii, Alaska and California. He also discovered “icy mountains covered with soil and flora” in a small bay east of modern-day Kotzebue Sound in Alaska; the bay was named after him by the expedition leader Otto von Kotzebue. California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) was also named after him by his friend and colleague Adelbert von Chamisso. The book contains twenty-five beautiful hand-coloured stipple-engraved plates showing over eighty species of animals, mostly from the Pacific region (several placed on the same plate); the animals were either discovered or described by Eschscholtz for the first time, and many received their scientific names from him. The original drawings were made by Eschscholtz himself and E. Bomer/Bommer; the engravings were done by J. Gümpel jun., C.E. Weber, prof. F. Guimpel, and M. Haas.
“[First part includes] author’s preface which gives a brief itinerary of Kotzebue’s second voyage around the world and refers to some 2400 specimens collected or observed by Dr. Eschscholtz and
members of the expedition. <…> [Fifth part includes] preface by D. Martin Rathke explaining that, in view of Dr. Schscholtz’s early death, he has been called upon to edit this last part, pp. Vi-vii – short biography of Dr. Eschscholtz. The lower part of vii and all of viii give the list of this published works. <…> Twenty-five engraved hand-coloured plates of animals, birds, insects, fishes, shells, and of various sea creatures. These plates are exceedingly beautifully and subtly coloured. <…> A lithographed portrait of the author, as frontispiece. Eschscholtz was officially the doctor of the first Kotzebue expedition and both the chief doctor and the naturalist of the second. C.A. Wood in his introduction to the Literature of Vertebrate Zoology (Oxford University Press, 1931), p. 334, states “This is the record of an important scientific journey around the world in which the fauna are systematically described and depicted.” It is a valuable work of early zoology of various parts of the world including Alaska, by a talented naturalist. In addition, it is an unusually beautifully produced illustrated book” (Lada-Mocarski 94).
Wickersham 6815, Nissen Zoology 1313.