Treasures From Rare and Historic Books of the Library and Archives of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Exquisitely detailed scientific illustrations reveal the beauty and artistry in documenting  the natural history of life.

A Treasure Trove
The Academy Library and Archives at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is internationally recognized for its rare and historic books, journals, art, artifacts, manuscripts, photographs, and the unique papers and research of Academy members and staff. The Library holds more than 250,000 titles that span from 1520 to present, and two-thirds of all titles predate the 20th century. 
The 2,000 Archives collections contain more than a million items, including manuscripts, field notebooks, correspondence, films, journals, and photographs. The Archives collections span from 1692 to present, including art and artifacts. Shown here: 1, 2 Dauphin de la Nouvelle-Zélande, Femelle. (Nouv-Zélande.) 3,4 Dauphin Obscur Varié. (Cap de Bonne Espérance.)
The scientific illustrations in this exhibit are some of the treasures from our rare and historic books. For information on searching and visiting the Academy Library and Archives, please visit Shown here: Prunus Maritima Racemosa, The Mangrove Grape Tree

Vulpes Velox, Say. Swift Fox

Grand Mastodonte. PL. V

Land crab
Mark Catesby’s etchings were said to be “drawn from life,” unlike other naturalists and artists of his time whose work was drawn from dried specimens or described second hand.

L’ai Adulte (Three-toed Ground Sloth)

Hyacinth Macaw
Once an ordained deacon, George Shaw quit to pursue his love of natural history. He co-founded the Linneaen Society and identified many new species from Australia while working at the British Museum.

Grand Mastodonte. PL. I

Phalaena Regia (Persimmon Moth, Caterpillar and Pupa)

Thomas Say was a founding member of the Academy of Natural Sciences, which was established in 1812. He published the first book on conchology in America and became known as the “Father of American Conchology.” The book was recognized abroad as a true work of science, proof that the U.S. had reputable scientists and researchers.

Unio Ventricosus

Granaat Boom
Maria Sibylla Merian’s work depicted, possibly for the first time, the metamorphoses of insects and the flora and fauna that surrounded them. This was no small feat in the 17th century, and her work influenced other great naturalists including John James Audubon, Mark Catesby, and William Bartram.

Surinaamsche Krocodil (Surinam Crocodile)

Chelonia Caretta (Loggerhead Sea Turtle)

Coluber Eximius

Le Hausse – Col Dore

The Green and Red Parrot from China

Calyptorhynchus Basksii (Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo)

Platycercus Flaviventris (Yellow-Bellied Parrakeet)

Bos Americanus, Gmel (American Bison or Buffalo)
John James Audubon was a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences and is best known for his masterpiece Birds of America. His book on quadrupeds was his next large-scale project, and the quality of the plates are comparable. 
Pyrocephalus Nanus (Galapagos Flycatcher)
This book details the specimens collected by Charles Darwin during the H. M. S. Beagle’s voyage around the coasts of South America, Australian, Africa, and elsewhere. The series was initially issued in five parts over four years. Each part was authored by an expert in the field. Darwin’s observations on this trip led him to develop his theory of evolution.

Rhea Darwinii

Scorpana Histrio

Ptilonorhynchus Holosericeus: Kuhl (Satin Bower Bird)

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