4406 entries. 94 themes. Last updated December 26, 2016.

1850 to 1875 Timeline

Theme

The Brett Brothers Lay the First Telegraph Cable between England and France 1850 – November 13, 1851

In 1850 telegraphic engineer John Watkins Brett and his brother Jacob Brett laid the first telegraph cable between England and France. After a French fisherman cut the cable, thinking it was a new kind of seaweed, in September 1851 the brothers installed an armored cable that lasted for many years. Their Submarine Telegraph Company between France and England became operational from London though Dover and Calais to Paris on November 13, 1851.  Messages were transmitted through the submarine cable from Calais to Dover, the narrowist point in the English Channel, from which they were passed to the South Eastern Railway for telegraphing to its London Bridge Station, and then by messenger to the telegraph company’s office.

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Paul Julius Reuter Founds the Reuters News Service 1850 – 1858

In 1850 Paul Julius Reuter (originally named Israel Beer Josaphat) set up an information service, later called Reuters, using a "fleet of 45 carrier pigeons", to deliver news and stock prices between Brussels and Aachen— terminal points of the German and French-Belgian telegraph lines. Reuter's pigeons carried the messages between Brussels and Aachen within two hours, beating the railroad by six hours.

One year later Reuter founded the Reuters news agency in London using telegraph lines, and a fleet of carrier pigeons that grew to exceed 200. Reuter opened an office in London’s financial center close to the main telegraph offices. He transmitted stock market quotations and news between London and Paris over the new Dover-Calais submarine telegraph cable, using his "telegraph expertise."

By 1858 Reuters opened offices all over Europe, following telegraph lines.

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Flong as an "Immutable Form of Information Capture" Circa 1850

The use of flong for stereotype printing plates in the 19th century provided an advantage for the publication of mathematical tables since stereotype plates represented “an immutable form of information capture that offered immunity from the inherent vulnerability of movable type to derangement during printing or storage” (Doron Swade, “The ‘Unerring Certainty of Mechanical Agency’: Machines and Table Making in the Nineteenth Century,” Campbell-Kelly [ed.] The History of Mathematical Tables [2003] 148).

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Incunabula of the Zulu Language, and a Zulu Beadwork Love Letter 1850 – 1937

On March 1, 2014 Claudia Funke, Curator of Rare Books at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, drew my attention to a non-written Zulu beadwork love letter preserved in the "Curosities Cabinet" at the UNC rare book collection. Zulu, the language of about 10 million people, 95% of whom live in South Africa, was not a written language until contact with missionaries from Europe, who documented the language using Latin script. The first grammar book of the Zulu language was published in Norway, rather than in South Africa, by the Norwegian missionary Hans Schreuder, founder of the first Christian mission in Zululand: Grammatike for Zulu-sproget, forfattet af H.P.S. Schreuder (Christiania [Oslo], 1850). According to the Wikipedia, the first published book printed in Zulu was a Bible translation: Ibaible eli ingcwele; eli Netestamente Elidala, Nelitya, kukitywa kuzo izilimi zokuqala, ku lotywa ngokwesizulu. The Holy Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments, translated out of the original tongues, into the Zulu language (New York: American Bible Society, 1883). Considering how late reading and writing came to the Zulus, we can well understand how non-written communication evolved in this culture in interesting ways.

According to Claudia Funke,

"In 1937, Daniel M. Malcolm, Chief Inspector of Native Education in Natal, South Africa, brought the letter to UNC-Chapel Hill as a visual aid for a lecture he gave at that year’s “Conference on Education of American Negroes and African Natives.” Malcolm explained that the letter was written by a girl to her beloved. The white beads indicate the purity of her heart, and the red beads show that her heart is broken and bleeding for her beloved. The four black squares represent four questions about their relationship that he must answer. Malcolm gave the love letter to UNC and its Hanes Foundation for the Study of the Origin and Development of the Book. It subsequently became part of the RBC’s “Curiosities Cabinet,” which houses many other non-codex objects of significance for the history of the book, such as cuneiform tablets and papyrus fragments."

It may be impossible to date the Zulu beadwork love letter at UNC accurately, so I assigned the accession date at UNC as a terminal date for this entry.

Long after Zulus achieved literacy, the tradition of non-written, or at least partly non-written, Zulu love letters appears to be continuing, as reflected in the 2004 film Zulu Love Letter:

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Robert Mallet Founds the Science of Seismology 1850 – 1858

Between 1850 and 1858 Irish geophysicist and civil engineer Robert Mallet of Dublin founded the science of seismology in a series of four Report[s] of the Facts of Earthquake Phaenomena presented to the British Association for the Advancement of of Science. He also issued The Earthquake Catalogue of the British Association. Mallet coined the term "seismology" to describe the scientific study of earthquakes, and was also responsible for the terms "epicenter," "seismic focus" (the point at which an earthquake originates), "angle of emergence," "isoseismal line" (contour or line on a map bounding points of equal intensity for a particular earthquake), and "meizoseismal area" (area of maximum earthquake damage).

"He produced an experimental seismograph in 1846. Important elements of his model, which was never actually used, were incorporated in the seismograph that Luigi Palmieri made in 1855. Between 1850 and 1861 Mallet set off explosions in different locations to determine the rate of travel of seismic waves in sand (825 feet per second), solid granite (1,665 feet per second) and quartzite (1,162 feet per second). According to A. Sieberg (1924), Mallet should be considered the founder of the physics of earthquakes. . . . Mallet presented his most important seismic results in four Report[s] to the British Association (1850, 1851, 1852-54, 1858) and in four editions of the Admiralty Manual of Scientific Enquiry (1849, 1851, 1859, 1871). Between them, they contain an extensive catalog-which he prepared and debated with his son, John W. Mallet- of 6,831 earthquakes reported between 1606 B.C. and A.D. 1858 and his seismic map of the world" (Dictionary of Scientific Biography).

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The Public Libraries Act of 1850 August 14, 1850

The Public Libraries Act 1850 (13 & 14 Vict c.65), an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament, gave local boroughs the power to establish free public libraries for the first time.

"The Act was the first legislative step in the creation of an enduring national institution that provides universal free access to information and literature, and was indicative of the moral, social and educative concerns of the time. The legacy of the Act can be followed through subsequent legislation that built on and expanded the powers granted in 1850 and the 4,540 public libraries that exist in the United Kingdom in 2010 can trace their origins back to this Act" (Wikipedia article on Public Libraries Act 1850).

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Alfred Smee Speculates About a Logic Machine that Might Occupy a Space Larger than London 1851

In his book, The Process of Thought Adapted to Words and Language published in 1851 English surgeon and writer Alfred Smee suggested the possibility of information storage and retrieval by a mechanical logical machine operating analogously to the human mind. This was an attempt to produce an artificial system of reasoning based upon neurological principles, which were then primarily a matter of speculation. The problem was that Smee's hypothetical “electro-biological” machine, built out of mechanical parts, which he conceived in generality, but had no way of engineering, or building even in part, might have occupied a space larger than London.

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Augustus De Morgan Proposes Quantitative Study of Vocabulary in Literary Investigation 1851

The use of quantitative approaches to style and authorship studies predated computing. In a letter written in 1851 mathematician and logician Augustus De Morgan proposed a quantitative study of vocabulary as a means of investigating the authorship of the Pauline Epistles.

Lord, R. D. "Studies in the History of Probability and Statistics: viii. de Morgan and the Statistical Study of Literary Style," Biometrika 45 (1851) 282.

A Companion to Digital Humanities, ed. Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, John Unsworth. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004. 

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Henry David Thoreau's "In Wildness is the Preservation of the World." 1851 – 1860

In 1851 American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, abolitionist, surveyor, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau delivered an address to the Concord, Massachusetts Lyceum declaring that "in Wildness is the preservation of the World." In 1863 this address was published posthumously in Boston as the essay "Walking" in Thoreau's Excursions.

Thoreau second major contribution to the environmental movement was an address he delivered to the Middlesex (Massachusetts) Agricultural Society in 1860 entitled "The Succession of Forest Trees." In this speech Thoreau analyzed aspects of what later came to be understood as forest ecology and urged farmers to plant trees in natural patterns of succession. The address was also published in Excursions, becoming perhaps Thoreau's most influential ecological contribution to conservationist thought.

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James Glaisher Proposes Using Microphotography for Document Preservation 1851 – 1852

Impressed by the exhibition of photography at the Great Exhibition of 1851, English meterologist and aeronaut James Glaisher proposed that microphotography be used as a method for document preservation. According to the Wikipedia article on Microform, astronomer and photography pioneer Sir John Herschel supported this view in 1853.

Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations of 1851. Reports by the Juries (1852). Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man (1967) no. 331.

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Amir Kabir Founds the First Modern Institution of Learning in Iran 1851

In 1851 Dar al-Funun (Persian: دارالفنون‎), the first modern institution of higher learning in Persia, was established in Tehran. Conceived as a polytechnic to train upper-class Persian youth in Medicine, Engineering, Military Science, and Geology, Dar-al-Funun was founded by Amir Kabir, then the royal vizier to Nasereddin Shah, the Shah of Iran.  "It was similar in scope and purpose to American land grant colleges like Purdue and Texas A&M. Like them, it developed and expanded its mission over the next hundred years, eventually becoming the University of Tehran" (Wikipedia article on Dar al-Funun, accessed 05-24-2012).

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Henry Jarvis Raymond & George Jones Found "The New York Times" September 18, 1851 – 1857

On September 18, 1851 journalist and politician Henry Jarvis Raymond and former banker George Jones founded The New-York Daily Times. The newspaper changed its name to The New York Times in 1857.

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Fire Destroys Two-Thirds of the Library of Congress December 24, 1851

A fire in the Library of Congress on December 24, 1851 destroyed 35,000 books—about two-thirds of the Library's 55,000 book collection, including two-thirds of Thomas Jefferson's library. This was the largest fire in the history of the Library of Congress

"Congress responded quickly and generously: in 1852 a total of $168,700 was appropriated to restore the Library's rooms in the Capitol and to replace the lost books. But the books were to be replaced only, with no particular intention of supplementing or expanding the collection. This policy reflected the conservative philosophy of Librarian of Congress John Silva Meehan and Sen. James A. Pearce of Maryland, the chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library, who favored keeping a strict limit on the Library's activities" (Jefferson's Legacy: A Brief History of the Library of Congress, accessed 10-09-2009).

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Charles Jewett Proposes a National Union Catalogue 1852

In 1852 Charles C. Jewett, librarian of the Smithsonian Institution, published On the Construction of Catalogues of Libraries and Their Publication by Means of Separate Stereotyped Titles With Rules and Examples. In this work Jewett described a plan for a national union catalogue of public libraries.

"His [Jewett's] intention was to secure general uniformity of bibliographic records through a system of "stereotyping" each title. This plan would have made it possible for libraries to print annual editions of their catalogs, incorporating the titles acquired 'during the previous year in each new edition, and for the Smithsonian to print a general union catalog which would have included' both its own holdings and those of all the public libraries. The uniformity Jewett sought was to be achieved not just through stereotyping but also through use of a single set of general cataloging rules which would be used by all the libraries. In the same year Jewett published a report titled On the Construction of Catalogues of Libraries which, among other things, set forth the first American cataloging rules for establishing headings for author entries. The report contained thirty-nine rules which were based on those of Panizzi. In fact Jewett acknowledged outright that he used some of Panizzi's rules verbatim. And Jewett's stated goal of serving the needs of users also reflected Panizzi s ideas. Though his project never came to final fruition, years later his goal of compiling a union catalog was met in the United States when the National Union Catalog began publication in 1953 and in Germany as early as 1899 when the Prussian Instructions was compiled under Jewett's influence" (J R. Hufford, The Pragmatic Basis of Catalog Codes: Has the User Been Ignored [2007] 29).

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Paul Gustave Froment Invents the Micropantograph 1852 – 1862

In 1852 French inventor and engineer Paul Gustave Froment, builder of the original Foucault pendulum, invented the micropantograph. It operated by coupling two pantographs, not unlike the kind Thomas Jefferson used at Monticello to write in duplicate, so that their action was multiplied, allowing reductions of up to 6,250 times.

Perfected by N. Peters, a London banker and microscopist, the device was described in detail and illustrated in Knight's American Mechanical Dictionary II (1876) 1432, including:

"It was stated in 1862 by Mr. Farrants, that the Lord's Prayer, containing 223 letters (amen being omitted), had been written on glass with this instrument within the space of 1/356,000 square inch; at which rate the whole Bible might be inscribed within the 1/22 part of a square inch."

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Roget's Thesaurus is First Published 50 Years After its Composition April 29, 1852

On April 29, 1852 British physician, natural theologian and lexicographer Peter Mark Roget  published his Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases Classified so as to Facilitate the Expression of Ideas and to Assist in Literary Composition, the manuscript for which he had originally written in 1805, nearly 50 years before publication. The 15,000 words it contained were arranged conceptually rather than alphabetically, incorporating 1002 concepts, in six classes derived from Aristotelian, Leibnizian principles of classification:

  1. Abstraction Relations
  2. Space
  3. Matter
  4. Intellect
  5. Volition
  6. Affections

The Thesaurus contained synonyms, in contrast to a dictionary, which contains definitions and pronunciations

"Roget's Thesaurus is composed of six primary classes. Each class is composed of multiple divisions and then sections. This may be conceptualized as a tree containing over a thousand branches for individual "meaning clusters" or semantically linked words. These words are not exactly synonyms, but can be viewed as colours or connotations of a meaning or as a spectrum of a concept. One of the most general words is chosen to typify the spectrum as its headword, which labels the whole group. 

"Roget's schema of classes and their subdivisions is based on the philosophical work of Leibniz (see Leibniz — Symbolic thought), itself following a long tradition of epistemological work starting with Aristotle. Some of Aristotle's Categories are included in Roget's first class "abstract relations". The Wikipedia "category schemes" are also based on the same principles" (Wikipedia article on Roget's Thesaurus, accessed 11-28-2008).

"In information technology, a thesaurus represents a database or list of semantically orthogonal topical search keys. In the field of Artificial Intelligence, a thesaurus may sometimes be referred to as an ontology.

"Thesaurus databases, created by international standards, are generally arranged hierarchically by themes and topics. Such a thesaurus places each term in context, allowing a user to distinguish between "bureau" the office and "bureau" the furniture. A thesaurus of this type is often used as the basis of an index for online material. The Art and Architecture Thesaurus, for example, is used to index the national databases of museums" (Wikipedia article on Thesaurus, accessed 11-28-2008).

The printing of the first edition was 1000 copies. The original manuscript for Roget's Thesaurus is preserved in the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum

Kendall, The Man Who Made Lists: Love, Death, Madness, and the Creation of Roget's Thesaurus (2008).

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Cyrus Field and the Three Attempts to Lay the Atlantic Cable 1854 – July 27, 1866

In New York in 1854 entrepreneur and promoter Cyrus Field organized the New York, Newfoundland, and London Electric Telegraph Company with the intention of laying an Atlantic Cable. Working with Samuel Morse and the Brett brothers, the company laid a cable from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to Cape Ray on the west coast of Newfoundland in 1855. The next challenge was to lay a 400 mile cable across Newfoundland to St John’s on its east coast. This was completed in 1856. At the end of this cable was a telegraph station at Trinity Bay.

In 1856 Field in New York and Charles BrightJohn Brett, and Jacob Brett in England formed The Atlantic Telegraph Company to lay and exploit commercially a telegraph cable across the Atlantic ocean. 

"The project stemmed from an agreement between the American Cyrus Field and the Englishmen John Watkins Brett and Charles Tilston Bright, and was incorporated in December 1856 with £350,000 capital, raised principally in London, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. The board of directors was composed of eighteen members from the UK, nine from the U.S. and three from Canada. The original three projectors were joined by E.O.W. Whitehouse as chief electrician. Curtis M. Lampson served ably as vice-chairman for over a decade. 

"The board recruited the physicist William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin), who had publicly disputed some of Whitehouse's claims. The two enjoyed a tense relationship before Whitehouse was dismissed when the first cable failed in 1858" (Wikipedia article on Atlantic Telegraph Company, accessed 12-25-2012).

The first attempt to lay the Atlantic Cable used the American navy vessel Niagara and the British steam and sail powered battleship HMS Agamemnon. The Niagara was then the largest navy ship in the world: 345 feet long, 55 feet wide and 5,800 tons. On August 11, 1857 the cable snapped.and an inquiry was held on August 20 to assess the causes of failure. One conclusion arising from this was that any future expedition should commence mid-ocean with the two ships splicing their respective halves of the Atlantic cable before sailing in opposite directions towards Newfoundland and Ireland.

On August 16, 1858 communication was established on the Atlantic Cable. The first message sent from Cyrus StationValentia Island, Ireland, to the Directors Atlantic Co, New York read as follows:

"Europe and America United by Telegraph! Glory to God in the Highest! On earth peace and good will to men!" 

In 23 days of operation a total of 271 messages, totalling 14,168 letters, were sent from Newfoundland to Valentia Island and 129 messages totalling 7,253 letters were sent from Valentia Island to Newfoundland. However, on the 18th September 1858 the cable failed.

On March 4-5, 2014 Christie's in New York auctioned the original transcript of the first telegraph message to be sent across the Atlantic Cable. According to their description, the message was sent to director Watts Sherman (1812-1865). Sherman, a prominent New York banker and co-founder of Duncan, Sherman & Co., was among the Honorary Directors, who also included luminaries such as August Belmont and Peter Cooper.

Using the steamship Great Eastern, the attempt to lay the second Atlantic Cable was undertaken in July 1865. The cable snapped after twelve hundred miles. 
 
On July 27, 1866, twelve years after the project began, the Great Eastern laid the third and successful Atlantic Cable, connecting the cable at Heart’s Content, a fishing village in Newfoundland, with the Telegraph Field (also known as Longitude Field) Foilhommerum Bay,Valentia Island, in western Ireland. Communication by electric telegraph between Europe and America was finally established on a permanent basis. The first message sent over the cable was “A treaty of peace has been signed between Austria and Prussia."
 
(This entry was last revised on 03-14-2015.)
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Paul Pretsch's "Photographic Art Treasures," the First Book of Printed Reproductions of Photographs 1854 – July 1857

In 1854 Viennese photographer resident in London Paul Pretsch patented a process called "photo-galvanography" for the printed reproduction of photographs. The first print that Pretsch issued was called "Scene in Gaeta after the Explosion." It was "the first relief half-tone and the first commercial use of half-tone" (Printing and the Mind of Man. Catalogue of the Exhibitions Held at the British Museum and at Earls Court, London [1963] No. 629).

In November 1856 Pretsch issued through his Patent-Photo-Galvano-Graphic Company the first fascicule of a book entitled in an oddly circular manner Photographic Art Treasures, or, Nature and Art Illustrated by Art and Nature. This fascicule, which also immodestly characterized itself as "A New Era in Art" on its printed cover, was the first part of the first book of printed reproductions of photographs, as distinct from books illustrated with pasted-in original photographs. A total of five fascicules were published between November 1856 and July 1857, each with 4 "photo-galvano-graphic" plates.

Pretsch's photo-galvanographic process began with a photographically exposed dichromated-gelatine mould which was made to reticulate, from which he produced a copper intaglio plate by galvanoplasty. His halftone method was not entirely original. Others had developed methods of engraving from photographs. As early as the 1830s William Fox Talbot had patented a method of using "photographic screens or veils" in connection with a photographic intaglio process.

"However, Pretsch's system achieved one thing that no others had previously managed— the inclusion of half-tones— the greys which make the photographic image unique. At the time, the half-tone dot screen had not yet been invented and all engravings from photographs such as those used in the Illustrated London News from Fenton's Crimea portraits, were hand-drawn impressions of the original photograph. Even the more advanced process which Pretsch was now attempting to market did not completely dispose of the need for long and careful hand-retouching on the part of the engraver and it took an average of six weeks hard work to prepare just one plate. After all that work, only about five hundred prints could be made before the image started to break up. As with all such processes, the first prints were of a far superior quality to the last— so a sliding scale of charges was evolved, the price depending on the state of the plate at the time the print was made. . . .

"Pretsch was no photographer, however, and he left it to others to provide the pictures for his patent process. Roger Fenton took up his appointment as manager of the Photographic Department and chief photographer, in August 1857. . . .In the short time Fenton had been employed at Holloway Place, the company's head office in Holloway Road, he had not had time to acquire prints by other photographers and so that the first publication of four prints [in the first fascicule of Photographic Art Treasures] was entirely his own work. . . ." (Hannaway, Roger Fenton of Crimble Hall [1976] 65-67).

Paul William Morgan, "Paul Pretsch, Photogalvanography and Photographic Art Treasures," accessed 01-12-2015).

Goldschmidt & Naef, The Truthful Lens (1980) No. 131.

(This entry was last revised on 01-12-2015.)

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Allen's Victoria Regia: The First Large Scale Chromolithographed Book Produced in the U.S. 1854

John Fisk Allen's Victoria Regia; or the Great Water Lily of America, With a Brief Account of its Discovery and Introduction into Cultivation: with Illustrations by William Sharp, from Specimens Grown at Salem, Massachusetts, U.S.A., Printed and Published for the Author by Dutton & Wentworth of Boston, was the first large scale color printed book produced in the United States. Its pages measure 21 x 26.5 inches. Its six life-size images were chromolithographed by William Sharp, and of these, one was after a drawing by Allen, and the remaining five were drawn by Sharp specifically to be reproduced by chromolithography. 

America's first chromolithographic printer, William Sharp emigrated to Boston from England in the late 1830s, after working in London for the pioneer lithographer and chromolithographer Charles Hullmandel. Sharp produced the first chromolithograph in the United States in 1840, and his career culminated in Victoria Regia, the plates of which Reese describes as having "printed colors with a delicacy of execution and technical brilliance never before achieved in the United States." Sharp's work was partly successful because the five plates he designed were specifically intended to be printed by chromolithography. The very large format reflects the extraordinary size of the lily; its leaves grow several inches a day until they reach up to 6 feet long, and are strong enough to support the weight of a child. The flowers are 12 to 17 inches in diameter.

Allen's text provides a history of the cultivation of the lily, which was introduced into England after being discovered on the Amazon in the 1830s. Victoria had recently been crowned, and the lily was named in her honor. Allen's lily was given to him by Caleb Frederick Cope, to whom the book is dedicated. Cope, president of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, was the first American to cultivate this lily. The scientific name of the illy is Victoria amazonica.

Reese 19,  Marzio, Democratic Art pp. 18, 215, 279-80.

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Mirza Mohammad-Vali Hakimbashi Introduces Western Anatomical Illustration into Persian Culture 1854

In 1271 A. H. (1854 CE) Persian physician Mirza Mohammad-Vali Hakimbashi issued Cheragh haa rewshenaaa der asewl pezeshekea [Illumination of the fundamentals of medicine] from Tabriz at the Dar al-Tabae [State Printing House]. This lithographed book was the first work to introduce Western anatomical illustration into Persian Culture.

During the 19th century, under the rule of the Qajar dynasty, Persia (now Iran) increased its contacts with European governments, while at the same time enjoying periods of relative political stability and a growing sense of nationalism. In the arena of public health and medical education, these influences resulted in “a mounting sense of responsibility on the part of the Government with regard to its citizenry. Moreover, an emerging sense of national ‘shame’ [aberou] in the face of staggering epidemics, together with a growing need to counter Western imperial interventions resulted in stronger stimuli for the promotion of an organized policy of public health. Hence, Iran’s social, military, economic and mercantile interests became stronger advocates of sanitary reform” (Afkhami, p. 122).

In 1851, at the urging of Prime Minister Mirza Taghi Khan Farahani (میرزا تقی‌خان فراهانی‎) known as Amir Kabir (امیرکبیر‎), Persia established its first modern institution of higher learning, the Dar al-Fonun (Persianدارالفنون‎) (English: Polytechnic, now the University of Tehran), which included a medical school for the training of army physicians. “Whereas Iranian Hakims of the mid-19th century could, in hindsight, have claimed to rival their European counterparts in therapeutics, a superior anatomical knowledge on the part of Western surgeons made them better caregivers on battlefields. Consequently, clinical instruction became a cornerstone of the Dar al-Fonun and like the academies of Europe, Amir Kabir also founded a ‘Government Hospital’ in January 1850 for the purpose of instructing medical students” (Afkhami, p. 123).

As part of this effort to modernize medical education in Persia, medical textbooks such as Mirza Mohammad-Vali’s Illumination of the Fundamentals of Medicine were written or translated by Persian authors and printed by lithography for publication by the Dar al-Fonun or the Dar al-Tabae, the state printing house established in the 1840s. Mirza Mohammad-Vali, who had been named chief physician of the Persian army in 1852, was also supervisor of the physicians at the Government Hospital and most likely taught at the Dar al-Fonun. Mirza Mohammad’s dependence on Western sources in this early period of modern Persian medical education is evident in his book’s numerous anatomical illustrations, adapted from Vesalius, Scarpa, Fabrici and other European authors.

The Qajar period also saw the introduction of the lithographic press, the first successful method for the mass production of books in Persia. Several attempts had been made to establish letterpress printing in Persia beginning in the 17th century, but casting type in Arabic script raised technical problems beyond those faced by typographers creating Roman typefaces, and it was not until the 1820s, when the first lithographic printing press began operating in Tabriz, that books, newspapers and other printed material began to be manufactured in Persia on a large scale.

“By the late 1840s, there were already at least six lithographic printing houses at work in Tehran, and dozens of books were published. From this time on, one can speak of regular lithographic book printing in Persia. The reasons for the success of the lithographic method of printing are obvious and well-known: simpler and cheaper equipment in comparison to that required for the typographic printing, availability of a large number of professional copyists, and the traditional culture of calligraphy. Although considerably less expensive than manuscripts, lithographed books retained the usual format of the handwritten codex in a sturdy binding . . . In the latter part of the 1840s, the State Printing House (dar al-taba a-ye dowlati) began its work; and was operative until the end of the first decade of the 20th century. After the opening of the Dar al-fonun (the first modern polytechnic on European lines in Persia) in 1851, a lithographic press was established within it for printing teaching aids. Activities of these two printing houses were of some significance for the cultural and scientific life of Persia, since they published books on new subjects: manuals on exact and natural sciences, both translated and original, and works on history and geography” (Shcheglova).

Afkhami, “Epidemics and the emergence of an international sanitary policy in Iran,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 19 (1999): 122-134. Shcheglova, Olimpiada P. “Lithography 1. In Persia,” Encyclopaedia Iranica. 15 Aug. 2009, accessed 04-24-2015).  Ebrahimnejad, Medicine, Public Health and the Qajar State: Patterns of Modernization in Nineteenth-Century Iran (2004), p. 51. 

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David Edward Hughes Invents a Mechanism for Printing Telegraph Messages 1855

The Hughes telegraph, the first telegraph printing text on a paper tape; this one was manufactureed by Siemens and Halske, Germany (Warsaw Muzeum Techniki).

David Edward Hughes.

In London in 1854 David Edward Hughes invented the first perfected mechanism for printing telegraph messages, using a keyboard in which each key caused the corresponding letter to be printed at a distant receiver. Hughes's printing mechanism worked something like a "golfball" typewriter, but it was produced before the typewriter was invented.

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Matthew Maury Writes the First Widely Read 19th Century Textbook of Oceanography and Atmospherics 1855

The Physical Geography of the Sea published in New York in 1855 by American astronomer, oceanographer, meteorologist and cartographer Matthew Fontaine Maury, was most widely read study of the oceans published in the nineteenth century, and the first book to deal exclusively with marine science since Marsigli's Histoire physique de la mer (1725). The book grew out of Maury's work as superintendent of the United States Naval Observatiory and Hydrographic Office in compiling observations, mostly of wind and weather, for use in the navigation of sailing ships. Paying more attention to the atmosphere than to the waters of the sea, Maury presented the first attempt at forumulating a general system of circulation of the atmosphere, and derived from it many features of the climates of the earth. Maury's book was also notable for its thematic maps of ocean currents, ocean depths and other oceanographic information.

However, Maury was not a professionally trained scientist, and his system was not acceptable to the professional scientists of his day, but by provoking refutations his book did bring about valuable advances toward understanding the mechanism of the atmosphere. From a "scientific" standpoint, the most worthwhile part of Maury's book was his account of observations of the temperature of the surface of the sea and of the relief and sedments of its bed, largely made under his direction on vessels of the U.S. Navy.

Deacon, Scientists and the Sea 1650-1900 (1971) 293-295.  Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 1463.

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Thomas Addison Describes "Addison's Disease" 1855

Detail of lithograph from Addison's On the Constitutional and Local Effects of Disease of the Suprarenal Capsules. Please click on link to view and resize larger image.  

Title page of Addison's On the Constitutional and Local Effects of Disease of the Suprarenal Capsules. Please click on link to view and resize larger image.

Thomas Addison.

English physician Thomas Addison published in London On the Constitutional and Local Effects of Disease of the Suprarenal Capsules (1855)This beautiful monograph in small folio format with 11 hand-colored lithographs inaugurated the study of diseases of the ductless glands and the disturbances in chemical equilibrium known as pluriglandular syndromes. Addison chanced upon adrenal disease while searching for the causes of pernicious anemia. His initial paper on the subject. entitled "On Anemia: Disease of the Suprarenal Capsules" (1849), attempted to link the two diseases.  Addison's 1855 monograph focused on diseases of the suprarenal capsules and contained the classic description of the endocrine disturbance known as "Addison's disease" (also known as chronic adrenal insufficiency, hypocortisolism, and hypocorticism). Addison was also the first to suggest that the adrenal glands are essential for life, and his monograph inspired a burst of experimental research that led, among other things, to Edmé Félix Alfred Vulpian's discovery of adrenalin one year later, in 1856.

Addison, a brilliant researcher and diagnostician, is traditionally regarded as one of the "great men" of Guy's Hospital, where he worked and taught for over forty years. Shy and taciturn, Addison suffered from several bouts of severe depression during his lifetime, and eventually committed suicide in 1860. It would seem that Addison's mental instability precluded him from giving any copies of his book to his friends, as we know of no other presentation copies of this work except one from his widow, which we handled in 2010. That copy was in a very special original cloth binding in which the normal lettering within the gilt cartouche on the upper cover ("On Disease of the Supra Renal Capsules by Thomas Addison, M.D.") was replaced by the words "Presented by Mrs. Addison." The work was inscribed to Dr. Henry Lonsdale, who was physician to the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle; he was also the author of The Worthies of Cumberland (1873), which contained a 12-page memoir of Addison.

Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) No. 8. Norman, One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine, 60c. 

(This entry was last revised on 03-14-2015.)

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Isaiah Deck Describes the Production of Mummy Paper in Nineteenth Century America 1855

In 1855  Anglo-American physician, geologist, archaeologist and explorer Isaiah Deck (the younger) published  “On a Supply of Paper Material from the Mummy Pits of Egypt,” Transactions of the American Institute of the City of New-York, for the year 1854. (Albany, 1855) 83-93.

"On an earlier copper prospecting trip to Jamaica, Deck had evaluated other sources for paper including aloe, plantain, banana and dagger-grass, but none were acceptable. Thus, already preoccupied with paper and paper sources, Deck set out on a trip to Egypt in 1847 to search for Cleopatra’s lost emerald mines. Deck’s father, also named Isaiah, had known Giovanni Belzoni, a famous Italian robber of Egyptian tombs; Deck the younger thus inherited from his father some Egyptian artifacts, including a piece of linen from a mummy.

"While searching for the lost mines, Deck couldn’t help but notice the plethora of mummies and mummy parts that turned up in communal burial sites called 'mummy pits.' He wrote, 'So numerous are they in some localities out of the usual beaten tracks of most travelers, that after the periodical storms whole areas may be seen stripped of sand, and leaving fragments and limbs exposed in such plenty and variety.' Deck did some calculations: assume two thousand years of widespread embalming, an average life span of thirty-three years and a stable population of eight million. This would leave you with about five hundred million mummies. Add to that the number of mummified animals including cats, bulls and crocodiles, and the number drastically rises. Deck also states, 'it is by no means rare to find above 30 lbs. weight of linen wrappings on mummies…A princess from the late Mr. Pettigrew’s collection was swathed in 40 thicknesses, producing 42 yards of the finest texture.' Deck further calculated that the average consumption of paper in America is about 15 lbs. per person per year. This meant that the supply from Egyptian mummies would be able to keep up with the American demand for about 14 years, by which point a substitute supply source or material would likely have been discovered, rendering the need for rags unnecessary" (Wikipedia article on Mummy Paper, accessed 01-10-2013).

Confirmation that American paper was actually made from rags or papyrus taken from mummies is scarce. One proof is a broadside preserved in Brown University Libraries entitled Hymn for the bi-centennial anniversary of the settlement of Norwich, Conn published in connection with the Bi-Centennial Celebration of Norwich, CT, September 7-8, 1859. At the foot of this broadside we read:

"Chelsea Manufacturing Company. This paper is made by the Chelsea Manufacturing Company, Greeneville, Conn. The largest paper manufactory in the world. The material of which it is made, was brought from Egypt. It was taken from the ancient tombs where it had been used in embalming mummies. A part of the process of manufacturing is exhibited in the procession. The daily production of the Company's mills is about 14,000 pounds."

Wolfe & Singerman, Mummies in Nineteenth Century America. Mummies as Artifacts (2009).

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The "Illustrated London News" Christmas Supplement, the First Newspaper Printed in Color December 22, 1855

On December 22, 1855 the Illustrated London News issued its "Christmas Supplement." Pages [729]-736 consisted of an an 8-page insert printed on somewhat thicker paper than the regular issues of the newspaper, containing a full-color cover and 3 additional full-page color images printed from woodblocks by George Leighton, who had apprenticed with George Baxter. Each color print was credited "George C. Leighton Red Lion Square." Two of the images were "after Sir John Gilbert," one "after 'Phiz'," and one "after G. Thomas."  The remainder of the "Christmas Supplement" (Vol. XXVII, No. 776, pp. [737]-752), was printed in black and white.

"John Gilbert. . .was the most prolific graphic artist of his day. He drew for Punch and for the London Journal, but  the greatest portion of his work was done for the Illustrated London News, for which he is reputed to have made 30,000 drawings, at one period providing two-thirds of all their illustrations. The deadlines inherent to weekly journalism required Gilbert to produce his pictures with great speed, and it is said that he could make a full-page drawing directly on the wood block while a messenger waited. When particular speed was necessary he could even unscrew the individual squares of wood which constituted a large block and send the finished parts to the engraver piecemeal without seeing the whole design until it was printed" (Friedman, Color Printing in England 1486-1870 [1978] No. 78).

Leighton's production of these first color images proved that color printing could be done in high volume to meet the high circulation of the Illustrated London News, and at comparatively low cost. "The designs were engraved as woodcuts in the ordinary way, and the impressions from them coloured by etched tone blocks; both blocks and colouring are extremely crude, but the idea caught on with the public and Leighton could not produce the plates fast enough to satisfy the demand" (Burch, Colour Printing and Colour Printers [1910] 147). 

"This was the launch of coloured journalism, a revolution still continuing and one which will not be complete until daily newspapers are in full colour throughout. In addition to the title page Leighton produced for the supplement a convivial Christmas scene entitled 'Returning from Church' and two other full -page colour prints" (Gascoigne, Milestones in colour printing 1457-1859 [1997] 52, plate 20).

In August 1858 Leighton became the printer and publisher of the Illustrated London News. He continued color printing from wood blocks, or wood blocks combined with metal cuts, until the 1880s, when the process was replaced by chromolithography. 

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Geroge Parker Bidder, One of the Most Remarkable Human Computers 1856

In 1856 George Parker Bidder, an engineer and one of the most remarkable human computers of all time, published his paper on Mental Calculation. (See Reading 3.1)

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Andrea Crestadoro Describes Keyword in Context Indexing 1856

In 1856 bibliographer Andrea Crestadoro, an acquaintance of Anthony Panizzi, exasperated with delays in production of the British Museum Catalogue of Printed Books, published anonymously The Art of Making Catalogues of Libraries, or a Method to Obtain a Most Perfect Complete and Satisfactory Printed Catalogue of the British Museum Library by a Reader Therein.

Crestadoro's booklet served as basis for a catalogue code. "In it he advocated the idea of the 'inventorial' catalog which would have detailed entries arranged in order of accession. The library patron was to be provided access to the entries through an alphabetical index of names and subjects. The Public Library of Manchester, England adopted this approach for its catalog and hired Crestadoro to implement it there in 1864. Like Panizzi, Crestadoro intended to have his catalog serve the needs of catalog users, but the rules of his code were not based on an empirical investigation of those needs" (J. R. Hufford, The Pragmatic Basis of Catalog Codes: Has the User Been Ignored [2007] 29).

At the end of his pamphlet Crestadoro advocated production of a universal catalogue of all publications.

Crestadoro implemented his ideas for Keyword in Context Indexing (KWIC) in the Catalogue of the Manchester Free Library: Reference Department  (1864). 

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Hermann von Helmholtz Issues "Physiological Optics", Over 11 Years 1856 – 1867

Title page of Hermann von Helmholtz's Handbuch der physiologischen Optik. Please click on link to view and resize entire page.

Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz

German physician, physicist, physiologist, and inventor Hermann von Helmholtz published his Handbuch der physiologischen Optik in 6 parts, as issued in Leipzig by the Allgemeine Encyklopädie der Physik over the 11 years between 1856-1867. Once all six parts, or Lieferungs, were published subscribers could have the book bound, but in this case each part contained a portion of at least one other work by a different author in the Encykopädie, as well as a portion of Helmholtz's book, so in order to have Helmoltz's book bound in coherent way it was necessary to take each of the six parts or fascicules apart to separate out the portions of Helmholtz's book. Probably for this reason only one copy seems to have survived in the original six parts. This copy, formerly in the library of Harrison D. Horblit, passed through my hands in 2011.

The Lieferungen containing Helmholtz’s Handbuch are as follows:

Erste Lieferung (first fascicle), 1856: Signatures 1-12, plates 1-3

Siebente Lieferung (seventh fascicle), 1860: Signatures 13-21, plates 4-5 Achte Lieferung (eighth fascicle), 1860: Signatures 22-27

Siebzehnte Lieferung (seventeenth fascicle), 1866: Signatures 28-32 Achtzehnte Lieferung (eighteenth fascicle), 1866: Signatures 33-41, plate 6 Neunzehnte Lieferung (nineteenth fascicle), 1867: Signatures 42-56, plus titles and preliminaries, plates 7-11

The title-page of the Handbuch in the nineteenth fascicle is dated 1867 (as it is in the book-form version), but Helmholtz noted in his preface to the work that “Die erste Abteilung des vorliegenden Handbuches ist schon im Jahre 1856 erschienen, die zweite 1860, die dritte teils Anfang, teils Ende 1866” (The first section of this manual was published in 1856, the second in 1860, the beginning of the third part in early and late 1866). Helmholtz explained the long delay in finishing the work as being due to both external circumstances (two changes of residence and the pressures of other scientific work) and internal reasons.

Helmholtz inaugurated the science of physiological optics in 1851 with his invention of the ophthamoscope, and his Handbuch der physiologischen Optik incorporates all of the research in this subject since that time. “Volume I, which appeared in 1856, contained a detailed treatment of the dioptrics of the eye . . . In it Helmholtz treated the various imperfections of the lens system and announced the result that the visual axis of the eye does not correspond to its optical axis. Volume I also elaborated Helmholtz’s theory of accommodation and his invention of the ophthalmometer, both announced in 1855. In Volume II Helmholtz introduced [Thomas] Young’s theory [of color vision], calling it a special application of Johannes Müller’s law of specific nerve energies. He also dealt with the complex phenomena of irradiation, afterimages and contrast, which had dominated the interest of German physiologists since Goethe’s Farbehlehre” (Dictionary of Scientific Biography).

Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) No. 1046.

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Historians Stanhope, Macaulay & Carlyle Found the National Portrait Gallery December 2, 1856

On December 2, 1856 biographers and historians Philip Henry Stanhope, Thomas Babington Macaulay and Thomas Carlyle founded the National Portrait Gallery in London as:

" '...a gallery of original portraits, such portraits to consist as far as possible of those persons who are most honourably commemorated in British history as warriors or as statesmen, or in arts, in literature or in science' " (http://www.npg.org.uk/about/history.php, accessed 02-25-2009).

Among the founder Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery were Stanhope as Chairman, Macaulay, Benjamin Disraeli and Lord Ellesmere, a former Trustee of the National Gallery, who offered to the nation the so-called Chandos portrait of Shakespeare, which became the first picture to enter the Gallery's collection. On Ellesmere's death in 1857 Carlyle became a Trustee.

"The National Portrait Gallery was established with the criteria that the Gallery was to be about history, not about art, and about the status of the sitter, rather than the quality or character of a particular image considered as a work of art" (from the link cited above).

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William Farr Publishes the First Instances of a Printing Calculator Used to Do Original Work 1857 – 1864

In 1859 English statistician and epidemiologist William Farr published "On the Construction of  Life-Tables, Illustrated by a New Life-Table of the Healthy Districts of England," Philosophical Transactions 149, pt. 2 (1859) 837-78. This was the first report describing the use of the Scheutz Engine no. 3 to prepare life tables, and it included a table calculated and typeset by the calculator. Farr, a pioneer in the quantitative study of morbidity and mortality, was chief statistician of the General Register Office, England's central statistical office. Influenced by Charles Babbage, he had long been interested in the use of a calculating machine such as Babbage's Difference Engine No. 1 to compute life tables. On page 854 of his paper Farr referred to his 1843 letter on this subject to the registrar-general. Farr had seen and tested the machine's predecessor, the Scheutz Engine no. 2, when it was on display in London. It was at Farr's recommendation that the British government authorized in 1857 the sum of £1200 for the Scheutz Engine no. 3 to be constructed by the firm of Bryan Donkin, a manufacturer of machinery, including those for the color printing of bank notes and stamps. Costs overran and Donkin delivered the machine in July 1859, several weeks past the deadline, at a loss of £615 (Lindgren 1987, 224-25). Farr's preliminary report, received by the Royal Society on March 17 of 1859, was written while the Scheutz Engine no. 3 was still "in the course of construction by the Messrs. Donkin" (p. 854). The report's table B1, "Life-Table of Healthy English Districts," made from stereotype plates produced by the calculator, represents the very first application of a difference engine to medical statistics.

Prior to their production of their Difference Engine No. 3, in 1857 the Scheutz brothers had brought the Scheutz Engine no. 2 from Sweden to London, where it was used to produce Specimens of Tables, Calculated, Stereomoulded, and Printed by Machinery. (London, 1857. These were the first mathematical tables calculated and typeset by a mechanical calculator. 

The Scheutz Difference Engine No. 2 was purchased in 1857 by the Dudley Observatory in Albany, New York. The following year the observatory used the machine in the computation of tables for the planet Mars; however, these were experimental and probably never printed on paper (Lindgren 1978, 211). The Scheutzes, Farr, and the Dudley Observatory were the first to use the Scheutz calculator in a scientific context.

In 1864 Farr published English Life Table. Tables of Lifetimes, annuities, and premiums. . . . Published by authority of the Registrar-General of births, deaths and marriages in England. The colophon leaf of this book indicated that 500 copies were printed. Farr's English Life Table contained, what was for its time, a tremendous amount of data— 6.5 million deaths sorted by age. Included in English Life Table no. 3 were the first lengthy working tables produced by the Scheutz printing calculator— the first instance of such a machine being used extensively to do original work. However, none of the hoped-for benefits of mechanizing the calculation of the tables were realized, since the Scheutz machine failed to include any of Babbage's security mechanisms to guard against mechanical error, and it required constant maintenance.

The machine did accomplish some of the typesetting which it stamped into stereotype plates; however, the process was so problematic that there was little cost savings from automation. Of the 600 pages of printed tables in the book, only 28 pages were composed entirely by the machine; a further 216 pages were partially composed by the machine, and the rest were typeset by hand. Nor was there the hoped-for savings from using the machine to prepare stereotype plates. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, printer of the volume, stated that having the machine set the entire book automatically would have saved only 10 percent over the cost of conventional typesetting (Swade, The Cogwheel Brain [2000] 203-8).

Pages cxxxix-cxliv contained Farr's appendix entitled "Scheutz's calculating machine and its use in the construction of the English life table no. 3," in which he emphasized the usefulness of the new machine, but also the delicacy and skill necessary for its operation:

The Machine required incessant attention. The differences had to be inserted at the proper terms of the various series, checking was required, and when the mechanism got out of order it had to be set right. Of the first watch nothing is known, but the first steam-engine was indisputably imperfect; and here we had to do with the second Calculating Machine as it came from the designs of its constructors and from the workshop of the engineer. The idea had been as beautifully embodied in metal by Mr. Bryan Donkin as it had been conceived by the genius of its inventors; but it was untried. So its work had to be watched with anxiety, and its arithmetical music had to be elicited by frequent tuning and skilful handling, in the quiet most congenial to such productions.

This volume is the result; and thus—if I may use the expression—the soul of the Machine is exhibited in a series of Tables which are submitted to the criticism of the consummate judges of this kind of work in England and in the world (p. cxl)

Farr also noted Babbage's contribution to the venture—it was Babbage who "explained the principles [of the Scheutz calculator] and first demonstrated the practicability of performing certain calculations, and printing the results by machinery" (p. xiii).

Having invested so much time and money in the project while realizing only token gains, the British government showed little patience with the Scheutz calculating machine. The General Register Office soon reverted to manual calculations by human computers employing logarithms, which they used until the GRO's conversion to mechanical calculation methods in 1911.  

Hook & Norman, Origins of Cyberspace (2002) Nos. 77 & 85.

(This entry was last revised on 01-14-2015.)

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Hugh Miller Issues the First Book to Include a Photograph of its Author 1857

Self-taught Scottish geologist and writer, folklorist and evangelical Christian Hugh Miller published in Edinburgh The Testimony of the Rocks; or, Geology in its Bearings on the Two Theologies, Natural and Revealed. 

Miller's book was the first to include a photograph of its author, and only a small portion of the edition contained the photograph. The portrait shows the bearded and extremely hirsute Miller seated at a table reading. Miller believed that the fossil record confirmed, in broad outline, the cosmic drama depicted symbolically in the Bible. He opposed evolutionary theory, and argued vehemently for man's separation from the lower animals. This was Miller's last work; he committed suicide while seeing it through the press.

"For most of the year 1856, the brilliant researcher and speaker had been bothered by terrible headaches that seemed to burn inside his head. Had he lived in the 20th century, Miller's doctors could have diagnosed the problem. Perhaps it was a tumor that caused the headaches, and later, the awful hallucinations. Victorian-era medicine could not help. He feared that he might harm his wife or children during his delusions in which he pursued imaginary robbers with his gun. Miller committed suicide the night he finished checking printers' proofs for his book on Scottish fossil plants and vertebrates, The Testimony of the Rocks. Before his death, he wrote a poem called Strange but True" (Wikipedia article on Hugh Miller, accessed 10-26-2009)

Gernsheim, Incunabula of British Photographic Literature, 67.

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The First Dust Jackets in the Flap-Style on Books Printed in English 1857

According to Mark R. Godburn, the earliest jackets in the flap-style— as opposed to all-enclosing sealed wrapping style on English annuals that are reported on books printed in English— are on a four volume set of The Comprehensive History of England, by Charles MacFarlane and Thomas Thomson, published in London by Blackie & Sons in 1857. "The printing on the jackets (reported by the indefatigable John Carter in 1968) includes the price of the books."

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Lorin Blodget Founds of American Climatology and Meteorology 1857

The first comprehensive American work on climatology and meteorology was the American physicist and meteorologist Lorin Blodget's Climatology of the United States, and of the Temperate Latitudes of the North American Content, Embraciing a Full Comparison of these with The Climatology of the Temperate Latitudes of Europe and Asia, and Especially in Regard to Agriculture, Sanitary Investigations, and Engineering, with Isothermal and Rain Charts, published in Philadelphia in 1857. This book was illustrated with 12 folding maps and charts. Based on research that Blodget compiled at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C., it was published three years after Blodget was fired from his position at the Smithsonian by its Secretary, Joseph Henry, because of a political dispute in which Blodget sided with Assistant Secretary Charles C. Jewett over the creation of a national library at the Smithsonian. 

According to Rittner, A to Z of Scientists in Weather and Climate (2009), Blodget's career does not seem to have been negatively impacted after he left the Smithsonian. He published numerous other works on statistics and meterology, including several later meterological maps:

"For a number of years after the Henry affair, Blodget worked with engineers on the pacific railroad surveys, determining altitudes and gradients and creating meteorological charts. During this period, he further develped the techniques as mapmaker and would forever draw his own maps for his and other publications." (Rittner p. 25).

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Richard Chenevix Trench Describes the Need for What Would Become the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) 1857

Richard Chenevix Trench, Dean of Westminster, published On some Deficiencies in our English Dictionaries. Being the Substance of two Papers read before the Philological Society, Nov. 5 and November 19, 1857. Trench's speeches laid down the desiderata for a new English dictionary based on historical principles. Two months later the Philological Society resolved that A New English Dictionary, as it was first called, should be compiled, readers were called for, and the project began.

In 1860 Trench published a revised and enlarged second edition of his pamphlet, including "A Letter to the Author from Herbert Coleridge, Esq. on the Progress and Prospects of the Society's New English Dictionary."

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Jules Antoine Lissajous Describes Lissajous Figures 1857

In 1857 Jules Antoine Lissajous, professor of mathematics at the Lycée Saint-Louis in Paris, published "Mémoire sur l'Etude optique des mouvements vibratoires,"  Annales de chimie et de physique, 3rd series, 51 (1857) 147-232, 2 folding plates. Lissajous's paper on his optical method of studying vibration gave rise to the widely used "Lissajous figures," or Lissajous curves, defined mathematically as curves in the xy plane generated by the functions y = a sin (w1t + q1) and x = b sin (w2t + q2) where w1 and w2 are small integers.

"Like some other physicists of his time, Lissajous was interested in demonstrations of vibration that did not depend on the sense of hearing. . . . [His] most important research, first described in 1855, was the invention of a way to study acoustic vibrations by reflecting a light beam from the vibrating object onto a screen. . . . Lissajous produced two kinds of luminous curves. In the first kind, light is reflected from a tuning fork (to which a small mirror is attached), and then from a large mirror that is rotated rapidly. . . . The second kind of curve, named the 'Lissajous figure,' is more useful. The light beam is successively reflected from mirrors on two forks that are vibrating about mutually perpendicular axes. Persistence of vision causes various curves, whose shapes depend on the relative frequency, phase, and amplitude of the forks' vibrations. . . . If one of the forks is a standard, the form of the curve enables an estimate of the parameters of the other. As Lissajous said, they enable one to study beats (the ellipses rotate as the phase difference changes). 'Lissajous figures' have been, and still are, important in this respect" (DSB).

Lissajous figures are sometimes used in graphic design as logos. Examples include the logos of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (a = 1, b = 3, d = p/2) and the Lincoln Laboratory at MIT (a = 4, b = 3, d = 0).

Prior to modern computer graphics, Lissajous curves were typically generated using an oscilloscope. Two phase-shifted sinusoid inputs are applied to the oscilloscope in X-Y mode and the phase relationship between the signals is presented as a Lissajous figure. Lissajous curves can also be traced mechanically by means of a harmonograph. They often appear in computer screensavers.

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"The Art Treasures of Great Britain," Perhaps the Largest Art Exhibition ever Held May 5 – October 17, 1857

During 142 days, from May 5 to October 17, 1857 The Art Treasures of Great Britain exhibition held in Manchester, England, displayed over 16,000 works of art. It was the largest art exhibition ever held in the United Kingdom, and probably the largest art exhibition ever held anywhere. The exhibition attracted 1,300,000 visitors— more than the 827,000 who attended in the The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, held from May 1 to October 11, 1851 at the Crystal Palace in London. One of the best published records of the exhibition was The Art-Treasures Examiner: A Pictorial, Cricial, and Historical Record of the Art-Treasures Exhibition, at Manchester in 1857. Illustrated with two dramatic full-page plates printed in color by Leighton, and about 150 wood-engravings, this small folio work was issued by Alexander Ireland in Manchester and W. H. Smith in London. 

In January 2015 a superb reproduction of a fine photograph of the main gallery of the exhibition taken by Leonida Caldesi and Mattia Montecchi was available from the John Rylands University Library at this link. This image was the first print after the contents page of the "Ancient Series" volume of the two-volume "Ancient" and "Modern" series, Photographs of the Gems of the Art Treasures Exhibition (London: Colnaghi & Agnew, 1858). This set published 200 photographs of what were considered some of the most significant items displayed.

"The exhibition was held outside the city centre. . . The site was conveniently adjacent to Manchester Botanical Garden and to the west of an existing railway line of the Manchester, South Junction and Altrincham Railway. The railway company built a new station (now Old Trafford Metrolink station) which was used by thousands of visitors from the city and from further afield on organised excursions. C.D. Young & Co, of London and Edinburgh – already engaged as builders of the new art museum in South Kensington (which later became the V [ictoria]& A[lbert]) – were appointed as contractors to build a temporary iron-and-glass structure similar to the Crystal Palace in London, 656 feet (200 m) long and 200 feet (61 m) wide, with one central barrel vault 56 feet (17 m) wide with a 24 feet (7.3 m) wide hip vault on either side roofing a 104 feet (32 m) wide central gallery running the length of the building, and narrower barrel vaults 45 feet (14 m) wide to either side, all crossed by a 104 feet (32 m) transept towards the western end.[9] The design of the main structure has been attributed to Francis Fowke,[10] who later designed the Natural History Museum in London, and an ornamental brick entrance at the eastern end was designed by local architect Edward Salomons. The materials used included 650 long tons (660 t) of cast iron, 600 long tons (610 t) of wrought iron, 65,000 square feet (6,000 m2) of glass and 1.5 million bricks.

"Internally, the building included a large hall, with corrugated iron sides and vaults supported by iron columns, with space for an orchestra at one end and a large pipe organ by Kirtland and Jardine. Each column bore the exhibition's monogram: "ATE". The hall was subdivided internally by partitions, creating separate galleries. The interior was lined with wood panels covered with calico. Most internal decoration was done by John Gregory Crace of London. A 24-foot (7.3 m) wide gallery ran around the transept at an upper level. The central third of each vault was glazed, providing ample diffuse light. In the summer, the glazing in the picture galleries was shaded with calico to prevent damage to the artworks, and firemen played water on the roof as a form of rudimentary air conditioning when the interior temperature exceeded 70 °F (21 °C). Young & Co's original quote of £24,500 proved over-optimistic, and cost overruns pushed the final bill up to £37,461" (Wikipedia article on Art Treasures Exhbition, Manchester 1857, accessed 08-25-2013).

"The exhibition comprised over 16,000 works split into 10 categories – Pictures by Ancient Masters, Pictures by Modern Masters, British Portraits and Miniatures, Water Colour Drawings, Sketches and Original Drawings (Ancient), Engravings, Illustrations of Photography, Works of Oriental Art, Varied Objects of Oriental Art, and Sculpture. The collection included 5,000 paintings and drawings by "Modern Masters" such as Hogarth, Gainsborough, Turner, Constable, and the Pre-Raphaelites, and 1,000 works by European Old Masters, including Rubens, Raphael, Titian and Rembrandt; several hundred sculptures; photographs, including Crimean War images by James Robertson and the photographic tableau Two Ways of Life by Oscar Gustave Rejlander; and other works of decorative arts, such as Wedgwood china, Sèvres and Meissen porcelain, Venetian glass, Limoges enamels, ivories, tapestries, furniture, tableware and armour. The Committee bought the collection of Jules Soulages of Toulouse, founder of the Société Archéologique du Midi de la France for £13,500 to form the core of the collection of medieval and Renaissance decorative arts. The collection had previously been exhibited at Marlborough House in London with a view to being acquired for the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A), but HM Treasury refused to fund the purchase. They were later acquired by the V&A.

"The works were organised chronologically, to demonstrate the development of art, with works from northern Europe on one wall contrasted with contemporaneous works from southern Europe on the facing wall. Although the collection included works from Europe and the Orient, it had a clear emphasis on British works.

"Most public British collections were in a nascent state, so most of the works were borrowed from 700 private collections. Many had never been exhibited in public before. The exhibition included the Madonna and Child with Saint John and the Angels, which had only recently been attributed to Michelangelo. The showing of this unfinished work caused much excitement, and it is still known as the Manchester Madonna" (Wikipedia. op. cit.).

Pergam, The Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition of 1857. Entrepreneurs, Connoiseurs and the Public (2011).

(This entry was last revised on 01-12-2015.)

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Queen Victoria Charters the First Distance Learning Program 1858

In 1858 Queen Victoria chartered the University of London's External Programme, making it the first university to offer distance learning degrees by mail to students. Charles Dickens referred to the non-denominational University of London as the "People's University" because it provided access to higher education to students from less affluent backgrounds,

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Florence Nightingale's Rose Diagram 1858 – January 1859

Detail from Nightingale's "Diagram of the Causes of Mortality in the Army of the East. Please click on the link below to view and resize full image.  Please see http://understandinguncertainty.org/coxcombs for an interactive version of the coxcombs.

Florence Nightingale.

In 1858 nurse, statistician, and reformer Florence Nightingale published Notes on Matters Affecting the Health, Efficiency, and Hospital Administration of the British Army. Founded Chiefly on the Experience of the Late War. Presented by Request to the Secretary of State for War. This privately printed work contained a color statistical graphic entitled "Diagram of the Causes of Mortality in the Army of the East" which showed that epidemic disease, which was responsible for more British deaths in the course of the Crimean War than battlefield wounds, could be controlled by a variety of factors including nutrition, ventilation, and shelter. The graphic, which Nightingale used as a way to explain complex statistics simply, clearly, and persuasively, has become known as Nightingale's "Rose Diagram." 

In January 1859 Nightingale more offically published and distributed  A Contribution to the the Sanitary History of the British Army During the Late War with Russia. This also contained a copy of the Rose Diagram.

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Perhaps the Earliest Australian Type Specimen and Trade Catalogue 1858

In 1858 Specimens of the Fancy Borders, Types, etc., etc., Belonging to the Proprietors of the "Register" and "Observer" General and Fancy Printing Office was issued by the "Register" General Printing Office in Adelaide, Australia. This octavo pamphlet consisted of a blank at each end and 62 leaves printed on rectos including the title. Its title and four pages were printed in color with silver or gold on three of those pages. Until a copy appeared on the Australian antiquarian book market in February 2013 this publication appears to have been unrecorded.

This annotation appeared on the website of Australian rare book dealer Richard Neylon, of St. Mary's, Tasmania, who offered the copy for sale for $12,500 Australian on February 20, 2013:

"Nineteenth century Australian printer's catalogues or specimen books are, by decree, rare. Australian printers jammed their newspaper advertisements with as many faces as they could hold and pretty much left it at that. Degotardi's 1861 Art of Printing, the first Australian book on printing - more an advertisement and specimen book than manual, though it is a specimen book of printing processes rather than types - has always been a lonely book in Australian bibliography. There is a pretty long gap in the records until the next entries in which the printing trade displays its wares. Until we're well into the seventies there survives a handful of single sheets and scraps, nothing else until this book popped up. And this doesn't fill a gap, it pushes the line further back, predating as it does Degotardi by three years. Are these Australian types? Many of the cuts, maybe some of the ornaments are undoubtedly local but it's no big deal to cut a wood block or engrave a small plate. Odd as it may sound I'm not sure it's important. As far as we're able to figure out Australian typefounding had pretty much peaked by 1860. The first nationalistic boast of local types was in 1843 with the claim that the Government Gazette was now using type founded by Alexander Thompson of Sydney - Thompson shipped his type, seemingly all small, utilitarian, sizes to Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide in the 1850s - and Degotardi boasted using local type in his book but doesn't tell us whose. The type books that survive from the seventies and eighties all lay claim to the quality of imported types and it would seem that great influx of population, trade and imports following the gold rush suffocated any nascent local manufacture. The smallest type in this book is a bit rough - usually a prompt for spotting colonial manufacture - but whether it's worn imported or worn local type I leave to the experts to decide. What is curious to me is that the passages of smaller type in these specimens haven't been proof read properly. I spotted a couple of sloppy mistakes without looking hard. So, is it the first Australian type book? Quite probably. We are in gold rush Australia with affluent merchants and tradesmen oozing out from the up-till-now flea-bitten society of feudal grandees and underclass and a flood of imports - including type and ornaments from England and America - and with those imports came the trade catalogues of manufacturers and merchants. A trade catalogue is not just a feature length advertisement, it has added ambition and pretension; it carries a message of assurance, of substance, permanence even. As a species trade catalogues barely exist before the 1860s in Australia. Take out auction catalogues and we are left with a few seed merchant lists and a pitiful clutch of flyers, nothing much else. How could a canny printer help but spot a market deserving a jump start? And what better way to inspire than to produce their own elaborate and ambitious catalogue? It didn't work. Degotardi's work, under the guise of instruction, maybe had a different impulse but even allowing for the poor survival rate of such things we still only have nothing much like another real trade catalogue of any sort until the late 1860's when Prince, Ogg & Co of Sydney issued a modest but undeniably illustrated and bound catalogue of their wares. So now I'm doubling the claim made for this slender book: not only is it the earliest Australian printer's type book, it's close to being the earliest true trade catalogue we have."

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Brixham Cave Supplies Proof of Human Antiquity January 1858 – 1874

In January 1858, during the course of quarrying operations, a bone cavern, Brixham Cave, was discovered on Windmill Hill overlooking the fishing port of Brixham, Devonshire, England. Unlike Kent’s Cavern, which had been explored at least since the 1820s, and possibly earlier, Brixham Cave was a sealed find: the entrance had been blocked by limestone fragments cemented with stalagmite, and the cave’s stalagmite floor was completely intact. Under the auspices of the Royal and Geological Societies, Brixham cave was carefully explored and excavated, using a plan of operation laid down by Scottish geologist and paleontologist Hugh Falconer, with British geologist and paleontologist William Pengelly supervising the work. While the details of their first meeting have not survived, it appears to have been a congenial one, since it led to the evolution of a cooperative plan to conduct a systematic excavation of the cave. Although the declared intention of this planned investigation was to gather more precise information on the sequence of fauna in Brixham prior to modern geological times (see Falconer’s petition to the Geological Society for funds, dated 10 May 1858), in Murchison, Palaeontological Memoirs and Notes of the Late Hugh Falconer Vol. 2 [1868] 487-491), there is every reason to suppose that both Pengelly and Falconer had also harbored the prospect that this cave might yield evidence relating to the question of human antiquity.

Shortly after excavation of Brixham cave began, the first human artifact—a flint knife—was found in the cave’s “Reindeer Gallery.” In all, 36 human artifacts were found in Brixham Cave, many in association with the bones of extinct animals. Several of the scientists on the excavation team, including Pengelly and Falconer, were convinced that the artifacts were coeval with the extinct animals; others, including Joseph Prestwich, Charles Lyell and Richard Owen, took a more conservative view, noting that cave deposits could be disturbed by interior flooding. Recognizing that this dispute could not be settled by cave evidence alone, Falconer traveled to Abbeville in 1858 to study the flint artifacts discovered by Boucher de Perthes in the gravel terraces of a Somme River valley. The following year, at Falconer’s urging, Prestwich made the same journey in the company of John Evans. The evidence that he and Evans saw at Abbeville provided Prestwich with the “unmistakable corroboration” he had been seeking to establish the case for human antiquity.

The archeological excavations conducted at Brixham Cave between July 1858 and June 1859, which yielded both fossil animal bones and flint artifacts, set in motion what Scottish geologist Roderick I. Murchison called a “great and sudden revolution in modern opinion” on the issue of human antiquity. Pengelly first reported on the finds at Brixham in September 1858 at the 28th meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, held at Leeds. An abbreviated version of his paper, entitled "On a Recently-Discovered Ossiferous Cavern at Brixham, near Torquay," was duly published in the BAAS proceedings in 1859. 

Because Brixham Cave was so large, and the finds within it so rich, the committee of scientists took an unusual amount of time and care to complete excavation of the cave. Joseph Prestwich's report, published sixteen years after the cave was discovered, represented the definitive account of its exploration and excavation:  "Report on the Exploration of Brixham Cave, Conducted by a Committee of the Geological Society" . . . " Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 163, part II (1874) 471–572; 7 plates. 

"From the outset, it was recognized that stratigraphic control was going to be a critical factor in this excavation, and, as such, Pengelly and [Joseph] Prestwich developed a method that would not only “avoid the risk of confounding the remains of different levels” but also ensure the proper identification and (approximate) location of all of the preserved materials, . . .  As Prestwich . . . subsequently noted, the implementation of such methods, together with the fact that the actual excavation was carefully monitored throughout by members of a committee that included some of England’s then most prestigious scientists, 'vitiated the results obtained in many other cave explorations, more especially in regard to the contested position of human industrial remains' (Spencer, History of Physical Anthropology: An Encyclopedia [1997] 215-217).

Gruber, Jacob. "Brixham Cave and the Antiquity of Man" In M.E. Spiro ed. Context and Meaning in Cultural Anthropology (1965).

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Darwin & Wallace Issue the First Printed Exposition of the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection August 20, 1858

Charles Darwin

Alfred Russel Wallace

A diagram of natural selection

Living barnacles

On August 20, 1858 Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace published "On the tendency of species to form varieties; and on the perpetuation of varieties and species by natural selection" in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society. This was the first printed formal exposition of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Darwin had developed the essential elements of his theory by 1838 and set them on paper in 1844; however, he chose to keep his work on evolution unpublished for the time, instead concentrating his energies first on the preparation for publication of his geological work on the Beagle voyage , and then on an exhaustive eight-year study of the barnacle genus Cirripedia.

In 1856, at the urging of Charles Lyell, Darwin began writing a vast encyclopedic work on natural selection; however, it is possible that the extremely cautious Darwin might never have published his evolutionary theories during his lifetime had not Alfred Russel Wallace, a naturalist born in New Zealand, independently discovered the theory of natural selection. Wallace conceived the theory of natural selection during an attack of malarial fever in Ternate in the Mollucas, Indonesia (Febuary, 1858) and sent a manuscript summary to Darwin, who feared that his discovery would be pre-empted.

In the interest of justice Joseph Dalton Hooker and Charles Lyell suggested joint publication of Wallace's paper prefaced by a section of a manuscript of a work on species written by Darwin in 1844, when it was read by Hooker, plus an abstract of a letter by Darwin to Asa Gray, dated 1857, to show that Darwin's views on the subject had not changed between 1844 and 1857. The papers by Darwin and Wallace were read by Lyell before the Linnean Society on July 1, 1858 and published on August 20.

"There are five different forms in which the original edition can be found, but they are all from the same setting of type. Four of these are the results of the publishing customs of the Linnean Society of London and the fifth is the authors' offprints. The Journal came out in parts and was available to Fellows of the Society with Zoology and Botany together in each part, Zoology alone, or Botany alone. Later it appeared in volume form made up from reserved stock of the parts with new title pages, dated in the year of completion of the volume, and indexes. This again was available complete or as Zoology or Botany alone. The Zoology was signed with numbers and the Botany with letters. The Darwin-Wallace paper occurs in the complete part in blue wrappers, or in the Zoology part in pink wrappers; the Botany parts were in green. The Linnean Society has all the forms in its reference files, although it does not hold the offprint.

"The authors' offprints were issued in buff printed wrappers with the original pagination retained. They have 'From the Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society for August 1858.' on page [45]. They were printed from the standing type but, presumably, after the copies of the number had been run off. The only copies which I have seen have been inscribed personally by Darwin, but Life and letters, Vol. II, p. 138, notes that Darwin had sent eight copies to Wallace, still in the far-east, and had kept others for him" (http://darwin-online.org.uk/EditorialIntroductions/Freeman_TendencyofVarieties.html, accessed 11-25-2014).

On November 24, 2014, as a result of an international collaboration with the Darwin Manuscript Project based at the American Museum of Natural History, New York, Cambridge University's Cambridge Digital Library published online more than 12,000 hi-resolution images of manuscripts by Darwin, with transcriptions and detailed notes. These papers chart the evolution of Darwin’s intellectual journey, from early theoretical reflections while on board HMS Beagle, to the publication of On the Origin of Species 155 years earlier, on November 24, 1859. The papers document the origins of Darwin’s theory of evolution – including the pages where he first coined and committed to paper the term "natural selection." 

J. Norman (ed.), Morton's Medical Bibliography[1991] no. 119.  Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 591.

(This entry was last updated on 11-25-2014)

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"Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management": One of the Major Publishing Successes of the 19th Century 1859 – 1861

In 1859 Isabella Mary Beeton began serial publication, through her husband's publishing company, Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management Comprising information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-Maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and Under House-Maids, Lady’s-Maid, Maid-of-all-Work, Laundry-Maid, Nurse and Nurse-Maid, Monthly Wet and Sick Nurses, etc. etc.—also Sanitary, Medical, & Legal Memoranda: with a History of the Origin, Properties, and Uses of all Things Connected with Home Life and Comfort.

Intended as a guide of reliable information about every aspect of running a house for the aspirant middle classes, its 2,751 entries on 1,112 pages included in addition to 900 recipes and a wealth of cooking advice, tips on how to deal with servants' pay and children's health. Many of the recipes were illustrated with colored engravings. Her book also one of the first cookbooks to show recipes in the modern format with all the ingredients listed at the start, a format that Mrs. Beeton borrowed from Eliza Acton's Modern Cookery for Private Families (1845), along with some of the recipes. However, the Beetons never claimed that the book's contents were original. and Mrs. Beeton may perhaps be designated more accurately as its compiler and editor, rather than its author, as many passages were not in her own words.

The work first appeared in a series of 24 monthly parts issued as supplements to the Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine published by Samuel Orchard Beeton. Previously portions of the text had appeared as columns on such topics as "Cooking, Pickling and Preserving,"  "The Management of Children," etc. in the Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine, to which Isabella began contributing after her marriage to Samuel Beeton in 1856. The edition in book form was "one of the major publishing success stories of the nineteenth century, selling over 60,000 copies in its first year of publication in 1861, and nearly two million by 1868" (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management. Abridged Edition, edited with an Introduction and Notes by Nicola Humble [2000] viii).

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Edward Edwards Issues the First Comprehensive Account of the Development of Libraries 1859

In 1859 Edward Edwards, former librarian of the Manchester Free Library, the first library opened under the 1850 Public Libraries Act, the passage of which was in no small part due to efforts by Edwards, published Memoirs of Libraries: Including A Handbook of Library Economy.  The first roughly 1400 pages of this work of approximately 1900 pages, published in two thick octavo volumes, consisted of a series of interrelated chapters which covered the development of libraries from the earliest times to the mid-19th century. Because of its unusual arrangement it is debatable whether or not Edwards' book is the first comprehensive "history" of libraries. It is certainly the first large, comprehensive collection of historical essays on the subject in English, and it contains a wealth of information difficult to find elsewhere. The final 500 pages consisted of what Edwards called "A Handbook of Library Economy"—a manual on how to run an institutional library.

Edwards continued his writings on the history of libraries in a collection of essays entitled Libraries and Founders of Libraries (1865).

In 1885, the year before his death, Edwards issued a second revised edition of the first 400 pages of Memoirs of Libraries as Memoirs of Libraries of Museums; and of Archives; (Public and Private); and of Some of Their Chief Founders, Collectors, Keepers.  Of the 500 copies printed of this second edition, a good number must have remained in sheets at the author's death. Those were reissued by Thomas Greenwood for presentation, with a new title page and frontispiece, in 1901.

Greenwood, Edward Edwards, The Chief Pioneer of Municipal Public Libraries (1902).  Munford, Edward Edwards 1812-1886. Portrait of a Librarian (1963).

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Filed under: Book History, Libraries

The First Book on Baseball is Issue Anonymously 1859

In 1859 The Base Ball Player's Pocket Companion: Containing Rules and Regulations for Forming Clubs, Directions for the "Massachusetts Game," and the "New York Game," from Official Reports was published in Boston by Mayhew & Baker. This small format 16mo of only 35 (1) pp. was the first book exclusively devoted to baseball, which began to become organized in the United States during the 1850s. By 1857 sixteen area clubs formed the sport's first governing body, the National Association of Base Ball Players.

The original flexible cloth binding on this anonymous work contained an illustration of a ball player stamped in gold on the upper cover. In October 2012 Between the Covers-Rare Books offered a very good copy of the original edition for $39,500.

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François Willème Invents Photosculpture: Early 3D Imaging 1859

In 1859 a Frenchman in Paris, François Willème, who characterized himself as a painter, sculptor and photographer, and "inventeur de la photosculpture," began creating photosculptures of living people. To create a photosculpture Willème would arrange his subject on a circular platform surrounded by 24 cameras— one every 15 degrees. He would then photograph their silhouette simultaneously with each camera. This set of photographic profiles contained the data for a complete representation of his subject in 3 dimensions, although at relatively coarse resolution. 

Willème had now collected layer data for his subjects in the form of 24 different photographs of their profile. To create a 3D image of his subject he needed to make the information in each layer accessible by projecting each image onto a screen. Next, he translated each image into the movements required to fabricate each layer. This he accomplished using a pantograph attached to a cutter. He traced each profile with one end of the pantograph while the other end cut a sheet of wood with the exact same movement. The pantograph allowed the cuts to be smaller, larger, or the same size as the original projection. The layers of wood were then assembled to create the photosculpture. This was necessarily rough; if desired, an artist could smooth the sculpture and perhaps paint it, making it look more like a traditional sculpture.

On January 4, 1864 French poet, dramatist, novelist, journalist, art critic and literary critic Théophile Gautier published an illustrated article entitled, appropriately, "Photosculpture," in the Moniteur universel newspaper. To advertise the process this was also issued as a separate pamphlet of 14 pp., of which the last two pages consisted of a price list. 

On August 9. 1864 Willème was granted U.S. patent 43,822 for Photographing Sculpture, &c.

Historian of photography Beaumont Newhall published an article on Willèm's process entitled "Photosculpture," Image 7 no. 5 (1958) [99]-105.

Sobieszek, "Sculpture as the Sum of Its Profiles. François Willème and Photosculpture in France, 1859-1868," The Art Bulletin 62, no. 4 (1980) 617-30.

Walters & Thirkell, "New technologies for 3D realization in Art and Design practice," Artifact1 (2007) 232-245.

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Constantin von Tischendorf Discovers and Acquires the Codex Sinaiticus: Controversial and Disputed February 4, 1859

The complicated story of how German biblical scholar Constantin von Tischendorf discovered the Codex Sinaiticus, and acquired it for Russia in 1859, is tinged with romance, and has often been retold. The adventure is compatible in character with other nineteenth century acquisitions of priceless historical treasures—acquisitions that could probably never happen today— yet the story remains disputed and controversial.

While a Privatdocent at the University of Leipzig in 1845 Tischendorf made his first visit to the extremely remote Monastery of Saint Catherine on Mount Sinai in Egypt, one of the oldest working Christian monasteries in the world. This meant traveling hundreds of miles through the Egyptian desert from Cairo to Mt. Sinai on the back of a camel, so a scholar like Tischendorf had to be somewhat of an adventurer even to undertake the journey. The monastery was built in the mid-6th century by order of Emperor Justinian I, enclosing the Chapel of the Burning Bush (also known as "Saint Helen's Chapel") ordered to be built by Helena, the mother of Constantine I, at the site where Moses is supposed to have seen the burning bush. The living bush on the grounds is purportedly the one seen by Moses. The site is sacred to Christianity and Islam.

At the monastery Tischendorf saw some leaves of parchment in a waste-basket. He retrieved from the basket 129 leaves in an early Greek uncial majuscule hand, which he identified as coming from a manuscript of the Septuagint. According to his account, the monks indicated that they had already used a number of similar leaves to stoke their fires. To which Tischendorf responded that the leaves were too valuable to be burned. Whether the monks had actually burned any of the leaves is seriously disputed by the current occupants of the Monastery of Saint Catherine. Unfortunately, there is no way for us to know whether or not Tischendorf's assertion was accurate. He asked if he might keep the leaves he pulled out of the wastebasket, but the monks, having been made aware of their value and significance, permitted Tischendorf to take only 43 leaves. These leaves contained portions of 1 Chronicles, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, and Esther. Tischendorf later deposited them in the Leipzig University Library, where they remain. In 1846 Tischendorf published the content of the 43 leaves, naming them the Codex Frederico-Augustanus in honor of the his patron and sovereign, Frederick Augustus, the king of Saxony.

Eight years later, hoping to find more leaves from the same codex, in 1853 Tischendorf made another expedition to the monastery, but after the excitement which he had displayed in his first visit, the monks were cautious and let him leave with nothing, even after his arduous journey. Never one to concede easily, Tischendorf undertook a third journey to Saint Catherine's in 1859, this time under the auspices of tsar Alexander II of Russia. Tischendorf reached the remote monastery on January 14, and once again found nothing. On February 4, the day before he was scheduled to return to Cairo by camel, he presented to the steward of the monastery a copy of the edition of Septuagint that he had recently published in Leipzig. In response the steward remarked that he too had a copy of the Septuagint, and produced from the closet of his cell a manuscript wrapped in red cloth. Amazingly, this was the Codex Sinaiticus

This time being careful to conceal his enthusiasm, Tischendorf asked to borrow the manuscript to study it later that evening. His wish was granted, and, according to his own account, Tischendorf spent the entire night studying the manuscript, too excited to sleep. ("It really seemed a sacrilege to sleep.") This next morning Tischendorf offered to buy the manuscript, but his offer was rejected. Then he asked if he could take the manuscript to Cairo to study it. This request was also rejected.

In Cairo Tischendorf visited a small monastery in the city that was also operated by the monks on Sinai. There he impuned the abbot of the monastery of St. Catherine, who happened to be in Cairo, to send for the manuscript. To this the abbot agreed and sent Bedouin messengers to fetch the manuscript and deliver it to Cairo. Once the manuscript was in Cairo it was agreed that Tischendorf could examine one quire of eight leaves at a time for the purposes of copying the text. With the help of two Germans who happened to be in Cairo and knew Greek, and an apothecary, and a bookseller, all 110,000 lines of text in the manuscript were transcribed in two months, and carefully revised by Tischendorf.

A well-documented summary of Tischendorf's discovery is in Metzger & Ehrman, The Text of the New Testament. Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration. 4th ed (2005) 62-67. From this I quote from pp. 64-64:

"The next stage of the negotiations involved what may be called euphemistically 'ecclesiastical diplomacy.' At that time, the highest place of authority among the monks of Sinai was vacant. Tischendorf suggestioned that it would be to their advantage if they made a gift to the czar of Russia, whose influence, as protector of the Greek Church, they desired in connection with the election of the new abbot—and what could be more appropriate as a gift than this ancient Greek manuscript! After prolonged negotiations, the precious codex was delivered to Tischendorf for publication at Leipzig and for presentation to the czar in the name of the monks. In the east a gift demands a return (see Genesis 23, where Ephron 'gives' a Abraham a field for a burying plot but nevertheless Abraham pays him 400 shekels of silver for it). In return for the manuscript the czar presented to the monastery a silver shrine for St. Cartherine, a gift of 7,000 rubles for the library at Sinai, a gift of 2,000 rubles for the monastery in Cairo, and several Russian decorations (similar to honorary degrees for the authorities of the monastery. In 1862, on the thousandth anniversary of the founding of the Russian Empire, the text of the manuscript was published in magnificent style at the expense of the czar in four folio volumes, being printed at Leipzig with type cast for the purpose so as to resemble the characters of the manuscript, which it represents line for line with the greatest possible accuracy." 

Metzer and Ehrman qualified their account of the transaction with a long footnote, indicating that "certain aspects of the negotiations leading to the transfer of the codex to the czar's possession are open to an intepretation that reflects adversely upon Tischendorf's candor and good faith with the monks at St. Catherines's." In particular they cite Erhard Lauch, "Nichts gegen Tischendorf," Bekenntnis zur Kirche: Festgabe für  Ernst Sommerlath zum 70 Geburtstag (Berlin, c. 1961) pp. 15-24 "for an account that includes a hitherto unknown receipt given by Tischendorf to the authorities at the monastery promising to return the manuscript from St. Petersburg "to the Holy Confraternity of Sinai at its earliest request."  A more popular, but scholarly account is is James Bentley's Secrets of Mount Sinai. The Story of Finding the World's Oldest Bible—Codex Sinaiticus (1986). This well-illustrated study reflects bias against Tischendorf.

♦ As kind of a side show, in 1862 Constantine Simonides, a forger of manuscripts who had been exposed by Tischendorf, by way of revenge made the claim in print in The Guardian that he had written the codex himself as a young man in 1839. Simonides claims were refuted by bibliographer Henry Bradshaw. This incident I deal with in an entry for 1862-63.


Book Trade notes:

♦ "In 1931 Ernest Maggs had travelled to the Soviet Union with a colleague, Maurice Ettinghausen, who was both a bookseller and a scholar. When they saw the priceless Codex Sinaiticus, Ettinghausen remarked to his hosts, “If you ever want to sell it, let me know." Some time later, Maggs received a postcard saying that the Soviet government would be prepared to sell the Codex Sinaiticus for 200,000 pounds. The British group countered with 40,000 pounds. Finally, a price of 100,000 pounds was agreed upon. This was the largest price that had ever been paid for a book. It was an enormous sum at the time. [In 1933] The British government agreed to pay half the amount and guaranteed the remainder if it were not raised by public subscription." (Wikipedia article on Maggs Bros., accessed 08-02-2009).

♦ From Rosenbach: A Biography by Wolf & Fleming (1960) 367-68:

"Some preliminary negotiations were under way with Amtorg [in 1932] for the Codex Sinaiticus, the fourth-century manuscript of the Bible which had been in Russia since its discoverer, Tischendorf, acquired it for the Czar in 1869, and which the Communists, interested in neither its contents nor its provenance, wanted to sell. It was a volume before which the the Doctor's flow of words was inadequate. It was simply the most important, exciting, and valuable book in existence; except for fragments, it was one of the three oldest manuscripts of the Bible known. To have handled it would have added luster to any reputation. In the dickering stage, Dr. Rosenbach told the Russians that the asking price of $1,600,000 was too high, but he hung on the fringes of the deal by assuring them in confidence, 'that I might interest some of our wealthy clients in its purchase for presentation purposes, if the price could be lowered considerably.'

"Ah, perfidious Moscow! Before the end of the next year Ramsay MacDonald announced the purchase of the Codex by the British Museum for £100,000. The news found the Doctor astonished and disappointed. It had been offered to him for $1,250,000, he told the Herald Tribune, and he could not understand how the British Museum had obtained it for less than half that figure. . . ."


[In July 2008 it was stated on the Codex Sinaiticus website that the "recent" history of the manuscript would be revised in light of previously unavailable documents.]

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Having Refused to Support Babbage, the British Government Pays for a Difference Engine Produced in Sweden April 7, 1859

Long after refusing to fund the completion of Babbage’s Difference Engine No. 1, and long after refusing to fund construction of his Analytical Engine, the British government paid for the construction of the Scheutzes' third difference engine. In 1859 medical statistician William Farr first used the machine to calculate and set type for a table for Farr's paper, published in Philosophical Transactions, “On the Construction of Life-Tables, Illustrated by a New Life-Table of the Healthy Districts of England.”  Farr read this paper to the Royal Society on April 7, 1859.

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The First Successful Oil Well is Drilled in Titusville, Pennsylvania August 27, 1859

On August 27, 1859 American industrialists George R. Bissell and Jonathan Greenleaf Eveleth, founders of the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company (later Seneca Oil Company), and American driller (Colonel) Edwin Laurentine Drake, drilled the first successful oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania, beginning the American petroleum industry

"In the 1850s the market for light-producing liquid fuels was dominated by coal oil and by an increasingly inadequate supply of whale oil. However, George Bissell, a lawyer from New York, and his partner Jonathan Greenleaf Eveleth had a revolutionary idea. They thought there was a possibility of the crude “rock oil” (now petroleum) that had been cropping up in western Pennsylvania being used as an illuminatory substance. At the time, rock oil was nothing but a smelly hindrance to the well-diggers of the region, with some limited medicinal properties. Yet Bissell and Eveleth, after realizing how flammable the liquid was, believed there was great money to be made in producing rock oil commercially, marketed as lamp fuel and such. But they needed someone- an important, well-respected scientist whose name they could attach to their financial venture, to research the material to find out whether or not it could be used in such a manner. Enter Benjamin Silliman Jr., professor of chemistry at Yale University.

"Benjamin Silliman Jr.’s primary contribution to the chemical world, and certainly the world as a whole, involved the fractional distillation of petroleum, analyzed mainly for the purpose of its qualities of illumination. He was asked to do this as one of the most prominent chemists of his time, and his report [1855] on the subject afterwards had extremely far-reaching influences. The immensely important main idea of his report was that distilled petroleum burned far brighter than any fuel on the market, except those that were far more expensive and less efficient. His conclusion was that petroleum is 'a raw material from which...they may manufacture a very valuable product.' Silliman also noted that this material was able to survive through large ranges of temperature, and the possibility of it being used as a lubricant. 

"The impact of the discovery of petroleum as a high-quality illuminator is obvious. At the time, however, Bissell and Eveleth simply brought some people together to form the 'Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company'- shortly after to be renamed the 'Seneca Oil Company,' after another common, regional name for petroleum. Edwin Drake was in charge of drilling the well, and after many setbacks, generally revolving around the lack of money, he struck oil in quiet, rural, Titusville, Pennsylvania on August 27, 1859. The scenery of Titusville changed almost overnight. Oil derricks and towns filled with get-rich-quick speculators filled the newly-named Oil Creek. The holes were generally unremarkable, especially by the standards of today; the first probably only gathered less than 20 barrels of oil a day. However, the influence of these oil wells, and Benjamin Silliman Jr.’s report confirming the use of petroleum as an illuminant, was massive. Almost equally important in Bissell’s idea and Silliman’s discovery was the use of rock oil for lubrication of the many moving parts in the mechanical age soon to come" (Wikipedia article on Benjamin Silliman, Jr., accessed 09-16-2010).

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Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection" November 24, 1859

The title page of On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin

On November 24, 1859 Charles Darwin issued through the London publisher, John Murray, his book entitled On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. From its original publication, through the early years of the twenty-first century, this work remained one of the most widely appreciated, or disputed, classics in the history of science.

The idea of species evolution can be traced as far back as the ancient Greek belief in the "great chain of being". Darwin's great achievement was to make this centuries-old "underground" concept acceptable to the scientific community and educated readers by cogently arguing for the existence of a viable mechanism— natural selection— by which new species evolve over vast periods of time.  Darwin's work contained only a single illustration- a branching evolutionary tree, the first known presketch of which appears in Darwin's notebooks in 1839.

Though Darwin stated his case for evolution by natural selection persuasively and in the most diplomatic of tones, the work evoked a storm of controversy, causing Darwin to revise it through six editions during his lifetime. Since its publication the scientific evidence supporting evolution by natural selection has reached a massive—even overwhelming— preponderance, yet the controversy over evolution has never abated.

There is only one issue of the first edition of On the Origin of Species, and although three cloth binding and advertisement variants have been identified, no priority has been established. 1250 copies were printed, of which about 1,170 were available for sale; the remainder consisted of 12 author's copies, 41 review copies, 5 copyright copies, and "Darwin required ninety copies to be sent as presentations to friends, family, and scientists [Correspondence, 8: 554-6]" (Kohler & Kohler, see below, 333). Following Darwin's instructions, these presentation copies were sent out by the publisher, usually inscribed "From the Author" by the publisher's clerk.  The book was offered to booksellers two days earlier on November 22, and oversubscribed by 250 copies causing John Murray to propose a new edition immediately.

On the Origin of Species is undoubtedly the most famous book in the history of the life sciences, and one of the world's most famous books on any subject. It is also perhaps the most published book in the history of science and the most translated book originally published in English. As a result of this fame, a great deal of historical research has been concentrated on this work. Early in 2009 Cambridge University Press published The Cambridge Companion to the "Origin of Species," edited by Michael Ruse and Robert J. Richards. Most pertinent to book collecting and book history is the excellent chapter on "The Origin of Species as a Book" by Michèle Kohler and Chris Kohler.

Among the many very informative details the Kohlers include, of particular interest to the history of collecting rare books in the history of science is their observation that the first edition may have first been offered as collectable "rare book" by Bernard Quaritch Ltd in 1903 for £2-10-0, "a premium on the price of a new copy, not a discount." (p. 345). They also observe that the price of the first edition remained essentially static in the rare book trade until it began to rise in the 1920s, after which it very gradually moved upward. When I first opened my shop at the beginning of 1971 the price of a fine copy of the first edition in the original cloth was $1000. At this time the work was relatively common, and there were usually several copies of the first edition on the market at one time. In 2014 a fine copy of the first edition was worth approximately $150,000. This represented an appreciation rate far higher than most other science classics.

♦ In 2014 darwin-onlin.org.uk made available Darwin's complete publications, his private papers and manuscripts, and so-called "supplementary works." When I visited the site its index page advertised,"over 400 million hits since 2006."  Another site, the Darwin Manuscripts Project at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, provided DARBASE, a union catalogue of Darwin manuscripts in institutions and private collections.  An intriguing brief manuscript in Darwin's hand reproduced there showed that Darwin apparently considered writing a chapter "On the Geological Antiquity of Man And on the Descent (origin) of Species by variation." This was a topic of interest to me in 2014 as we prepared our book on The Discovery of Human Origins. My research till 2014 indicated that Darwin avoided publishing on the topic of human origins, leaving it to Huxley, Lyell and others. 

According to their children's accounts, Charles and Emma Darwin and their children had a happy family life, and Darwin was known not to be protective of his manuscripts after they were published. As a result, the Darwin children were allowed to doodle on the versos of some of his manuscripts, including the original manuscript of On the Origin of Species. In February 2014 reproductions of some of the more elaborate of those doodles were reproduced at this link.

Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) No. 593.

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100,000 Tons of Paper, Only 4% Made by Hand 1860

In 1860 100,000 tons of paper were produced in the United Kingdom, almost a tenfold increase since 1800. Only 4% was made by hand. Because of reduction in labor costs the average cost of paper fell 60% in the period from 1800-1860 (Twyman).

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de Martinville Produces the Earliest Sound Recordings, without Playback 1860

In 1860 the Parisian typesetter and tinkerer, Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville produced the earliest known recording of the human voice and the earliest known recording of music on his phonautograph, a machine designed to record sounds visually but not to play them back.

"In 2008, The New York Times reported the discovery of a phonautogram from 9 April 1860. The announcement of the discovery was accompanied by an announcement that the visual recording was made playable — 'converted from squiggles on paper to sound — by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California.' The phonautogram was one of Leon Scott's forgotten images in Paris; they were scanned then processed by a sophisticated computer program developed a few years earlier by the Library of Congress.

"The recording was a ten-second snippet of a singer, probably a daughter of the inventor performing the French folk song 'Au Clair de la Lune'. This phonautograph recording is now the earliest known recording of a human voice and the earliest known recording of music in existence, predating, by twenty-eight years, the longest surviving Edison phonographic recording of a Handel chorus, made in 1888" (Wikipedia article on Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville, accessed 04-18-2009).

 

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Henry Chadwick Issues the First Compilation of Baseball Statistics 1860

In 1860 Anglo-American sports journalist Henry Chadwick issued Beadle's Dime Base-Ball Player: a Compendium of the Game Comprising Elementary Instructions of this American Game of Ball; together with the Revised Rules and Regulations for 1860. This handbook, written by Chadwick and published in New York by Irwin P. Beadle, was the first baseball guide published for sale to the general public. In this work Chadwick  

"listed totals of games played, outs, runs, home runs, and strikeouts for hitters on prominent clubs, the first database of its kind. His goal was to provide numerical evidence to prove what players helped or hurt a team to win. . . . He is credited with devising the baseball box score (which he adapted from the cricket scorecard) for reporting game events. The first box score was a grid with nine rows for players and nine columns for innings. The original box scores also created the often puzzling abbreviation for strikeout as 'K' - 'K' being the last letter of 'struck' in 'struck out.' The basic format and structure of the box score has changed little since the earliest of ones designed by Chadwick. He is also credited with devising such statistical measures as batting average and earned run average. Ironically, ERA originated not in the goal of measuring a pitcher's worth but to differentiate between runs caused by batting skill (hits) and lack of fielding skill (errors). He is also noted as believing fielding range to be a superior skill to avoiding errors" (Wikipedia article on Henry Chadwick, accessed 10-06-2012).

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The Autograph Manuscript of Mill's "Considerations on Representative Government" 1860 – 1861

By 1980, at the end of my first decade as an independent antiquarian bookseller, I had accumulated twelve extraordinary manuscripts on diverse subjects, each of considerable historic significance. These we offered for sale in our eighth catalogue, entitled simply Twelve Manuscripts. At the time I had a sense that my ownership of several of these manuscripts was a once in a lifetime experience. What I did not appreciate was my exceptional luck in finding each of the manuscripts. Though it was, and continues to be, my privilege to handle many exceptionally fine and significant books and manuscripts in the course of business, I never again had the opportunity to assemble a comparable dozen.

Of the twelve, one of the most remarkable was the autograph manuscript of John Stuart Mill's Considerations on Representative Government, handwritten by Mill in 1860, and published in 1861. Looking back on my experience cataloguing and selling this manuscript, in 1980 Japanese institutions were very actively acquiring western rare books and manuscripts, so close readers of the description below will see that it was pitched toward the Japanese market. As it turned out, the manuscript did eventually sell to a Japanese bookseller who passed it to a Japanese university. By 2014 when I wrote this database entry, the balance of trade had shifted, and I suspected that the manuscript would have found a purchaser in the United States had it been offered for sale thirty-four years later. Our description from 1980 is quoted in full:

Complete Autograph Manuscript for one of "The Great Books of the Western World"

Mill, John Stuart (1806-73). Untitled autograph manuscript draft of Considerations on representative government. 224 leaves, mostly written on rectos with occaisonal notes on verso, with extensive current revision & later light revision. 23.5 x 18.5 cm. Gathered in 11 quires, marked A-K by Mill, each separately sewn, probably at a later date, uncut. In fine condition, in a full moroco box, gilt label. Composed in part if not entirely at Avignon, in 1860.

The most important Mill discovery of the century, this manuscript represents the only complete autograph manuscript extant of a major work of political theory by Mill. The only other known manuscripts by Mill relating to politcial theory are an incomplete autograph press copy of Principles of political economy (1848) at the Pierpont Morgan Library, and a manuscript of Chapters on socialism (1879), sold at Sotheby's in 1922, but presently unlocatable. In fact, there are a bare half-dozen manuscripts of major works by Mill extant, on whatever subject. Among these, only two others represent early drafts, as our manuscript does—an early draft of the Autobiography (1873) at the University of Illinois and an early version of A system of logic (1843) at the Pierpoint Morgan Library. The remaining major Mill manuscripts are an autograph press copy of A system of logic in the British Library, the final autograph copy of the Autobiography at Columbia University, and the scribal press copy of the Autobiography in the John Rylands Library. The autobiography and scribal copies of Three essays on religion (1874) were sold by Sotheby's in 1922, but like the Chapters on socialism have since disappeared.

Considering Mill's position as the major British philosopher, economist, and political thinker of the 19th century, and considering his productivity, it is remarkable that only a half-dozen of his major manuscripts are still in existence, and that, aside from correspondence, only about half a dozen interesting minor manuscripts remain extant. This scarcity of Mill manuscripts has come about because of the unusual and unfortunate circumstances in which Mill's library was disposed of at the turn of the century. While a few manuscripts remained in the hands of friends or family in England until donated to libraries or sold at auction, the large repository of Mill's papers and books at his home in Avignon (where he spent several months of each year from 1858 on) was sold in 1905 to a provincial French bookseller by members of the family who had little or no comprehension of its significance. Our untitled manuscript of Consdierations on representative government, which we know was composed in 1860 at least partly in Avignon, was quite probably part of this group, which the French bookseller sold off bit by bit. Thus it remained unknown to the public until now, in the hands of a French family who obtained it at auction in the 1930s.

It is all the more remarkable, then, that the untitled manuscript salvaged from near oblivion should turn out to be of such high caliber—the complete first draft of Mill's most significant work of political theory, and the text chosen, along with Mill's On liberty (1859) and his Utilitarianism (1863), for the Great books of the western world series (volume 43 in company with the United States' Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, The Federalist, etc.). To the best of our knowledge this manuscript of Representative government is the only autograph manuscript of the complete text of any classic from the entire Great books series which remains in private hands. The few other existing autograph manuscripts for these epochal achievements in the history of thought are in institutions. Mill's manuscripts for Utilitarianism and On liberty have, of course, never been found.

Our manuscript of Representative government is not an early draft in any preliminary sense, but the first full draft of the text, with the author's extensive autograph revisions. Professor John M. Robson, the general editor of the multi-volume standard edition of the Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, has made a preliminary examination of the manuscript and prepared a two-page report, a copy of which is included with the manuscript. He confirms that the manuscript is entirely in Mill's hand, and considers it to be the first draft of the text (on the basis of Mill's coments in the Autobiography and the few extant manuscripts, Mill habitually wrote two complete drafts). Professor Robson points out to us that Mill made a large number of revisions in rewriting the work, altering its structure in in interesting ways and expanding the text, particularly changing the order of chapters from the middle on, although retaining chapter headings in a wording close to that in the printed version.

'It is my impression that a careful collation of the text [of the manuscript] with that of the first and later editions would result in deeper understanding of Mill's formulation of democratic theory, in terms of the detail and of the argument supporting the conclusions. Even more certain is the significance of the comparison for a fuller appreciation of the workings of Mill's mind as writer and as theoretician. Had this manuscript been available to me when I edited the text (in its first scholarly and collated version) for the Collected Works of J. S. Mill, Vol. XIX, the text and the commentary would have been significantly different [italics ours]; both will, in the future, have to be revised, if and when the manuscript becomes available to an editor" (communication from Professor Robson). 

From its publication in 1861, Considerations on representive government was a signal success. It went through three Library editions in the next four years and was widely quoted by practical politicians as well as other theorists, not only in England, but in new democracies such as Japan. It is a text still in print today—an eminently readable outline of the principal issues in democratic theory, by a proclaimed democrat and worker in the British Reform Movement from his youth who had carefully considered popular movements in North America, Europe, and the British Empire.

Like other works of Mill's maturity, such as his System of Logic and Principles of Political economy, Considerations on  representative government is characterized by thoughtful attention to central issues. In this work especially Mill directs attention to the potential dangers of political democracy, particularly the problem of combining the abilities of enlightened leadership with the need for wide participation. This was an issue of pressing urgency to the emergence of popular democracy in less modern states such as Russia and Japan. In fact, Representative government played an important role in the struggle to form a democratic government out of feudal Japan.

The text was translated into Japanese three times between 1873 and 1890, along with the texts of On liberty, Utilitarianism, Principles of political economy, and the Subjection of women. Mill's political ideas informed the famous memorial of 1874 calling for the establishment of a popularly elected assembly, and the memorial's author, Furusawa Uru, quoted from Representative government in his criticism of the conservative position. Although the conseravatives eventually triumphed, establishing a constitutional code in 1889 on the model of the German imperial constitution, the influence of Mill on the development of Japanese democratic thought cannot be underestimated. Even in the face of increasing government repression, interest in Mill did not entirely dissipate, and underwent a rebirth after World War II.

D.S.B. Holman, "J.S. Mill's library, Provence, 1906," and "J.S. Mill's library: a further note," Mill news letter (Spring & Fall, 1971) 20-21 & 18. Written communication from Professor John M. Robson, University of Toronto, general editor of the Collected works of J.S. Mill (a copy of his 2-page report will be supplied with the manuscript). Sugihara & Yamashita. "J.S. Mill and Modern Japan," Mill news letter (Summer, 1977) 2-6.

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The Pony Express: Operational for Just a Little More than One Year April 3, 1860 – October 26, 1861

The legendary Pony Express, a fast mail service crossing the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California was operational only for little more than one year, from April 3, 1860 to October 26, 1861. Carrying messages by horseback riders in relays to stations across the prairies, plains, deserts and mountains of the western United States, it reduced the transit time for messages between the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts to about 10 days, with telegraphic communication covering about half the distance and couriers on horseback covering the rest.

"In 1860 there were about 157 Pony Express stations that were about 10 miles (16 km) apart along the Pony Express route. This was roughly the distance a horse could travel at a gallop before tiring. At each station stop the express rider would change to a fresh horse, taking only the mail pouch called a mochila (from the Spanish for pouch or backpack) with him. The employers stressed the importance of the pouch. They often said that, if it came to be, the horse and rider should perish before the mochila did. The mochila was thrown over the saddle and held in place by the weight of the rider sitting on it. Each corner had a cantina, or pocket. Bundles of mail were placed in these cantinas, which were padlocked for safety. The mochila could hold 20 pounds (10 kg) of mail along with the 20 pounds of material carried on the horse. Included in that 20 pounds were a water sack, a Bible, a horn for alerting the relay station master to prepare the next horse, a revolver, and a choice of a rifle or another revolver.  Eventually, everything except one revolver and a water sack was removed, allowing for a total of 165 pounds (75 kg) on the horse's back. Riders, who could not weigh over 125 pounds, changed about every 75–100 miles (120–160 km), and rode day and night. In emergencies, a given rider might ride two stages back to back, over 20 hours on a quickly moving horse.

"It is unknown if riders tried crossing the Sierra Nevada in winter, but they certainly crossed central Nevada. By 1860 there was a telegraph station in Carson City, Nevada. The riders received $25 per week as pay. A comparable wage for unskilled labor at the time was about $1 per week" (Wikipedia article on Pony Express, accessed 12-24-2010).

Completion of the first transcontinental telegraph line on October 24, 1861 made the Pony Express obsolete, and it shut down two days later.  Remarkably, this legendary U.S. mail service existed for only one year and seven months!

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The Origins of Network Neutrality Have Their Basis in Telegraph Networks June 16, 1860

The U.S. Federal Pacific Telegraph Act of 1860, passed June 16, 1860 to subsidize a telegraph line that would complete telegraphic communication between the east and west coast of the United States, incorporated one of the earliest statements of network neutrality: 

"messages received from any individual, company, or corporation, or from any telegraph lines connecting with this line at either of its termini, shall be impartially transmitted in the order of their reception, excepting that the dispatches of the government shall have priority. . ." (Wikipedia article on Network neutrality, accessed 12-24-2010).

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"Boston as the Eagle and Wild Goose See It": the First Clear Photographic Aerial View of a City October 13, 1860

In collaboration with balloon navigator Samuel A. King on King's hot-air balloon, the "Queen of the Air," on October 13, 1860 American photographer James Wallace Black photographed Boston from a tethered balloon at 1,200 feet, producing 8 plates of glass negatives, 10 1/16 x 7 15/16 in. One good print resulted, which Black titled "Boston as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It." This was the first clear aerial image of a city.  The original photograph is preserved in the Boston Public Library. This photograph is especially significant because much of the area photographed was destroyed in the Great Boston Fire of 1872.

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Edouard Lartet & Henry Christy Issue Probably the Earliest Paper on Paleolithic Mobiliary Art 1861 – 1864

In 1864 French lawyer archaeologist and paleontologist Edouard Lartet and English banker ethnologist Henry Christy published "Cavernes du Périgord. Objets gravés et sculptés des temps pré-historiques dans l’Europe occidentale" in Revue archéologique. The previous year Lartet and Christy began systematically examining the caves in the Périgord region of France, and found incontrovertible evidence for the existence of Paleolithic mobiliary art. Their 37-page paper with two lithographed plates and numerous illustrations within the text, describing the results of those researches, was the founding work on Upper Paleolithic art, and one of the earliest publications to illustrate Paleolithic mobiliary art. It was also the only joint publication of Lartet and Christy issued before Christy’s premature death in 1865 at the age of 55.

In two papers published in 1861 Lartet had illustrated two prehistoric bones with carved representations of animals that had for many years been considered “Celtic”. In those papers, which reflect Lartet’s earliest interest in this topic, he argued that these carvings, which had been previously discovered by others, were indeed examples of prehistoric art. The first of Lartet's papers was "Sur une ancienne station humaine, avec sépulture contemporaine des grands mammifères fossiles réputés caractéristiques de la dernière période géologique," L’Institut, journal universel des sciences et des Sociétés savantes en France et à l’étranger, 1st section, no. 1432 (12 June 1861). 6pp. 

Lartet's second and much longer paper was "Nouvelles recherches sur la coexistence de l’homme et des grands mammifères fossiles réputés caractéristiques de la dernière période géologique," Annales des sciences naturelles, 4th series, Zoologie, 15 (1861) 177–253; plates 10–13. In this paper Lartet proposed “the first chronological framework into which both human skeletal and cultural remains could be fitted, based on fossil animal bones recovered from French cave sites” (Spencer, History of Physical Anthropology [1997] 606). Cultural remains included flints and bone carvings. The first figure in plate 10 shows Lartet’s original concept of how the human skeletons in the Aurignac had been arranged in the chamber; he subsequently altered his opinion based on discoveries made in 1862. In the final plate of this paper Lartet republished from his previous paper an illustration of two deer carved on a reindeer bone which had been found between 1834 and 1845 by Pierre-Amédée Brouillet in the cave of Chauffaud in the Vienne. Brouillet and others had thought the engraving was Celtic, but Lartet declared it be much earlier; his appreciation of the significance and true date of the finds from Chaffaud, Aurignac and Massat was “the first clear statement of what we now call Franco-Cantabrian Upper Palaeolithic art.” (Daniel 1981, 62). An English translation of the first part of this paper, including a reproduction of Lartet’s reconstruction of the burial chamber, was published as "New Researches Respecting the Co-existence of Man with the Great Fossil mammals, regarded as characteristic of the latest geological period," The Natural History Review 2, no. 5 (January 1862) 53–71. 

(This entry was last revised on 05-31-2014.)

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Perhaps the First Book on Solar Energy and its Industrial Applications 1861 – 1869

In 1861 French mathematics teacher and inventor Augustin Mouchot designed and patented the first machine that generated electricity with from solar energy.  Continuing his researches, developed various machines for converting solar radition into mechanical power driven by steam. In 1869 Mouchot published La Chaleur solaire et ses applications industrielles. In this work Mouchot described the adaptation of solar energy for powering steam engines. 

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James Clerk Maxwell Produces the First Color Photograph 1861

In 1861 Scottish mathematical physicist James Clerk Maxwell produced the earliest color photograph, an image of a tartan ribbon, by having it photographed three times through red, blue, and yellow filters, then recombining the images into one color composite. Because of this photograph Maxwell is credited as the founder of the theory of additive color.

"During an 1861 Royal Institution lecture on colour theory, Maxwell presented the world's first demonstration of colour photography by this principle of three-colour analysis and synthesis. Thomas Sutton, inventor of the single-lens reflex camera, did the actual picture-taking. He photographed a tartan ribbon three times, through red, green and blue filters, as well as a fourth exposure through a yellow filter, but according to Maxwell's account this was not used in the demonstration. Because Sutton's photographic plates were in fact insensitive to red and barely sensitive to green, the results of this pioneering experiment were far from perfect. It was remarked in the published account of the lecture that "if the red and green images had been as fully photographed as the blue," it "would have been a truly-coloured image of the riband. By finding photographic materials more sensitive to the less refrangible rays, the representation of the colours of objects might be greatly improved." Researchers in 1961 concluded that the seemingly impossible partial success of the red-filtered exposure was due to ultraviolet light. Some red dyes strongly reflect it, the red filter used does not entirely block it, and Sutton's plates were sensitive to it." (Wikipedia article on James Clerk Maxwell, accessed 10-24-2013).

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New York and San Francisco are Connected by Telegraph October 24, 1861

The first transcontinental telegraph line connected New York and San Francisco.  As a result of the completion of this line, the Pony Express was immediately obsolete, and it ceased operations two days later.

The single overland telegraph line was operated until 1869, when it was replaced by a multi-line telegraph that had been constructed alongside the route of the Transcontinental Railroad.

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Johann Philipp Reis, the True Inventor of the Telephone? October 27, 1861

Johann Philipp Reis, a German schoolteacher and physicist, announced his invention of the telephone in a lecture before the Physical Society of Frankfurt. He published "Ueber Telephonie durch den galvanischen Strom" in Jahres-Bericht des physikalischen Vereins zu Frankfurt am Main fur des Rechungshahr 1860-1861 (1861). 

Reis's transmitter worked by alternatively making and breaking connection with a battery, while his receiver was designed to operate on the principle of magnetorestriction -- the property of ferromagnetic material such as iron to change shape on applicate of a magnetic field. Neither of these principles was adequate for constructing a successful speech-transmitting telephone, which requires continous contact and an undulating current; however,

"If the sound entering a Reis transmitter is not too strong, contact between the metal point and the metal strip will not be broken. Instead, the pressure of the former on the latter will fluctuate with the sound causing fluctuations in the electrical resistance and therefore in the current. Similarly the receiver will respond to continuously fluctuating as well as to intermittent currents (but not by magnetorestrction). The sensitivity, however, is extremely low. . . ." (Encyclopedia Brittanica, 15th edition.)

This may explain the partial but real success of Reis's telephone in transmitting intelligible speech.

Between 1858 and 1863 Reis constructed three different models of his telephone, the third and best-known of which was demonstrated to scientific societies throughout Europe and America. One of those who saw Reis's machine was Alexander Graham Bell, who was shown Reis's telephone at the Smithsonian Institution in March 1875, and who might have seen an earlier model demonstrated in Edinburgh as early as 1862.

Reis had no interest in profiting from his telephone, freely giving out information on it to anyone who asked, and selling models of it at a reasonable price. Reis died of tuberculosis in 1874 at the early age of 40.

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William A. Hammond Founds the National Museum of Health and Medicine 1862

U.S. Army Surgeon General William A. Hammond established the Army Medical Museum during the American Civil War as a center for the collection of specimens for research in military medicine and surgery.

Hammond directed medical officers in the field to collect "specimens of morbid anatomy ... together with projectiles and foreign bodies removed" and to forward them to the newly founded museum for study. The Army Medical Museum's first curator, John Brinton, visited mid-Atlantic battlefields and solicited contributions from doctors throughout the Union Army.

During and after the war, AMM staff photographed wounded soldiers showing effects of gunshot wounds as well as results of amputations and other surgical procedures.

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Ludwig Ritter von Köchel Issues the Köchel-Verzeichnis of Mozart's Works 1862

Austrian musicologist, writer, composer, botanist and publisher Ludwig Ritter von Köchel published Chronologisch-thematisches Verzeichnis sämmtlicher Tonwerke Wolfgang Amade Mozart's (Chronological-thematic Catalogue of the Complete Musical Works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart).

The Köchel-Verzeichnis of the compositions of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was the first comprehensive chronological and thematic catalogue of the compositions of a major composer. Köchel included the opening bars of each piece. In organizing the Verzeichnis Köchel arranged Mozart's works into twenty-four categories or themes, which were used by Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig when they published the first complete edition of Mozart's works from 1877 to 1910. This publishing venture was partly funded by Köchel.

"Köchel attempted arranging the works in chronological order, but the compositions written before 1784 could only be estimated. Since Köchel's work, many more pieces have been found, re-attributed, and re-dated, requiring three catalogue revisions. These revisions, especially the third edition by Alfred Einstein (1937), and the sixth edition by Franz Giegling, Gerd Sievers, and Alexander Weinmann (1964), incorporated many corrections" (Wikipedia article on Köchel catalogue, accessed 09-04-2010).

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Abraham Lincoln's Surveillance of Telecommunications During the American Civil War 1862

President Abraham Lincoln appointed Edwin M. Stanton Secretary of War on January 15, 1862, and soon thereafter Stanton requested sweeping powers, including total control of telegraph lines, as a security measure. By routing all telegraph lines through his office Stanton could monitor vast amounts of communication—journalistic, governmental and personal. This early example of governmental surveillance of telecommunications came to my attention in an op-ed piece by David T. Z. Mindich entitled "Lincoln's Surveillance State" in The New York Times July 5, 2013. The piece was published in the context of the leaks by Edward Snowden in June 2013 concerninig the vast PRISM telecommunications surveillance program:

"Having the telegraph lines running through Stanton’s office made his department the nexus of war information; Lincoln visited regularly to get the latest on the war. Stanton collected news from generals, telegraph operators and reporters. He had a journalist’s love of breaking the story and an autocrat’s obsession with information control. He used his power over the telegraphs to influence what journalists did or didn’t publish. In 1862, the House Judiciary Committee took up the question of 'telegraphic censorship' and called for restraint on the part of the administration’s censors.  

"When I first read Stanton’s requests to Lincoln asking for broad powers, I accepted his information control as a necessary evil. Lincoln was fighting for a cause of the utmost importance in the face of enormous challenges. The benefits of information monitoring, censorship and extrajudicial tactics, though disturbing, were arguably worth their price.  

"But part of the reason this calculus was acceptable to me was that the trade-offs were not permanent. As the war ended, the emergency measures were rolled back. Information — telegraph and otherwise — began to flow freely again.  

"So it has been with many wars: a cycle of draconian measures followed by contraction. During the First World War, the Supreme Court found that Charles T. Schenck posed a “clear and present danger” for advocating opposition to the draft; later such speech became more permissible. During the Second World War, habeas corpus was suspended several times — most notably in Hawaii after the Pearl Harbor attack — but afterward such suspensions became rare.  

"This is why, if you are a critic of the N.S.A.’s surveillance program, it is imperative that the war on terror reach its culmination. In May, President Obama declared that 'this war, like all wars, must end.' If history is any guide, ending the seemingly endless state of war is the first step in returning our civil liberties. 

"Until then, we will continue to see acts of governmental overreach that would make even Stanton blush. “I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the President, if I had a personal e-mail,” Mr. Snowden told The Guardian. And unlike Stanton’s telegraph operation, which housed just a handful of telegraphers, the current national security apparatus is huge. An estimated 483,000 government contractors had top-secret security clearances in 2012. That’s a lot of Snowdens to trust with your information."

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Henry Walter Bates Describes "Batesian Mimicry" 1862

In "Contributions to an Insect Fauna of the Amazon Valley: Lepidoptera: Heliconidae," Transactions of the Linnean Society of London 25 (1862) 495-566 English naturalist and explorer Henry Walter Bates first stated and solved the problem of mimicry, known today as "Batesian mimicry." In this adaptation for survival the palatable species mimics a unpalatable model in a form of protective coloration that evolved through natural selection.

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Bibliographer Henry Bradshaw Rebuts Constantine Simonides' Claim that Simonides had Forged the Codex Sinaiticus 1862 – 1863

The bibliographer Henry Bradshaw, who is considered the founder of modern bibliographical analysis, normally avoided public controversy. However, Bradshaw did publish correpondence rebutting the claims of the Constantine Simonides that Simonides had forged the Codex Sinaiticus. It is believed that Simonides made these claims in order to take revenge against Constantin Tischendorf, discoverer of the Codex Sinaiticus after Tischendorf disproved the authenticity of other forgeries by Simonides. The best account of this incident that I have found appears in Prothero, A Memoir of Henry Bradshaw (1888) 92-97, from which I quote. Note that Bradshaw's letter quoted by Prothero, discusses his method of judging authenticity. The letter also seems a model of tact and diplomancy:

"In the early part of 1863, Bradshaw, who abstained from public discussions in general, took some part in a controversy about the authenticity of the Codex Sinaiticus, which made considerable stir in the learned world at that time. This precious document, now generally recognized as the most ancient manuscript of the Bible, was discovered by Dr. Tischendorf in 1859, in the monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai. The controversy about it, now well nigh forgotten, is sufficiently amusing to make it worth while to recall its more important passages. One Simonides a Graeculus escuriens who had some time before been convicted by Dr. Tischendorf of endeavouring to palm off forged manuscripts, gave out, apparently in order to revenge himself, that the Codex Sinaiticus was itself a forgery. He declared that he had written it with his own hands when a young man. This 'whimsical story,' as Dr. Hort calls it, obtained a certain amount of credence. During the autumn of 1862 and the early part of 1863 a correspondence was carried on in the Guardian on the subject. In the number of that paper for September 3, 1862, is a long letter from Simonides, purporting to give an account of how he came to write the manuscript and how it passed into the possession of the monks of Sinai. 'Any person learned in palaeography,' he remarks, 'ought to be able tell at once tht it is a manuscript of the present age,' and he concludes, with an amusing air of injured innocence, 'You must permit me to express my sincere regret that, whilst the many valuable remains of antiquity in my possession are frequently attributed to my own hands, the one poor work of my youth is set down by a gentleman who enjoys a great reputation for learning, as the earliest copy of the Sacred Scriptures.' The story of Simonides was ingeniuous and full of circumstantial details, but it contained statements which, when carefully examined, carried with them their own refutation. Its absurdities were exposed by Mr. Aldis Wright, in a lettered published in the Guardian for November 5, 1862. A month later, a letter appeared in the Guardian, purporting to be written by one Kallinikos Hieromonachos, who wrote in defence of Simonides. His letter was in Greek, and a translated was appended by the editor, who made no concealment of his suspicions. 'I have read,' says the unknown writer, 'what the wise Greek Simonides has published respecting the pseudo-Sinaitic Codex by means of your excellent weekly publication, and I too myself declare to all men by this letter that the Codex. . . which was abstracted by Dr. Tischendorf from the Greek monastery of Mount Sinai, is a work of the hands of the unwearied Simonides himself, inasmuch as I myself saw him in 1840 in the month of February, writing it in Athos.' n the next number Simonides writes to back up his friend. 'I must inform you,' he says, 'that the above mentioned Kallinikos is a perfectly upright and honourable man, well known for truth and probity, so that his simplest word may be relied on.'

"Mr. Aldis Wright had little dificulty in disposing of his advocacy, and involving Simonides in a tissue of inconsistencies and improbablities. 'What does the evidence amount to' he asks. 'Kallinikos says, 'Simonides wrote the Codex, for I saw him.' 'Believe Kallinikos,' says Simonides, 'for he saw me write it.' We know Simonides, but who is Kallinikos?' Unfortunately, no proof of his existence, much less of his probity was forthcoming. 'His story,' says Mr. Haddam, in a letter to Bradshaw, 'reminds me of an Irish lad from Commemara, who sent his regards to the man who had been fishing there, with the said lad to help, and begged him to tell the Londoners 'any number or weight of fish he liked,' as having been caught by him, and he would be ready and delighted to swear to it.' The British chaplain at Alexandria knew nothing of Kallinikos, 'the Greek monk who takes in the Guardian and the Churchman.' In vain did Simonides attempt to strengthen his case by publishing several more letters from Kallinikos. Strange to say, one correspondent of the Guardian, at least, appears to have thought that a repetition of unsupported assertions constituted a proof, but the majority were less easily convinced. Mr. Haddan urged Bradshaw to interfere. In a letter dated November 19, 1862, he says, 'You could really do a service to truth if you would put upon paper the results of your examination of the Codex, and let it be published, with or without your name. . . . The question is really important, and you could throw light upon it.' To this Bradshaw replated that he thought the time was not yet ripe for discussing the palaeographical part of the question.

"However, Simonides returned to the charge, and in a long letter to the Guardian (January 21, 1863) stated, among other facts tending to prove his scapacity for writing the Codex, that had written a letter in uncial characters to Mr. Bradshaw a few months before, when he was staying at Cambridge during the meeting of the British Association. This prodcuced the following letter from Bradshaw, published in the Guardian for January 28, 1863:-

"Sir,

"As Dr. Simonides has cited a letter which he wrote to me in uncial characters in October last, while he was at Cambridge, and as I have with my own eyes seen and examined the Codex Sinaiticus within the last few months, perhaps you will allow me to say a few words.

"The note which Dr.Simonides wrote to me was to convince me and my friends that it was quite possible for him to have written the volume in question, and to confirm his assertion that the uncial character of the manuscript was as familiar and easy for him to write as the common cursive hand of the present day.

"He had invited some of us to Christ's College to examine his papyri and to discuss matters fairly. He could spak and understand English pretty well, but his friend was with him to interpret and explain. They first taxed us with believing in the antiquity of manuscripts solely on the authority of one man like Tischendorf, and they really seemed to believe that all people in the West were as ignorant of Greek as the Greeks are of Latin. But the great question was, 'How do you satisfy yourselves of the genuineness of any manuscript?' I first replied that it was really difficult to define, that it seemed to be more a kind of instinct than anything else. Dr Simonides and his friend readily caught at this as too much like vague assertion, and they naturally ridiculed any such idea. But I further said that I had lived for six years past in the constant, almost daily habit of examining manuscripts—not merely the text of the works contained the volumes, but the volumes themselves as such; the writing, the paper or parchment, the arrangement or numbering of the sheets, the disinction between the original volume and any additional matter by later hands, etc.'; and that, with experience of this kind, though it might be difficult to assign the special ground of my confidence, yet I hardly ever found myself deceived even by a very well-executed facsimile. All this Dr. Simonides allowed and confirmed. He gave the instance of the Jews in the East, who could in an instant tell the exact proportion of foreign matter in a bottle of otto of roses, where the most careful chemical analysis might fail to detech the same. Indeed, any tradesman acquires the same sort of experience with regard to the quality  of the particular goods which are daily passing through his hands; and this is all that I claimed for myself. Dr. Simonides afterwards told me himself that this was the only safe method of judging, that there was no gainsaying such evidence, and that he only fought anginst persons who mad strong and vague assetions without either proof or experience. yet when I told him that I had seen the Codex Sinaiticus, he spoke as if bound in honour not to allow in this case the value of that very criterion which he had before confessed to be the surest; and he wrote the letter to which he refers, in the hope of convincing me. I told him as politely as I could that I was not to be convinced against the evidence of my senses.

"On the 18th of July last I was at Leipzig with a friend, and we called on Professor Tischendorf. Though I had no introduction but my occupation at Cambridge, nothing could exceed his kindess; we  were with him for more than two hours, and I had the satisfaction of examining the manuscript after my own fashion. I had been anxious to know whether it was written in even continousl quaternions throughout, like the Codex Bezae, or in a series of fasciculi each ending with a quire of varying size, as the Codex Alexandrinus, and I found the latter to be the case. This by-the-by, is of itself sufficient to prove that it cannot the be the volume which Dr. Simonides speaks of having written at Mount Athos.

"Now, it must be remembered that Dr.Simonides always maintained two points—first, that the Mount Athos Bible witten in 1840 for the Emperor of Russia was not meant to deceive any one, but was only a beautiful specimen of writing in the old style, in the character used by the writer in his letter to me; secondly, that it was Professor Tischendorf's ignorance and inexperience which rendered him so easily deceived where no deception was intended. For the second assertion, no words of mine are needed to accredit an editor of such long standing as professor Tischendorf. For the first, though a carefully made facsimile of a few leaves inserted among several genuine ones might for a time deceive even a well-practised eye, yet it is utterly impossible that a book merely written in the antique style, and without any intent to deceive, should mislead a person of moderate experience. For myself, I have no hesitation in saying that I am as absolitely certain of the genuineness and antiquity of the Codex Sinaiticus as I am of my own existence. Indeed, I cannot hear of any one who has seen the book who thinks otherwise. Let any one go to St. Petersburg and satisfy himself. Let Dr. Simonides go there and examine it. He can never have seen it himself, or I am sure that, with his knoweldge of manuscripts, he would be the first to agree with me. The Mount Athos Bible mut be a totally different book; and I only regret, for the sake of hismelf and his many friends in England, that he has been led on, from knowing that his opponents here have seen no more of the original book that he has himself, to make such rash and contradictory assertions, that sober people are almost driven to think that the Greek is playing with our matter-of-fact habits of mind, and that, as soon as he has tired out his opponents, he will come forward and ask his admirers for a testimonial to his cleverness. 

"Henry Bradshaw, Cambridge, January 26, 1863"

 

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Origins of the Internal Revenue Service July 1, 1862

Text of first page of HR 312 also known as the Revenue Act of 1862.

Letter dated July 3, 1862 from Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase to President Lincoln recommending George S. Boutwell for the newly created post of Commissioner of Internal Revenue.

During the American Civil War, on July 1, 1862 President Lincoln and the United States Congress and passed the Revenue Act of 1862, creating the office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacting a progressive rate income tax to pay war expenses.

"Annual income above $600 was taxed at a 3% rate, but those earning over $10,000 per year were taxed at a 5% rate. This Act repealed the flat rate income tax that had been established by the Revenue Act of the previous year."

"To assure timely collection, income tax was 'withheld at the source' by the employer, with the Act specifying that Federal income tax was a temporary measure that would terminate in 'the year eighteen hundred and sixty-six' " (Wikipedia article on Revenue Act of 1862, accessed 12-27-2008).

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The Largest Dictionary in Book Form 1863

The first fascicule (A-Aanhaling) of the Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal (English: "Dictionary of the Dutch language") was published in The Hague in 1863. This became the largest dictionary in the world in print, eventually containing over 430,000 entries of Dutch words from 1500 to 1921 in 43 volumes and close to 50,000 pages. The last fasciculde (Zuid-Zythum) was published in 1998. Three supplements containing modern Dutch words were published in 2001.

Since January 27, 2007, the dictionary has been available online. There is no charge for access but registration is required.

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Charles Lyell Issues "The Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man" January 1863

English geologist Charles Lyell published in London The Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man with Remarks on Theories of the Origin of Species by Variation. The publisher's advertisements inserted at the back of the first edition were dated January 1863.

Though he had been slow to accept evolutionary theory, and long remained skeptical about the question of human origins, Lyell became convinced in the late 1850s of the antiquity of man by the increasing number of discoveries of man-made flint tools found alongside the fossil remains of extinct animals. After collecting and analyzing the evidence for several years, Lyell made the case for human antiquity in his Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man, a work in which he also announced his acceptance of Darwin’s theory of evolution as “the best explanation yet offered of the connection between man and those animals which have flourished successively on the earth.” Lyell’s decision to include in this work the argument for evolution by natural selection, as well as information concerning the relationship between man and the primates, raised the level of scientific controversy concerning the whole issue of human antiquity, which had previously been developing mainly on the basis of geological, paleontological, and archaeological evidence without direct reference to the larger issues of evolution. The book also took the topics out of the confines of scientific journals and brought them to a much larger audience through Lyell’s superb powers of exposition.

Through the many reviews of this book published in popular magazines and newspapers, the public was treated to even more information on the topic. It is probably because of the success of Lyell’s work, along with those of Huxley, John Lubbock, that Darwin chose to bypass the subject of human antiquity in the Descent of Man (1871), writing:

“The high antiquity of man has recently been demonstrated by the labours of a host of eminent men, beginning with M. Boucher de Perthes; and this is the indispensable basis for understanding his origin. I shall, therefore, take this conclusion for granted, and may refer my readers to the admirable treatises of Sir Charles Lyell, Sir John Lubbock, and others.”

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Lincoln Issues the Emancipation Proclamation January 1, 1863 – 1864

By executive order on January 1, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the single most important act of his presidency.

The proclamation

"proclaimed the freedom of slaves in the ten states then in rebellion, thus applying to 3.1 million of the 4 million slaves in the U.S. at that time. The Proclamation immediately freed 50,000 slaves, with nearly all the rest (of the 3.1 million) freed as Union armies advanced. The Proclamation did not compensate the owners, did not itself outlaw slavery, and did not make the ex-slaves (called freedmen) citizens.

"On September 22, 1862, Lincoln issued a preliminary proclamation that he would order the emancipation of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. None returned, and the order, signed and issued January 1, 1863, took effect except in locations where the Union had already mostly regained control. The Proclamation made abolition a central goal of the war (in addition to reunion), outraged white Southerners who envisioned a race war, angered some Northern Democrats, energized anti-slavery forces, and weakened forces in Europe that wanted to intervene to help the Confederacy. Slavery was made illegal everywhere in the U.S. by the Thirteenth Amendment, which took effect in December 1865" (Wikipedia article on Emancipation Proclamation, accessed 06-25-2012).

The original Emancipation Proclamation document is preserved in the U. S. National Archives; images of all 5 pages of the original manuscript are available from the National Archives website

In 1864, in order to aid Union troops, an "Authorized Edition" of the Emancipation Proclamation was printed on one sheet, 17-1/4x 21-3/4 inches, on J. Whatman watermarked paper, and signed by Lincoln, Secretary of State William H. Seward, and John Nicolay, the President's private secretary. Copies were sold at the Philadelphia Great Central Fair in aid of the U.S. Sanitary Commission.  Of the 48 copies signed by Lincoln, 26 were known to survive in 2012.  On June 26, 2012 one of those copies was auctioned in New York City at Robert A. Siegel Galleries in association with  Seth Kaller, Inc. The presale estimate was $1,800,000- $2,400,000; price realized was $1,850,000 plus premium or $2,100,000.  A copy once owned by Robert Kennedy sold for $3.8 million in 2010

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The First Subway, The Metropolitan Railway, Opens in London January 10, 1863

On January 10, 1863 the first subway system, the Metropolitan Railway, began operation in London. However, smoke from steam engines operating through tunnels caused discomfort for passengers, and limited the appeal of this mode of transport. Between 1863 to 1890 there were numerous proposals to build pneumatic or cable-hauled railways in London to overcome this problem, but none proved successful, until the system was electrified in the 1890s.  

"The 3.75-mile (6 km) railway opened to the public on Saturday 10 January 1863. There were stations at Paddington (Bishops Road) (now Paddington), Edgware Road, Baker Street, Portland Road (now Great Portland Street), Gower Street (now Euston Square), King's Cross (now King's Cross St. Pancras) and Farringdon Street (now Farringdon).

"The railway was hailed a success, carrying 38,000 passengers on the opening day, using GNR [Great Northern Railway] trains to supplement the service. In the first twelve months 9.5 million passengers were carried and in the second twelve months this increased to 12 million. The original timetable allowed 18 minutes for the five intermediate stations. Off-peak service frequency was one train every fifteen minutes, increased to one every ten minutes during the morning peak and reduced to one every twenty minutes in the early mornings and after 8 pm. From May 1864, workmen's cheap day returns were offered on the 5:30 am and 5:40 am services from Paddington at the cost of a single ticket (3d).

"Initially, the railway was worked using broad gauge rolling stock provided by the GWR [Great Western Railway] hauled by its Metropolitan Class steam locomotives. Soon after the opening, disagreement arose between the two companies over the need to increase the service frequency and the GWR withdrew its stock in August 1863. The Met continued operating a reduced service with temporary assistance from the GNR using standard gauge rolling stock, before purchasing its own standard gauge rolling stock and locomotives.

"In the belief that it would be operated by smokeless locomotives the first section had been built with little ventilation with a long tunnel between Edgware Road and King's Cross. Initially the smoke-filled stations and carriages did not deter passengers and the ventilation was later improved by making an opening in the tunnel between King's Cross and Gower Street and removing glazing in the station roofs. With the problem continuing after the 1880s conflict arose between the Met, who wished to make more openings in the tunnels, and the local authorities who argued that these would frighten horses and reduce property values. This led to an 1897 Board of Trade report that reported a pharmacist was treating people in distress after having travelled on the railway with his 'Metropolitan Mixture'. The report recommended more openings be authorised but the line was electrified before these were built" (Wikipedia article on Metropolitan Railway, accessed 01-07-2013).

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Filed under: Transportation

3-D Solar Imaging Reveals Details of Sunken Civil-War Era Steampship January 11, 1863

On January 11, 1863 the USS Hatteras, an iron-hulled steamship converted into a gunboat by the U.S. Navy, was taken by surprise and sunk in an engagement  with the disguised Confederate commerce raider CSS Alabama, approximately 20 miles off the coast of Galveston, Texas.

The hull of Hatteras rests in approximately 60 ft (18 m) of water  and is buried under about 3 ft (0.91 m) of sand. Her steam engine and two iron paddle wheels remain on the ocean bottom. The wreck is monitored to ensure that it is not damaged by oil and gas development in the area.

On January 11, 2013, 150 years after the battle, a 3-D sonar map was released by NOAA's (the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, together with ExploreOcean, Teledyne Blueview, and Northwest Hydro showed never-before seen details of the USS Hatteras, the only Union warship sunk in combat in the Gulf of Mexico during the Civil War.

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Thomas Huxley Issues "Man's Place in Nature" February 1863

In 1863 English biologist, paleontologist  and evolutionist Thomas Henry Huxley published Evidence as to Man’s Place in Nature in London. The first issue of the edition contained publisher’s advertisements dated February 1863.

On February 18, 1863, Darwin wrote to Huxley, “Hurrah the monkey book has come!” (quoted in Desmond, Huxley, The Devils’ Disciple [1994] 312). Man’s Place in Nature was the first book to directly address the evidence for human evolution from primates. Together with Lyell’s Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man, which was published a few weeks earlier, Man’s Place in Nature was also the first book to consider the role of prehistoric human remains as evidence for human evolution. While Lyell approached the topics primarily from the geological point of view, Huxley approached the subjects mainly from the point of view of comparative anatomy.

Concerning Huxley’s work, Darwin wrote in The Descent of Man: “Prof. Huxley, in the opinion of most competent judges, has conclusively shewn that in every visible character man differs less from the higher apes, than these do from the lower members of the same order of primates.” (p.3).

Sometimes called “Darwin’s bulldog”, Huxley enjoyed involvement in scientific controversy that more cautious scientists such as Darwin preferred to avoid. Like Lyell’s Antiquity of Man, Huxley’s book took topics which had previously been confined mostly to scientific journals and brought them to the attention of the reading public. Because Huxley’s and Lyell’s books were often reviewed together in popular magazines, this tended to generate even further controversy.

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Samuel Butler's "Darwin among the Machines" June 13, 1863

On June 13, 1863 English author Samuel Butler published "Darwin among the Machines" in The Press newspaper published in Christchurch, New Zealand. This article, published by Butler under the pseudonym of Cellarius, suggested that machines might be kind of "mechanistic life," undergoing, the spirit of Darwinian natural selection, a kind of constant evolution, and that machines might eventually supplant humans as the dominant species.

"We refer to the question: What sort of creature man’s next successor in the supremacy of the earth is likely to be. We have often heard this debated; but it appears to us that we are ourselves creating our own successors; we are daily adding to the beauty and delicacy of their physical organisation; we are daily giving them greater power and supplying by all sorts of ingenious contrivances that self-regulating, self-acting power which will be to them what intellect has been to the human race. In the course of ages we shall find ourselves the inferior race. ...

"Day by day, however, the machines are gaining ground upon us; day by day we are becoming more subservient to them; more men are daily bound down as slaves to tend them, more men are daily devoting the energies of their whole lives to the development of mechanical life. The upshot is simply a question of time, but that the time will come when the machines will hold the real supremacy over the world and its inhabitants is what no person of a truly philosophic mind can for a moment question " (Wikipedia article on Darwin among the Machines, accessed 01-02-2013).

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Babbage's "Passages from the Life of a Philosopher" 1864

In 1864 English mathematician, engineer and computer designer Charles Babbage published his autobiography, Passages from the Life of a Philosopher, in which he presented the most detailed descriptions of his Difference and Analytical Enginespublished during his lifetime, and wrote about his struggles to have his highly futuristic inventions appreciated by society.

In the wording of his title Babbage used the word philosopher in its now obsolete sense of what we call a "scientist." The word scientist, coined by William Whewell, was not widely used until the end of the 19th or early 20th century. (See Reading 6.2.)

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Marsh's "Man and Nature" : Fountainhead of the Conservation Movement 1864

In 1864 american diplomat, philologist and environmentalist George Perkins Marsh published Man and Nature; or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action. Called "the fountainhead of the conservation movement" (Mumford, The Brown Decades, 78), Marsh's pioneering work gave a comprehensive scientific account of man's enormous and often destructive impact on the physical world.  Marsh warned of the dangers of the reckless misuse of land then endemic in the United States, pointing to the ruined lands of the Mediterranean region as an example of America's probable future, and called for a program to restore and rebuild the land.  His work had a significant influence on conservation movements both in the United States and in Europe, in part because of his practical orientation: he recognized the role that science must play in any rational program of land management, and believed that natural resources could be used under proper limits to improve the lot of humankind. 

Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 1443.

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Hemoglobin is Named 1864

In 1864 German physiologist and chemist in Tübingen Felix Hoppe-Seyler named the protein crystallized from blood haematoglobulin or haemoglobin (hemoglobin).

Hoppe-Seyler, “Ueber die chemischen und optischen Eigenschaftern des Blutsfarbstoffs,Arch. f. path. Anat. u. Physiol. (Virchow’s Archiv) 29 (1864) 233-35.

Judson, Eighth Day of Creation, 490.

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Maxwell's Field Equations of Electromagnetism 1865

In 1865 James Clerk Maxwell published "A Dynamical Theory of the Electro-Magnetic Field" in the Transactions of the Royal Society of London. In this culminating paper on the foundations of electromagnetic theory Maxwell developed twenty field equations of electromagnetism, clinching the theory that light was a form of electricity.
Maxwell had already found in 1862 a link of a purely phenomenological kind between electromagnetic quantities and the velocity of light, but this 1865 paper provided a new theoretical framework for the subject, based on experiment and a few general dynamical principles, from which the propagation of electromagnetic waves through space followed without special assumptions about molecular vortices or forces between electrical particles. The paper provided a theoretical framework, based on experiment and a few general dynamical principles, for the propagation of electromagnetic waves through space.

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Frederick Law Olmsted Presents the Philosophical Justification for Public Preservation of Great Natural Scenery 1865

In 1865 American journalist, landscape architect and planner Frederick Law Olmsted submitted a "Preliminary Report upon the Yosemite and Big Tree Grove" to the Commissioners of California's new Yosemite park. This was the first work to establish the philosophical justification for public preservation of great natural scenery on the basis of its unique capacity to enhance human psychological, physical, and social health.

In 1993 the Yosemite Association of Yosemite National Park issued Olmsted's pioneering work in a finely printed edition limited to 450 copies, illustrated by Wayne Thiebaud. 100 copies of that edition were signed by the artist. 

(This entry was last revised on 03-14-2015.)

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The First Dust Jacket Issued by a Publisher in the United States 1865

According to Mark R. Godburn's website for his forthcoming Nineteenth Century Dust Jackets: An Illustrated History, "In the United States, the earliest known publisher-issued dust jacket is on a copy of The Bryant Festival at 'The Century' (1865) published by D. Appleton & Co. This jacket was printed on the front and rear panels with the same design as the binding."

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John Lubbock's "Pre-Historic Times" is Published 1865

In 1864 English banker, politician, naturalist and archaeologist John Lubbock publised Pre-Historic Times, as Illustrated by Ancient Remains, and the Manners and Customs of Modern Savages. After delivering a series of lectures at the Royal Institution on “The Antiquity of Man” in the summer of 1864, Lubbock organized his material into a book that addressed not only the topic of human antiquity but the larger issues of the lives and cultures of people in the Stone Age. A masterpiece of scientific exposition, Pre-historic Times became his best-known work, in which he coined the terms “Paleolithic” and “Neolithic” to distinguish between the earlier and later Stone Age periods. He wrote:

"From the careful study of the remains which have come down to us, it would appear that Pre-historical Archaeology may be divided into four great epochs.

"First, that of the Drift; when man shared the possession of Europe with the Mammoth, the Cave bear, the Wooly-haired rhinoceros, and other extinct animals. This we may call the ‘Paleolithic’ period.

"Secondly, The later or polished Stone age; a period characterized by beautiful weapons and instruments made of flint and other kinds of stone, in which, however we find no trace of the knowledge of any metal, excepting gold, which seems to have been sometimes used for ornaments. This we may call the ‘Neolithic ‘period.

"Thirdly The Bronze age, in which bronze was used for arms and cutting instruments of all kinds.

"Fourthly, The Iron age, in which that metal had superseded bronze for arms, axes, knives, etc; bronze, however still being in common use for ornaments, and frequently also for the handles of swords and other othersm, but never for the blades. Stone weapons, however, of many kinds were still in use during the age of Bronze, and even during that of Iron. So that the mere presence of a few stone implements in not in itself sufficient evidence, that any given ‘find’ belongs to the Stone age" (p. 3).

In contrast to some of the other early researchers in these fields who focused on the geology of the prehistoric sites, in finding the artifacts, and in studying the artifacts themselves, Lubbock studied the artifacts of Stone Age cultures in order shed light on the function of ancient implements as part of an overall attempt to reconstruct what life might have been like in the Stone Age. In order to gain further insight into life in prehistoric times he also studied the lives of a wide variety of non-western peoples, some of whose lives and cultures appeared to him to provide strong analogs to life during the Stone Age.

His book incorporates five earlier published papers, all of which appeared in The Natural History Review: “On the Kjökkenmöddings: Recent geological-archaeological researches in Denmark” (October 1861); “On the evidence of the antiquity of man, afforded by the physical structures of the Somme Valley” (January 1862); “On the ancient lake habitations of Switzerland” (July 1862); “North American archaeology” (January 1863); and “Cave-men” (July 1864). To these previously published papers Lubbock added three chapters devoted to the customs and beliefs of primitive races. In a final chapter he summed up his conclusions on the origins of man and of civilization.

Pre-Historic Times may be the most influential work on archaeology of the nineteenth century. It remained a standard work for over 50 years, with the seventh and final edition appearing just after Lubbock’s death in 1913.

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The Role of Women as Typesetters in the French Printing Industry 1865 – 1867

While in Paris in September 2012 I acquired an album or scrapbook  in 4to format bound in 19th century blindstamped red cloth.  It is labeled on the spine simply Receuil de Journaux. On all 184 pages of the album someone pasted newspaper clippings from printing trade journals and other souvenirs of the printing trade published between 1865 and 1867.  The articles emphasize social issues in the printing trade, especially in typesetting.

Two topics in the collection of clippings and ephemera stand out: pp. 24-65 and 74-76 concern the employment of women as typesetters. This seems to be the one place in the print shop where women were sometimes employed at the time. Considering the large amount of coverage of this unusual subject one wonders if the album might have been assembled by a woman. The second half of the album mainly concerns issues regarding the exhibition of the printing trades in the Paris Exhibition of 1867. 

There is no identification of ownership in the album except an unusual French diamond-shaped bookplate reflecting a serious interest in the history of printing. This contains a monogram which may be read PLM or LMP, or some other combination of the letters.

Images in the album show women doing typesetting, a lithography plant, a bank note printing plant, and some unusual ephemera. Whoever assembled the album went to the great effort of preparing what appears to be a complete manuscript index to people and places mentioned, making this an unusually valuable reference source for two years in the long history of printing in Paris.

Beginning quite early in the history of printing women were from time to time employed as typesetters. The first press known to have employed women was the press of the monastery of San Jacopo di Ripoli which employed nuns from its convent as compositors setting type. The press was in operation in Tuscany from 1476-1484. However, the employment of women in the male-dominated printing trade remained controversial throughout the 19th century. The images in the spectacular book advertising the very large Alfred Mame printing company show no women employed in any aspect of book production.

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Osman Zeki Bey Becomes the First Printer Authorized to the Print the Qur'an in Constantinople 1866

Osman Zeki Bey, an Ottoman calligrapher, opened his printing office called Matbaa-i Osmaniye in Constantinople. Osman Zeki Bey was the first printer authorized by the Ottoman Palace to print the Qur'an (Koran).

Kuran-Burcoglu, "Osman Zeki Bey and his Printing Office the Matbaa-i-Osmaniye, Sadgrove" (ed) History of Printing and Publishing the Languages and Countries of the Middle East (2005) 35-58.

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Benjamin Tilghman Invents the Sulfite Pulping Process for Manufacturing Paper from Wood Pulp 1866

In 1866 American soldier, chemist and inventor Benjamin Chew Tilghman developed the sulfite pulping process for the manufacture of paper from wood pulp, receiving the US patent on the use of calcium bisulfite, Ca(HSO3)2, to pulp wood in 1867. The first mill using this process was built in Bergvik, Sweden in 1874. It used magnesium as the counter ion and was based on work by Swedish chemical engineer Carl Daniel Ekman.

"The soda process was for many years the only practical process for pulping of straw, wood, and similar fibrous materials. However, in 1866, 1867, and 1869 the American chemist Benjamin Chew Tilghman of Philadelphia was granted British and American patents on a new process of pulping of wood or other vegetable fibrous substances. This process involved essentially the heating, under pressure, of lignified fibrous material with an aqueous solution of sulfurous acid, with or without the addition of sulfite of an alkali such as calcium sulfite or bisulfite. These patents were the results of extensive experiments conducted by Benjamin Chew Tilghman in cooperation with his younger brother Richard Albert at the pulp and paper mills of W. W. Harding and Sons in Manayunk near Philadelphia" (Phillips, Benjamin Chew Tilghman, and the Origin of the Sulfite Process for the Delignification of WoodJ. Chem. Educ., 1943, 20 (9), p. 444, DOI: 10.1021/ed020p444).

Throughout the 19th century it was increasingly necessary to find workable substitutes for scarce linen rags, the supply of which could not possibly keep up with the growing demands for paper. While the production of paper from wood pulp enabled greatly increased production, the bleaching agents used in this new process reduced the longevity of paper. The pulping, bleaching, and sizing processes generated hydrochloric and sulfuric acids, which over time resulted in brittleness and deterioration of paper, and the possible loss of information.

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Mendel's Discovery of the Mendelian Ratios 1866

Augustinian Abbey of St. Thomas in Brno

Gregor Mendel

In 1866 Austrian scientist and friar of the Augustinian Abbey of St Thomas in Brno (now Czech Republic) Gregor Mendel published "Versuche ber Pflanzen-Hybriden," Verhandlungen des naturforscheden Vereines in Brünn 4 1865, [3]-47 (1866). Reporting Mendel's eight years of experimental work on artificial plant hybridization, this paper recorded the discovery of the Mendelian ratios, the most significant single achievement in the history of genetics. Working with clearly identifiable traits in the pea plant, (seed color and shape, stem length, position of the flowers) Gregor Mendel discovered a generalized set of rules concerning heredity. He postulated that there are discrete units of heredity (what we call genes) that are transmitted from generation to generation even though some of these are not expressed as an observable trait in every generation. He discovered dominant and recessive traits— what we call segregation and what we call alleles

"In comparison with his predecessors, Mendel was original in his approach, and in his interpretation of experimental results. He reduced the hitherto extremely complex problem of crossing and heredity to an elementary level appropriate to exact analysis. He left nothing to chance. . . . Altogether new was his use of large populations of experimental plants, which allowed him to express his experimental results in numbers and subject them to mathematical treatment. By the statistical analysis of large numbers Mendel succeeded in extracting "laws" from seemingly random phenomena. This method, quite common today, was then entirely novel. Mendel, inspired by physical sciences, was the first to apply it to the solution of a basic biological problem and to explain the significance of a numerical ratio" (D.S.B.).

Published in the obscure journal of a provincial natural science society, Mendel's work went virtually unnoticed, and remained so until 1900 when the Mendelian ratios were independently rediscovered by Hugo de Vries, Carl Correns and Erich von Tschermak.

♦ In February 2012 Mendel's original manuscript of his famous paper was returned to the Mendel Museum at the Augustinian Abbey of St. Thomas in Brno. The monastery had been closed down in 1953 at which time the manuscript was hidden by the Augustinian monks. In the 1980s the manuscript was sent for safekeeping to Vienna, and then to Germany.  After much negotiation between the Czech Republic and Germany the manuscript was returned to the place of its origin.

Dibner, Heralds of Science no. 35. Norman, Morton's Medical Bibliography (1991) no. 222. Horblit, One Hundred Books Famous in Science no. 73a.  Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man (1967) no. 356.  Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 1490.

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Edward A. Calahan Invents the Stock Ticker 1867

In 1867 Edward A. Calahan of the American Telegraph Company invented the first stock telegraph printing instrument. The distinct sound of this telegraph printing instrument eventually earned it the name of “stock ticker.”

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The Surgeon General's Library & Museum Are Moved to the Site of Lincoln's Assassination 1867

At the end of the American Civil War, in 1867 the Library of the Surgeon General's Office, along with the new Surgeon General's office, was— perhaps with some irony— moved to Ford's Theater, site of the tragic assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in April 1865. 

The theater had been closed and remodelled in the intervening two years. The new Office/Library site was taken over by the U.S. Army to house important post-Civil War medical activities of the Surgeon General's Office. These included the archive of Civil War medical records (essential for verification of veterans' pension claims) and the Army Medical Museum. The archive of case records, pathological specimens and photographs gathered by the Army Medical Museum was compiled by Joseph J. Woodward, Charles Smart, George A. Otis, and David Huntington under the direction of then Surgeon General of the Army, Joseph K. Barnes, into the six massive volumes of The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, which were published between 1870 and 1888. This encyclopedic work has been called the "first comprehensive American medical book."

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Imprimerie Alfred Mame's Spectacular Portrayal of Large Scale Book Manufacturing 1867

In April 2013 I acquired a copy of a spectacular volume, Imprimerie - Librairie - Relieure. Alfred Mame et Fils à Tours. Notice et specimens. This folio work, in its original red blind-stamped and gilt cloth binding, with gilt edges, with pages measuring 395 x 270 mm., was issued at Tours in 1867 by Imprimerie Alfred Mame to advertise and promote its business. Printed on excellent paper, the work has only 18 pp. of text, interleaved with many full-page illustrations, followed by more than 100 pages of specimens of title pages, text and illustrations, sometimes printed in two colors, and including many fine examples of engraving. The folio format was used in order to include full-size folio specimens.

My interest in the volume was primarily in its spectacular engraved images of the different elements of large-scale book production in the mid-19th century. Mame clearly used machine presses on a large scale, as the image of his huge pressroom shows. Notably, however, Mame continued to employ manual typesetters, as before the development of the Linotype and the Monotype, mechanical typesetting remained troublesome and of inferior quality. The image of Mame's very large bindery suggests that virtually all of the binding work was still done by hand. A common element to all the images is that none show women employed in any of the book production tasks.

Mame's business model involved bring in house all aspects of book production including typesetting and printing, engraving, binding, and even bookselling. Mame also was part-owner of a paper mill. From the majority of the specimens shown the firm seems to have specialized in publishing religious or devotional books. Presumably, this may have been the largest topic of commercial book consumption in France during that very religious time. His firm employed about 700 people in production and 400-500 in sales in what appears to be a rather grand facility, though we may assume that the images glorify or beautify what cannot always have been ideal working conditions. Nevertheless, the environment may have been rather copasetic as, according to the Wikipedia, "Inspired by the social Catholic ideal, Alfred Mame established for his employees a pension fund for those over sixty, wholly maintained by the firm. He opened schools, which caused him to receive one of the ten thousand francs awards reserved for the 'établissements modèles où régnaient au plus haut degré l'harmonie sociale et le bien-être des ouvriers'. In 1874 Mame organized a system by which his working-men shared in the profits of the firm." (Wikipedia article on Aflred Mame, accessed 05-18-2013).

Bigmore & Wyman II, 16.

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Marx's "Das Kapital" is Published September 14, 1867

On September 14, 1867 German philosopher, political economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, communist, and revolutionary Karl Marx published Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Oekonomie. . . . Erster Band. Buch I: Der Produktionsporcess des Kapitals. . . . in Hamburg, Germany at the press of Otto Meissner. Characterized by Marx as a continuation of his Zur Kritik der politischen Oekonomie (1859), Das Kapital

"was in fact the summation of his quarter of a century's economic studies, mostly in the Reading Room of the British Museum. The Athenaeum reviewer of the first English translation (1887) later wrote: 'Under the guise of a critcal analysis of capital, Karl Marx's work is principally a polemic against capitalists and the capitalist mode of production, and it is this polemical tone which is its chief charm.' The Historical-polemical passages, with their formidable documentation from British official sources, have remained memorable; and, as Marx (a chronic furunculosis victim) wrote to Engels while the volume was still in the press, 'I hope the bourgeoisie will remember my carbuncles all the rest of their lives . . . ."

"By an odd quirk of history the first foreign translation of Das Kapital to appear was the Russian, which Petersburgers found in their bookshops early in April 1872. Giving his imprimatur, the censor, one Skuratov, had written 'few people in Russia will read it, and still fewer will understand it.' He was wrong: the edition sold out quickly; and in 1880 Marx was writing to his friend F. A. Sorge that 'our success is still greater in Russia, where Kapital is read and appreciated more than anywhere else."

"Only this first volume of Marx's magnum opus appeared in his lifetime, though in a letter to friend Dr. Kugelmann in the autumn of 1866, when he was working over the manuscript, he described a four-book three-volume work on lines identical with those edited after his death by Friedrich Engels. Thus vol. 1 is the 'Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production' including the central concept of surplus-value: vol. II (1885) discusses the process of circulation of capital; vol. III (1894) the process of capitalist production as a whole. Marx's fourth section, on the history of economic theory, exists only in the form of a book, edited from his voluminous notes by Karl Kautsky, entitled Theorien über den Mehrwert ('Theories of Surplus Value) 3 vols., 1903-10)" (Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man [1967] no. 359.)

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The Times of London Prints on Continuous Paper, Increasing Production 1868

In 1868 The Times of London newspaper installed a Walter Press, developed by the owner of the newspaper, John Walter III, that printed on continuous paper, further increasing the speed of production. This rotary machine initiated modern newspaper printing and served The Times until 1895. The average speed claimed for the Walter Press was 12,000 perfect copies per hour. 

Moran, Printing Presses. History and Development from the Fifteenth Century to Modern Times (1973) 191-92.

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Maxwell's "On Governors" : Exposition on Feedback Mechanisms 1868

In 1868 Scottish physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell published “On Governors,” a classic paper on feedback mechanisms.

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Sholes, Soule, & Glidden Invent the First Device to Allow the Operator to Write Faster than a Person Writing by Hand 1868

Sholes and Glidden typewriter documentation.  The machine, patented on June 23, 1868, resembled "a cross between a piano and a kitchen table."

Sholes and Glidden typewriter as produced by E. Remington and Sons.

 

In 1868 American inventor, newspaper editor and politician Christopher Latham Sholes, and Samuel Soule, and Carlos Glidden invented the first practical typewriter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This was the first device to allow the operator to write faster than a person writing by hand.

"Following a strike by compositors at his printing press, he tried building a machine for typesetting, but this was a failure and he quickly abandoned the idea. He arrived at the typewriter through a different route. His initial goal was to create a machine to number pages of a book, tickets, and so on. He began work on this at Kleinsteubers machine shop in Milwaukee, together with a fellow printer Samuel W. Soule, and they patented a numbering machine on November 13, 1866.

"Sholes and Soule showed their machine to Carlos Glidden, a lawyer and amateur inventor at the machine shop working on a mechanical plow, who wondered if the machine could not be made to produce letters and words as well. Further inspiration came in July 1867, when Sholes came across a short note in Scientific American describing the "Pterotype", a prototype typewriter that had been invented by John Pratt in England. Sholes decided that the pterotype was too complex and set out to make his own machine, whose name he got from the article: the typewriting machine, or typewriter.

"For this project, Soule was again enlisted, and Glidden joined them as a third partner who provided the funds. The Scientific American article had described a "literary piano"; the first model that the trio built had a keyboard literally resembling a piano. It had black keys and white keys, laid out in two rows. It did not contain keys for the numerals 0 or 1 because the letters O and I were deemed sufficient:

3 5 7 9 N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

2 4 6 8 . A B C D E F G H I J K L M

"with the first row made of ivory and the second of ebony, the rest of the framework being wooden. It was in this form that Sholes, Glidden and Soule were granted patents for their invention on on June 23, 1868 and July 14. The first document to be produced on a typewriter was a contract that Sholes had written, in his capacity as the Comptroller for the city of Milwaukee. Machines similar to Sholes's had been previously used by the blind for embossing, but by Sholes's time the inked ribbon had been invented, which made typewriting in its current form possible" (Wikipedia article on Christopher Sholes, accessed 05-22-2009).

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Alexander Kennedy Issues the First Book on Birds Illustrated with Actual Photographs 1868

In 1868 Alexander W. M. Clark Kennedy, who characterized himself as "An Eton Boy" issued from Eton and London The Birds of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire: A Contribution to the Natural History of the Two Counties. The book was illustrated with 4 hand-tined albumin prints of birds, photographed in taxidermic settings— the first photographic illustrations of birds. At the time it was impossible to photograph any animal in motion because of the lack of telephoto lenses and sufficiently light-sensitive plates to allow short exposures. In 1885 Eadweard Muybridge would publish the first photographs of birds in flight in his Animal Locomotion.

Eton was a very unusual location for the publication of a book in England, and this volume was undoubtedly paid for by the author, or his family. Clark Kennedy (1851-94) would have been only 17 at the time of publication. My copy was inscribed by Clark Kennedy to the amateur ornithologist Harry Blake Knox, a large landowner in Ireland the year after its publication, January, 1869.

Goldschmidt & Naef, The Truthful Lens (1980) No. 96.

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Joel Munsell Produces a Sale Catalogue of His Collection of Rare Books on Printing and Related Topics 1868

Just after the American Civil War, in 1868 printer, publisher and author Joel Munsell of Albany, New York, decided to offer his personal library of rare and scarce books on the history of printing and related subjects for sale in a priced catalogue. This was entitled Catalogue of Books on Printing and the Kindred Arts: Embracing Also Works on Copyright, Liberty of the Press, Lbel, Literary Property, Bibliography, Etc. According to Bigmore & Wyman's Bibliography of Printing II (1880-86) 66, Munsell sold nearly the entire collection, on which he had spent about $3000, to the New York State Library in Albany.

As a collector and writer about books on the history of printing, as will be evident from this database, I often wonder how earlier collectors appreciated and valued the works we view as classics today. Reading Munsell's catalogue provides some insight in this regard, both in Munsell's choice of books and how he priced them relative to one another. The prices range in the catalogue from $1 to $25.00— prices which even updated to current values with respect to inflation, cannot in any way equate to the values of equivalent items today. Notably, the single highest price in the catalogue is $25.00 for Munsell's copy of the first edition of Moxon's Mechanick Exercises (1683-84), a work which, depending upon condition, would be valued in the upper five figures or low six figures in 2015. Beneath the price of Moxon, only a few books in Munsell's catalogue are priced $20. These include the Manuale Tipografico of Giambattista Bodoni (1818) originally issued in only about 290 copies. When I checked online in February 2015 a copy of the original edition was offered for $44,980. But other prices by Munsell are more difficult to understand and may simply reflect what he paid. For example a pamphlet by Camus, Notice d'une livre imprimé à Bamberg en MDCCCLXII (1462), which I purchased for around $150, is priced $7.50 by Munsell, and a late edition of Dibden's Bibliomania (1842) is priced $10. This book is very common today and can be bought for about $500. Perhaps Munsell fairly priced his copy of Fournier's Manuel typographique (1764-66) $10.00 in the money of his time, but strangely he characterized it as "unique", which it has never been. He then priced a very much rarer work by Fournier, Caractères de l'imprimerie, a duodecimo type specimen published in 1742, for only $1, characterizing it as "very curious."  He priced the Biographical Memoir of Luke Hansard by James Hansard (1829) $10. This scarce work in a deluxe binding cost me a bit over $300 in 2015. Another work where Munsell's prices seem very out of sync with the modern view is Paul Lacroix's Histoire de l'imprimerie et des arts et professions qui se rattachent (1852). This work with hand-colored plates can be bought today for about $200;  Munsell priced it $10. In constrast Munsell priced La Caille's, Histoire de l'imprimerie et de la librairie (1689), a book which sells for between $5250 and $2500 today, for only $5. On the other hand, Munsell priced Piette, Traité de la coloration des pates a papier (1863) $18, presumably reflecting its high cost and practical value, since the work was virtually new when he sold it. A copy of this book with pasted-in samples, issued in a very small edition, was offered for $10,000 in 2015. He also priced Savage, Practical Hints on Decorative Printing (1822) $10.  Savage's book might sell in the range of $7,500 to $15,000 today. However, later in his catalogue Munsell offers John Jackson's Treatise on Wood Engraving, Historical and Practical (1839) for $20. I have acquired three copies of this for around $200 each. 

From all of these comparisons of prices Munsell set with present values we may conclude that few books on the history of printing were perceived as scarce or especially expensive in 1868. Also, I think the market was more limited for this kind of book in the United States than it was in Europe at the time, and being aware of that, Munsell seems to have priced his books with the intention of mainly recovering his $3000 global cost. Beyond that there are vogues in all fields of collecting, and in my experience there are many bargains in rare books on the history of printing today.

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Alfred R. Wallace's "The Malay Archipelago" Describes the Wallace Line 1869

In 1869 British naturalist, explorer, and evolutionist Alfred Russel Wallace published The Malay Archipelago.

"The preface summarizes Wallace’s travels, the thousands of specimens he collected, and some of the results from their analysis after his return to England. The first chapter describes the physical geography and geology of the islands with particular attention to the role of volcanoes and earthquakes. It also discusses the overall pattern of the flora and fauna including the fact that the islands can be divided, by what would eventually become known as the Wallace line, into 2 parts, those whose animals are more closely related to those of Asia and those whose fauna is closer to that of Australia. The following chapters then describe in detail the places Wallace visited. Wallace includes numerous observations on the people, their languages, ways of living, and social organization, as well as on the plants and animals found in each location. He talks about the biogeographic patterns he observes and their implications for natural history, both in terms of biology (evolution ) and the geologic history of the region. He also narrates some of his personal experiences during his travels. The final chapter is an overview of the ethnic, linguistic, and cultural divisions among the people who live in the region and speculation about what such divisions might indicate about their history. The book is dedicated to Charles Darwin" (Wikipedia article on The Malay Archipelago, accessed 05-08-2009).

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Mendeleev's Discovery of the Periodic Law and the Periodic Table 1869

In 1869 Russian chemist Dimitrii Ivanovich Mendeleev (also romanized Mendeleyev or Mendeleef; Russian: Дми́трий Ива́нович Менделе́ев) published "Sootnoshenie svoistv s atomnym vesom elementov [Relation of the properties to the atomic weights of the elements]" in volume one of Zhurnal russkago khimicheskago oishchestra, 59-78 published in St. Petersburg by Tovarishchestvo ‘Obshchestvennaia Pol’za’. This was probably the earliest published report of his discovery of the periodic law and the first publication of a periodic table of the elements in the modern sense. The periodic table appeared on p. 70 of Mendeleev’s paper.

It has been demonstrated that this printing of the periodic table was made from the same setting of type as two single-sheet printings (with legends in French and Russian), which Mendeleev apparently circulated privately among his colleagues in Russia and abroad; Mendeleev’s manuscript copy-text for this setting of the table is dated February 18, 1869 O.S., corresponding to March 1, 1869 N.S. The same setting was used again for the printing of the table that appeared in Mendeleev’s book Osnovy khimii (1869). It is likely that the journal version was printed prior to the book version, since scientific discoveries of this type were usually announced first in journals.

According to the preface to the fifth edition of Osnovy khimii (translated into English in 1891), Mendeleev discovered the periodic law in 1869 during the time he was engaged in writing the first edition of that work.

“Mendeleev himself summarized the studies that had brought him to the periodic law in a later edition of Osnovy khimii, in which he commented on ‘four aspects of matter’ [isomorphism; relation of specific volumes of similar compounds or elements; composition of their compound salts; relations of atomic weights of elements] representing the measurable properties of elements and their compounds. . . . Since the periodic law was dependent upon the quantitative relation between atomic weight, as an independent variable, and its physical and chemical properties, Mendeleev in 1870 took up the problem of developing an entire ‘natural system of elements.’ He employed deduction to reach the boldest and most far-reaching logical consequences of the law that he had discovered, so that he might, by verification of these consequences, confirm the law itself. . . . The Osnovy khimii was finished in February 1871. . . . In March 1871, two years after his discovery of the law, Mendeleev first named it ‘periodic’ ” (Dictionary of Scientific Biography). 

Horblit, One Hundred Books Famous in Science (1964) no. 74.

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Johannes Friedrich Miescher Discovers DNA 1869 – 1871

Felix Hoppe Seyler

University of Tübingen

Friedrich Miescher

In 1869, while working at Felix Hoppe-Seyler's laboratory at the University of Tübingen, Germany, Swiss physician and biologist Johannes Friedrich Miescher  isolated a new class of compounds rich in organic phosphorous from the nuclei of white blood cells. These he called nuclein (nuclear protein). In 1871 Miescher published this discovery in "Ueber die chemische Zusammensetzung der Eiterzellen,"  Hoppe-Seyler, Felix, ed., Med.-chem. Untersuchungen , IV (1866-71) 441-60. Miescher concluded correctly that these "nucleins," were as important a center of metabolic activity as the proteins.

Miescher’s “nuclein” was later demonstrated to be the hereditary genetic material (DNA). He also was the first to suggest the existence of a genetic code.

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Francis Galton Issues "Hereditary Genius" 1869

In 1869 English polymath: anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, psychometrician, and statistician Francis Galton issued Hereditary Genius: An Inquiry into its Laws and Consequences. In this book he presented the results of his investigations of the heritability of scholarly, artistic and athletic talent, using the records of notable families as data.  He concluded that such talents have a high degree of heritability, and that people vary in the kind and degree of hereditary abilities they possess.  He applied the Gaussian or normal (Gaussian) distribution to the range of human abilities, expanding upon Quetelet's observation that certain measurable human characteristics are distributed like the error function, and thus gave a new importance to biological and psychological variation, which had previously been regarded as unimportant.

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Charles Joseph Minard Issues One of the Best Statistical Graphic Ever Drawn November 20, 1869

On November 20, 1869 French civil engineer Charles Joseph Minard published in Paris Carte figurative des pertes successives en hommes de l'Armée Française dans la campagne de Russie 1812-1813This was a a flow map on Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign of 1812 in which he marched his army of 500,000 men from the Neman River to Moscow.

"The graph displays several variables in a single two-dimensional image:

"• the army's location and direction, showing where units split off and rejoined

"• the declining size of the army (note e.g. the crossing of the Berezina river on the retreat)

"• the low temperatures during the retreat.

"Étienne-Jules Marey first called notice to this dramatic depiction of the terrible fate of Napoleon's army in the Russian campaign, saying it "defies the pen of the historian in its brutal eloquence". Edward Tufte says it 'may well be the best statistical graphic ever drawn' and uses it as a prime example in The Visual Display of Quantitative Information" (Wikipedia article on Charles Joseph Minard, accessed 01-16-2011).

The chart is a lithograph 62 x 30 cm.  

♦ An essay on Minard's historical sources for the chart, and a different reproduction pf the chart, was available at http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/minard in January 2011.

♦ The bibliographer of Minard's statistical graphics, Michael Friendly, posted several very interesting graphic variations on Minard's chart as Re-Visions of Minard. "I use 're-vision' in the sense of both 'to revise' and 'to see again', possibly from a new perspective." This was also available in January 2011.

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William Stanley Jevons Constructs the First Logic Machine to Solve Complicated Problems Faster than Man 1870

In 1870 English mathematician and economist William Stanley Jevons constructed his “logical piano,” the first logic machine to solve complicated problems with superhuman speed.  Jevons described his machine in "On the mechanical performance of logical inference," Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 160 (1870), 497-518 with 3 plates.

First demonstrated before the Royal Society in 1870, the original logical piano is still on display in the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford. The internal structure of the machine is illustrated in the three plates accompanying Jevons' paper, which provide a reasonable guide to its construction. Jevons was a pioneer of symbolic logic, and his paper includes a detailed explanation of his system of equational logic, which derived from (and in some important ways improved) the symbolic logic devised by Boole over two decades earlier.

Gardner, Logic Machines and Diagrams, 91-103. Schabas, A World Ruled by Number, 54ff. Lee, Computer Pioneers, 400-401. Randell, The Origins of Digital Computers,  479.

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British Telegraph is Nationalized 1870

In 1870 British telegraph systems were nationalized.

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Émile Baudot Invents the Baudot Code, the First Means of Digital Communication 1870 – 1874

In 1870 French telegraph engineer Émile Baudot invented the Baudot code, a character set predating EDCDIC and ASCII, which has been called the first means of digital communication. In Baudot's code each character in the alphabet is represented by a series of bits sent over a communication channel. The symbol rate measurement (symbols per second or pulses per second) is known as baud in Baudot's honor.

"Baudot invented his original code during 1870 and patented it during 1874. It was a 5-bit code, with equal on and off intervals, which allowed telegraph transmission of the Roman alphabet and punctuation and control signals. It was based on an earlier code developed by Carl Friedrich Gauss and Wilhelm Weber in 1834.

"Baudot's original code was adapted to be sent from a manual keyboard, and no teleprinter equipment was ever constructed that used it in its original form. The code was entered on a keyboard which had just five piano type keys, operated with two fingers of the left hand and three fingers of the right hand. Once the keys had been pressed they were locked down until mechanical contacts in a distributor unit passed over the sector connected to that particular keyboard, when the keyboard was unlocked ready for the next character to be entered, with an audible click (known as the "cadence signal") to warn the operator. Operators had to maintain a steady rhythm, and the usual speed of operation was 30 words per minute." (Wikipedia article on Baudot code, accessed 12-22-2011).

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Requiring Universal Education of Children Between the Ages of 5 and 12 in England and Wales 1870

On February 17, 1870, after campaigning by the National Education League, the Elementary Education Act 1870, drafted by liberal MP William Forster, and commonly known as Forster's Education Act, was introduced in Parliament. The Act established the framework for compulsory schooling of all children in England and Wales between ages 5 and 12 in England and Wales.

"A driving force behind the Act was a perceived need for Britain to remain competitive in the world by being at the forefront of manufacture and improvement.

"The Act was not taken up in all areas and would be more firmly enforced through later reforms. There were objections to the concept of universal education. One was because many people remained hostile to the idea of mass education. They claimed it would make labouring classes 'think' and that these classes would think of their lives as dissatisfying and possibly encourage them to revolt. Others feared that handing children to a central authority could lead to indoctrination. Another reason was the vested interests of the Church and other social groups. The churches were funded by the state with public money to provide education for the poor and these churches did not want to lose that influence on youth.

"The Act established the foundations of English elementary education. The state (Gladstonian Liberalism) became increasingly involved and after 1880 attendance was made compulsory for children until they were 12 years old.

"The Act was passed partly in response to political factors (such as the need to educate the citizens recently enfranchised by the Reform Act 1867 to vote wisely). It also came about due to demands for reform from industrialists, who feared Britain's status in world trade was being threatened by the lack of an effective education system. The spectacular military successes of the Prussian army prompted Gladstone to consider the military benefits of an Education Act; as he remarked: 'Undoubtedly, the conduct of the campaign, on the German side, has given a marked triumph to the cause of systematic popular education' " (Wikipedia article on Elementary Education Act 1870, accessed 06-07-2012).

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Henry Bradshaw Begins Modern Bibliographical Analysis April 1870

In 1870 librarian and bibliographer of Cambridge University Henry Bradshaw issued A Classified Index of the Fifteenth Century Books in the Collection of the Late M. J. de Meyer. This 28-page pamphlet published in London represented the beginning of modern bibliographical analysis.

“In April 1870 Henry Bradshaw, librarian of Cambridge University, published a little pamphlet entitled A Classified Index of the Fifteenth Century Books in the Collection of the Late M. J. de Meyer, Which Were Sold at Ghent in November 1869. Despite the unpromising title, it deserves to be considered a landmark in intellectual history—indeed, as far as bibliographical scholarship is concerned, one of the greatest of landmarks—for it contains a passage of major significance  emphasizing the importance of systematically examining the physical evidence in printed books. Bradshaw insisted that arranging early books according to the locations and presses where they were printed was the only method whereby knowledge of early printing would be advanced, since it provides a basis for dating or identifying the printers of books that do not readily proclaim their origins:

'we desire that the types and habits of each printer should be made a special subject of study, and those points brought forward which show changes of advance from year to year, or, where practicable, from month to month. When this is done, we have to say of any dateless or falsely dated book that it contains such and such characteristics, and we therefore place it at such a point of time, the time we name being merely another expression for the characteristics we notice in the book. In fact each press must be looked upon as a genus, and each book as a species, and our business is to trace the more or less close connexion of the different members of the family according to the characters which they present to our observation. The study of palaeotypography has been hitherto mainly such a dilettante matter, that people have shrunk from going into such details, though when once studied as a branch of natural history, it is as fruitful in interesting results as most subjects' (Bradshaw 15-16).

"This passage gains its landmark status by being the first published rationale of bibliographical methodology, explicitly envisioning a whole field of endeavor, from the person who was more responsible than any other for setting in motion what Stanley Morison called the ‘bibliographical revolution’ ” (Tanselle, Bibliographical Analysis: A Historical Introduction [2009] 6-7).

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The Pigeon Post into Paris: The First Important Application of Microfilm September 19, 1870 – January 28, 1871

During the four and a half months, from September 19, 1870 to January 28, 1871, of the Siege of Paris by German armies in the Franco-Prussian War normal channels of communication were interrupted, and the only way for the provincial government in Tours to communicate with Paris was by pigeon post.

During the Siege French photographer and inventor of microfilm René Dagron proposed using his microfilming process to carry messages by carrier pigeons. Dagron was not the first to produce microfilms, examples of which were shown by John Benjamin Dancer during the 1850s. The process was sufficiently well known that on July 9, 1853 John F. W. Herschel published a letter in the Athenaeum suggesting the microfilming of "reference materials." However, Dagron was the first to systematize and patent the process, publishing in 1864 a small illustrated booklet of 36 pages in 12mo entitled Traité de photographie microscopique giving details of his process and a price list of his equipment and supplies. This was the world's first treatise on microfilming techniques

Rampont, the man in charge of the carrier pigeon program, agreed to Dagron's proposal, and a contract was signed on November 11, 1871.

"According to the contract Dagron was to be paid 15 francs per 1000 characters photographed. A clause in the contract, signed by an official named Picard, gave Dagron the title of "chief of the photomicroscopic correspondence postal service" mentioning in French: 'M. Dagron a le titre de chef de service des correspondences postales photomicroscopiques. Il relève directement du Directeur Général des Postes,' which translates as 'Mr. Dagron has the title of the chief of the photomicroscopic correspondence postal service. He reports directly to the Director General of the Post Office.'

"After a period of difficulties and through hardships brought on by the war and the lack of equipment, Dagron finally achieved a photographic reduction of more than 40 diameters. The microfilms so produced weighed approximately 0.05 grams each and a pigeon was able to carry up to 20 at a time. Up to that point a page of a message could be copied in a microfilm approximately measuring 37 mm by 23 mm but Dagron was able to reduce this to a size of approximately 11 mm by 6 mm which was a significant reduction in the area of the microphotograph.

"Dagron photographed pages of newspapers in their entirety which he then converted into miniature photographs. He subsequently removed the collodion film from the glass base and rolled it tightly into a cylindrical shape which he then inserted into miniature tubes that were transported fastened on the wings of pigeons. Upon receipt the microphotograph was reattached to a glass frame and was then projected by magic lantern on the wall. The message contained in the microfilm could then be transcribed or copied. By 28 January 1871, when Paris and the Government of National Defense surrendered, Dagron had delivered 115,000 messages to Paris by carrier pigeon" (Wikipedia article on René Dagron, accessed 04-26-2009).

After the seige was over Dagron issued from Paris in 1871 a very small 24-page pamphlet in 12mo format describing the achievements of the Pigeon Post, La poste par pigeons voyageurs. Souvenir du Siège du Paris. Spécimen identique d'une des pellicules de dépêches portées a Paris par pigeons voyageurs. When issued the pamphlets contained actual samples of two pieces of microfilm presented in a glassine envelope inserted in a small printed folder inside the pamphlet.  Most of the surviving copies of the pamphlet no longer contain the microfilms.

J. D. Hayhurst, The Pigeon Post into Paris 1870-1871(1970) provides a comprehensive account, and reproduces a number of original documents including photomicrographs.

(This entry was last revised on 01-12-2015.)

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Heinrich Schliemann Discovers the Ancient City of Troy 1871 – 1873

Although many scholars believed that events in the Trojan War, as recorded in the Iliad, were non-historical, German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann disagreed. From 1871 to 1873 he excavated a hill, called Hisarlik (Hissarlik) by the Turks, near the town of Chanak in north-western Anatolia. There he discoversed the ruins of a series of ancient cities, dating from the Bronze Age to the Roman period.

From this excavation and another in 1878-79, Schliemann declared one of these cities—at first Troy I, later Troy II—to be the city of Troy. This identification became widely accepted. Later excavations showed that at least nine cities were built, one on top of the other, at this site.

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Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet Establishes the Mathematical Study of Anthropological Data 1871

In 1871 Belgian astronomer, mathematician, statistician and sociologist Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet published in Brussels Anthropométrie ou mesure des différentes facultés de l'homme. In Anthropmétrie and in Physique sociale ou essai sur le developpement des facultés de l'homme (1869), Quetelet established the basis for mathematical study of anthropological data. "Quetelet showed that if a series of anthropological measurements of either physical or intellectual qualities were plotted on squared paper, allowing x to be the measurements and y to be their frequency, they formed a curve like that representing the expansion of the binomial, or like that formed by plotting the errors of a great number of observers [i.e., the Gaussian curve]" (Penniman, 105). By applying the mathematics of the Gaussian curve to anthropological data, it became possible to plot the average or "standard" deviation from the statistical average, and thus to interpret anthropological data with greater exactness.

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Darwin Predicts that Human Origins Will be Found in Africa 1871

Charles Darwin published a 2-volume work entitled The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. Twelve years after the publication of On the Origin of Species, Darwin made good his promise to “throw light on the origin of man and his history” by publishing The Descent of Man in which he compared man’s physical and psychological traits to similar ones in apes and other animals, and showed how even man’s mind and moral sense could have evolved through processes of natural selection.

In discussing man’s ancestry, Darwin did not claim that man was directly descended from apes as we know them today, but stated that the extinct ancestors of Homo sapiens would have to be classed among the primates. This statement was widely misinterpreted by the popular press, and caused a furor second only to that raised by the Origin. Darwin also added an essay on sexual selection, i.e. the preferential chances of mating that some individuals of one sex have over their rivals because of special characteristics, leading to the accentuation and transmission of those characteristics.

Darwin originated of the single-origin hypothesis in paleoanthropology.

"In paleoanthropology, the recent African origin of modern humans is the mainstream model describing the origin and early dispersal of anatomically modern humans. The theory is called the (Recent) Out-of-Africa model in the popular press, and academically the recent single-origin hypothesis (RSOH), Replacement Hypothesis, and Recent African Origin (RAO) model. The hypothesis that humans have a single origin (monogenesis) was published in Charles Darwin's Descent of Man (1871). The concept was speculative until the 1980s, when it was corroborated by a study of present-day mitochondrial DNA, combined with evidence based on physical anthropology of archaic specimens" (Wikipedia article on Recent African origin of modern humans, accessed 05-15-2010).

Darwin wrote in a section of The Descent of Man entitled "On the Birthplace and Antiquity of Man":

"In each great region of the world the living mammals are closely related to the extinct species of the same region. It is, therefore, probable that Africa was formerly inhabited by extinct apes closely allied to the gorilla and chimpanzee; and as these two species are now man's nearest allies, it is somewhat more probable that our early progenitors lived on the African continent than elsewhere. But it is useless to speculate on this subject, for an ape nearly as large as a man, namely the Dryopithecus of Lartet, which was closely allied to the anthropomorphous Hylobates, existed in Europe during the Upper Miocene period; and since so remote a period the earth has certainly undergone many great revolutions, and there has been ample time for migration on the largest scale."

In spite of Darwin's suggestion, few if any 19th century researchers on human origins searched in Africa for evidence. It was not until Raymond Dart's highly controversial discovery of the first African hominin (hominid), Australopithecus africanus, in 1925 that serious attention began to paid to the African origins of mankind.

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Charles Babbage's Library: the First Catalogue of a Library on Computing and its History 1872

In 1872, the year after his death, Charles Babbage’s scientific library was sold at auction. The auction catalogue, containing over two thousand items on topics such as mathematical tables, cryptography, and calculating machines, and including many rare volumes, may be the first catalogue of a library on computing and its history.

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Samuel Butler Novel "Erewhon" Describes Artificial Consciousness 1872

In 1872 Erewhon: or, Over the Range, a satirical utopian novel by the English writer Samuel Butler, was published anonymously in London. A notable aspect of this satire on aspects of Victorian society, expanded from letters that Butler originally published in the New Zealand newspaper, The Press, was that Erewhonians believed that machines were potentially dangerous and that Erewhonian society had undergone a revolution that destroyed most mechanical inventions. In the section of Butler's satire called "The Book of the Machines" Butler appears to have imagined the possiblity of machine consciousness, or artificial consciousness, and that machines could replicate themselves

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Darwin Founds Ethology, Studies the Conveyance of Information, and Contributes to Psychology 1872

In 1872 Charles Darwin issued The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals through his publisher, John Murray. This book, which contained numerous wood-engraved text illustrations, was also illustrated with seven heliotype plates of photographs by pioneering art photogapher Oscar Gustave Rejlander, and was the only book by Darwin illustrated with photographs.

“With this book Darwin founded the study of ethology (animal behavior) and conveyance of information (communication theory) and made a major contribution to psychology” (DSB). Written as a rebuttal to the idea that the facial muscles of expression in humans were a special endowment, the work contained studies of facial and other types of expression (sounds, erection of hair, etc.) in man and mammals, and their correlation with various emotions such as grief, love, anger, fear and shame. The results of Darwin’s investigations showed that in many cases expression is not learned but innate, and enabled Darwin to formulate three principles governing the expression of emotions—relief of sensation or desire, antithesis, and reflex action.

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Eadweard Muybridge Produces the First Photographs of Motion 1872 – June 15, 1878

In 1872 former governor of California and railroad tycoon Leland Stanford, founder of Stanford University, hired the English photographer Eadweard Muybridge to settle a debate whether, during its gait, all four of a horse's hooves are simultaneously off the ground. This challenged Muybridge to look for a way to capture the sequence of movement. In 1878, after six years of work on the project, Muybridge succeeded. He arranged 12 trip-wire cameras along a racetrack in the path of a galloping horse. The resulting photo sequence proved that there is a point when no hooves touch the ground and set the stage for the first motion pictures.

"In 1872, Muybridge settled Stanford's question with a single photographic negative showing his Standardbred trotting horse Occident airborne at the trot. This negative was lost, but the image survives through woodcuts made at the time (the technology for printed reproductions of photographs was still being developed). He later did additional studies, as well as improving his camera for quicker shutter speed and faster film emulsions. By 1878, spurred on by Stanford to expand the experiments, Muybridge had successfully photographed a horse at a trot; lantern slides have survived of this later work. . . .

"Stanford also wanted a study of the horse at a gallop. Muybridge planned to take a series of photos on 15 June 1878 at Stanford's Palo Alto Stock Farm. He placed numerous large glass-plate cameras in a line along the edge of the track; the shutter of each was triggered by a thread as the horse passed (in later studies he used a clockwork device to set off the shutters and capture the images). The path was lined with cloth sheets to reflect as much light as possible. He copied the images in the form of silhouettes onto a disc to be viewed in a machine he had invented, which he called a zoopraxiscope. This device was later regarded as an early movie projector, and the process as an intermediate stage toward motion pictures or cinematography.

"The study is called Sallie Gardner at a Gallop or The Horse in Motion; it shows images of the horse with all feet off the ground. This did not take place when the horse's legs were extended to the front and back, as imagined by contemporary illustrators, but when its legs were collected beneath its body as it switched from "pulling" with the front legs to "pushing" with the back legs" (Wikipedia article on Eadweard Muybridge, accessed 10-24-2013).

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Henry Stevens Calls for a Central Bibliographical Bureau Which Would Also Store Images July 25 – November 29, 1872

American antiquarian bookseller and bibliographer Henry Stevens  published an auction catalogue of books, manuscripts, maps, and charts verbosely titled as follows:

Bibliotheca geographica & historica or a catalogue of a nine days sale of rare & valuable ancient and modern books maps charts manuscripts autograph letters et cetera illustrative of historical geography & geographical history general and local. . . collected used and described. With an introduction on the progress of geography and notes annotatiunculae [sic] on sundry subjects together with an essay upon the Stevens system of photobibliography. Part I. To be dispersed by auction . . . [in] London the 19th to 29th November 1872.

In his essay introductory to the catalogue entitled Photobibliography. A Word on Catalogues and How to Make Them Stevens calls for "A Central Bibliographical Bureau" which would produce standard bibliographical descriptions of items that could be used by other cataloguers and bibliographers.  Analogous to what later became national union catalogues of books, Stevens imagined that this could "be made self-supporting or even remunerative, like the Post Office."  He also called for a standardized system of recording reduced size images called "photograms" of books according to "one uniform scale." This would reduce "all the titles, maps, woodcuts, or whatever is desired to copy" to fit the images onto standardized filing cards on which bibliographical details could be written by hand, to spare the bibliographer the time and effort of transcribing title pages.  Negatives would be stored compactly, and prints made for reproduction in printed catalogues, etc. As examples Stevens had an albumen print of a title page pasted in as the frontispiece of the auction catalogue, plus a small circular photograph of "Ptolemy's World by Mercator" pasted onto the title page.   Stevens noted the he also made available a few copies of the auction catalogue on thicker paper with about 400 pasted-on "photograms."

Stevens later expanded on this idea in a paper entitled "Photobibliography, or a Central Bibliographical Clearing-House" presented to the 1877 Conference of Librarians held in London (see "Transactions and Proceedings of the Conference", pp. 70-81). In 1878 Stevens published privately a 16mo pamphlet of 49pp. entitled, Photo-Bibliography; or, a Word on Printed Card Catalogues of old, rare, beautiful, and costly books, and how to make them on a Co-operative System; and Two Words on the Establishment of a Central Bibliographical Bureau, or Clearing-house, for Librarians.  Bigmore & Wyman, A Bibliography of Printing (1880) III, 401.

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Montgomery Ward Issues the First General Merchandise Mail Order Catalogue August 1872

In August 1872, with two employees and a total capital of $1,600, American businessman Aaron Montgomery Ward founded Montgomery Ward & Company. From a small shipping room in Chicago Ward published the world's first general merchandise mail-order catalog, a single 8 x 12 inch price list showing 163 products for sale with ordering instructions. 

"Ward had conceived of the idea of a dry goods mail-order business in Chicago, Illinois, after several years of working as a traveling salesman among rural customers. He observed that rural customers often wanted 'city' goods but their only access to them was through rural retailers who had little competition and offered no guarantee of quality. Ward also believed that by eliminating intermediaries, he could cut costs and make a wide variety of goods available to rural customers, who could purchase goods by mail and pick them up at the nearest train station.

"After several false starts, including the destruction of his first inventory by the Great Chicago Fire, Ward started his business at his first office, either in a single room at 825 North Clark Street, or in a loft above a livery stable on Kinzie Street between Rush and State Streets. He had two partners and used $1,600 they had raised in capital. The first catalog in August 1872 consisted of an 8 by 12 in. single-sheet price list, showing 163 articles for sale with ordering instructions. Ward wrote the first catalog copy. His two partners left the following year, but he continued the struggling business and was joined by his future brother-in-law Richard Thorne.

"In the first few years, the business was not well received by rural retailers. Considering Ward a threat, they sometimes publicly burned his catalog. Despite the opposition, however, the business grew at a fast pace over the next several decades, fueled by demand primarily from rural customers who were attracted by the wide selection of items unavailable to them locally. Customers were also attracted by the innovative and unprecedented company policy of 'satisfaction guaranteed or your money back', which Ward began using in 1875" (Wikipedia article on Montgomery Ward, accessed 11-07-2013). 

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Willoughby Smith Discovers the Photoconductivity of Selenium 1873

English electrical engineer Willoughby Smith discovered in 1873 that the electrical resistance of selenium varies dramatically with the amount of light falling on it. The photoconductivity of selenium eventually provided a method for converting images into electrical signals—the basis for photoelectric cells and a theoretical basis for television. 

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Forest and Stream Magazine Promotes Conservation 1873

In 1873 American anthropologist, historian, naturalist, and writer George Bird Grinell became founding editor and publisher of Forest and Stream, a Weekly Journal devoted to Field and Aquatic Sports, Practical Natural History, Fish Culture, The Protection of Game, Preservation of Forests, and the Unculcation in Men and Women of a Helathy Interest in Outdoor Recreation and Study. The ninth oldest magazine in the U. S., it was dedicated to the conservation of wild life, induced the birth of the National Association of Audubon Societies, sponsored the National Park Movement, and the U. S.- Canada treaty on migratory birds.

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The Sholes & Glidden Type Writer, with the First QWERTY Keyboard 1873 – 1874

Latham Sholes's 1878 QWERTY keyboard layout

In 1872 the patent on the Sholes & Glidden Type Writer (U.S. patent 79,265, issued on June 23, 1868) was sold for $12,000 to Densmore and Yost, who licensed it to E. Remington & Sons, then famous as manufacturers of rifles and sewing machines. Remington started production of their first typewriter on March 1, 1873 in Ilion, New York. The machines, as first produced, were problematic in their operation.

The action of the type bars in the early typewriters were very sluggish and tended to jam frequently. To fix this problem, printer and publisher Christopher Sholes of Milwaukee, Wisconsin obtained a list of the most common letters used in English, and rearranged his keyboard from an alphabetic arrangement to one in which the most common pairs of letters were spread fairly far apart on the keyboard. Because typists at that time used the "hunt and peck" method, Sholes' arrangement increased the time it took for the typists to hit the keys for common two letter combinations enough to ensure that each type bar had enough time to fall back into place before the next one came up. This new arrangement, which Sholes invented in 1873, was named the Sholes QWERTY keyboard, and is still used today. Though Sholes had never imagined that typing would ever be faster than handwriting, which is usually 20 words per minute (WPM) or less, his invention with the QWERTY keyboard was the first machine to allow the operator to write faster than a person writing by hand.

When produced by Remington & Sons in 1874 Sholes's improved machine was called the “Sholes & Glidden Type Writer.” It had a keyboard with letters and numbers arranged in a four-line pattern (known as QWERTY from the first six letters in the top row), a wooden spacer bar, and a vulcanized india-rubber platen or roller. It only printed capital letters.

About 5000 of the Sholes & Glidden Type Writers were sold between 1874 and 1878, when Remington & Sons introduced the Remington 2,  the first typewriter to include both upper and lower case letters via a shift key.

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Bigmore & Wyman Issue the First Comprehensive Bibliography of the History of Printing 1873 – 1886

After announcing the project in 1873 printer Charles William Henry Wyman and bibliographer and antiquarian bookseller Edward C. Bigmore began publishing in January 1876 A Bibliography of Printing with Notes and Illustrations in monthly issues of Wyman's Printing Times and Lithographer magazine, completing serial publication in 1885. Perhaps it was not coincidental that publication of this work coincided with the planning and occurence of the massive 1877 Caxton Celebration, for which Wyman served on a sub-committee. Beginning in 1880 Bigmore and Wyman's work was published in book form by London antiquarian bookseller and publisher Bernard Quaritch in an edition limited to 250 copies, with the third and final volume issued in 1886. Describing roughly 10,000 books, pamphlets and periodicals, this was the first detailed, annotated bibliography of the history of printing, and one of the earliest comprehensive annotated bibliographies of any technical subject.  It was completed with the assistance of printer, historian of printing, bibliographer and book collector William Blades, of printer and of American printing historian Theodore Low De Vinne, whose historical treatise, The Invention of Printing. A Collection of Facts and Opinions was first published in 1876, and others. In particular Blades, the greatest English scholar printer of his time, turned over to the authors his comprehensive notes for a bibliography of the subject which Blades had long planned, but instead chose to have incorporated into Bigmore and Wyman's project.

Regarding the scope of the project the authors wrote in the prospectus (p. 5):

"The Compliers have limited the signification of the word 'Printing,' by rejecting photographic printing, calico printing, telegraphic printing, &c., as irrelevant processes which are not ulitised for literary purposes. In fact, the works cited are those treating of typographic, lithographic, copperplate printing, &c., with the cognate arts of type-founding, stereotyping, electrotyping, and wood-engraving. The subjects of Paper and Bookbinding are not included, although it would have been an interesting task to deal with them, as would also have been the case with Copyright and Laws regulating the Press; but though they bear very closely on the subject, they seem to belong rather to the results and outcome of printing than to printing itself."

When it came to printing the book form edition of the bibliography ironically Wyman did a questionable job. He had the text set in hard-to-read solid 8-point type with the lengthy notes set in even smaller, more difficult to read 6-point type. He used typical acidic wood-pulp paper then available, with the result that most copies of the original edition have become brittle with age. Furthermore the original edition lacked an index.  Twentieth century facsimile reprints of this very useful work remedied the paper problem by printing on acid-free paper. The best facsimile edition was issued in 2001 and Oak Knoll Press. It reproduced the text in enlarged and more legible form with a new introduction by printer Henry Morris and a new index.

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Robert Clark Kedzie Issues "Poisonous Papers," and a Poisonous Book Published in an Edition of 100 Copies 1873 – 1874

In 1874 American physician and chemist Robert Clark Kedzie at Michigan State University (then Michigan Agricultural College) in East Lansing, Michigan, published a report on "Poisonous Papers" in the First Annual Report of the Secretary of the State Board of Health of the State of Michigan for the Fiscal Year Ending Sept. 30, 1873, 60-64 (Lansing, 1874). Serving on the Michigan State Board of Health, and chairing its committee on "Poisons, Special Sources of Danger to Life and Health," Kedzie became aware of the profound dangers of arsenic in wallpaper, which was widely used in Michigan, and elsewhere in the United States at this time. In 1887, the American Medical Association estimated that between 1879 and 1883, 54–65% of all wallpaper sold in the United States contained arsenic, a third of which was at dangerous levels. Over time the poisonous pigment could flake or be brushed off the wallpaper and float in the air as inhalable dust or settle on furniture in the home.

To drive home the dangers of arsenic in wallpaper, also in 1874, Kedzie took the step of publishing one of the most unusual books ever issued: Shadows from the Walls of Death, a large volume measuring about 22 x 30 inches containing a title page and an 8 page preface followed by 86 samples cut from rolls of arsenic impregnated wallpaper. These volumes Kedzig donated to libraries throughout the State of Michigan. On May 12, 2012 The Ann Arbor Chronicle reported that only two of the one hundred copies remain extant in Michigan, one at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and the other at Michigan State University in East Lansing. Both copies remain toxic. The copy in Ann Arbor has all leaves encapsulated for safety, and can be handled only with gloves.

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Anthony Comstock Founds the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice and Lobbies for Passage of the "Comstock Law" 1873 – 1950

In 1873 United States Postal Inspector and politician Anthony Comstock founded the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, an organization dedicated to supervising public morality. Later that year Comstock successfully lobbied Congress to pass the Comstock Law, which made illegal the delivery or transportation of "obscene, lewd, or lascivious" material, as well as the distribution of any methods of, or information pertaining to, birth control, or any information about venereal disease. 

"George Bernard Shaw used the term "comstockery", meaning 'censorship because of perceived obscenity or immorality', after Comstock alerted the New York City police to the content of Shaw's play Mrs. Warren's Profession. Shaw remarked that 'Comstockery is the world's standing joke at the expense of the United States. Europe likes to hear of such things. It confirms the deep-seated conviction of the Old World that America is a provincial place, a second-rate country-town civilization after all.' Comstock thought of Shaw as an 'Irish smut dealer.' The term 'comstockery' was actually first coined in an editorial in The New York Times in 1895" (Wikipedia article on Anthony Comstock, accessed 01-12-2014).

The specific mission of the NYSSV was to monitor compliance with state laws and work with the courts and district attorneys in bringing offenders to justice. While the organization is best remembered for its opposition to literary works, it also closely monitored newsstands, which sold the popular magazines of the day. When I wrote this entry in January 2014 the Wikipedia article listed numerous "noteworthy actions"— mainly attempts to suppress literary or theatrical works undertaken by the NYSSV between 1900 and its closure in 1950. As far as I know, all of the suppressed works were eventually published in spite of the organization and the Comstock law(s).

Relevant to censorship, the circular symbol of the society graphically depicted a policeman arresting an offender on the left, and a top-hatted man burning books on the right.

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The "Daily Graphic" of New York, Probably the First Illustrated Daily Newspaper, Begins Publication March 4, 1873 – September 23, 1889

On March 4, 1873 the Daily Graphic of New York was founded. This tabloid, which was probably the first illustrated daily newspaper, remained in operation until September 23, 1889. 

On March 4, 1880 the Daily Graphic published the first halftone rather than engraved reproduction of a news photograph.

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"Circular Notes", a Precursor of Traveler's Cheques, are Introduced 1874

Circular note, launched in 1874 by Thomas Cook. 

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Thomas Cook.

English travel agent Thomas Cook introduced "circular notes." This financial product became much better known through the American Express brand of traveler's cheques which were introduced in 1891.

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Josiah Willard Gibbs Issues The Principia of Thermodynamics 1874 – 1878

In 1874 and 1878 American theoretical physicist, physical chemist, and mathematician Josiah Willard Gibbs published "On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances," Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences III, 108-248; 343-524. Gibbs’s paper, known as the Principia of chemical thermodynamics and physical chemistry, remains, along with Benjamin Franklin’s pioneering studies of electricity, among the greatest American contributions to physics and chemistry. The long two-part paper integrated chemical, physical, electrical, and electromagnetic phenomena into a coherent system. It introduced concepts such as chemical potential, phase rule, and others which form the basis for modern physical chemistry.

“In this monumental, densely woven, 300-page treatise, the first law of thermodynamics, the second law of thermodynamics, the fundamental thermodynamic relation, are applied to the predication and quantification of thermodynamic reaction tendencies in any thermodynamic system in a visual, three-dimensional graphical language of Lagrangian calculus and phase changes, among others” (Wikipedia article On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances, accessed 06-23-2011).

Though Gibbs’s work was published in one of the most obscure of American scientific periodicals, Gibbs attempted to gain wider circulation for his ideas by mailing a larger than usual number of offprints of the papers to scientists he believed would be interested. One of the few scientists who read the first offprint he received and commented about it in print was James Clerk Maxwell, “On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances,” Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society II (1876), 427-30. However, it is unclear that the papers had wide influence in the scientific community until they were translated into German by Wilhelm Ostwald (1892) and into French by Henry Louis Le Chatelier (1899). Through these translations and later editions Gibbs’s work influenced numerous scientists, including Nobel laureates in chemistry, physics, and economics, as expounded by the Wikipedia:

◊ Johan van der Waals of the Netherlands won the 1910 Nobel prize in physics. In his Nobel Lecture, he acknowledged the influence on his work of Gibbs's equations of state.

◊ "Max Planck of Germany won the 1918 Nobel prize in physics for his work in quantum mechanics, particularly his 1900 quantum theory paper. This work is largely based on the thermodynamics of Rudolf Clausius, Gibbs, and Ludwig Boltzmann. Nevertheless, Planck said about Gibbs: "…whose name not only in America but in the whole world will ever be reckoned among the most renowned theoretical physicists of all times."

◊ "At the turn of the 20th century, Gilbert N. Lewis and Merle Randall used and extended Gibbs's work on chemical thermodynamics, published their results in the 1923 textbook Thermodynamics and the Free Energy of Chemical Substances, one of the two founding books in chemical thermodynamics. In the 1910s, William Giauque entered the College of Chemistry at Berkeley, where he received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry, with honors, in 1920. At first he wanted to become a chemical engineer, but soon developed an interest in chemical research under Lewis's influence. In 1934, Giauque became a full Professor of Chemistry at Berkeley. In 1949, he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his studies in the properties of matter at temperatures close to absolute zero, studies guided by the third law of thermodynamics.

◊ "Gibbs strongly influenced the education of the economist Irving Fisher, who was awarded the first Yale Ph.D. in economics in 1891. One of Gibbs's protegés was Edwin Bidwell Wilson, who in turn passed his Gibbsian knowledge to the American economist Paul Samuelson. In 1947, Samuelson published Foundations of Economic Analysis, based on his Harvard University doctoral dissertation. Samuelson explicitly acknowledged the influence of the classical thermodynamic methods of Gibbs. Samuelson was the sole recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1970, the second year of the Prize. In 2003, Samuelson described Gibbs as "Yale's great physicist" (Wikipedia article on Josiah Willard Gibbs, accessed 06-23-2011).

Remarkably Gibbs’s mailing lists for distribution of his offprints are among his papers preserved at Yale. These lists were published by Wheeler, Josiah Willard Gibbs. The History of a Great Mind (1952) 235-48. According to these records Gibbs mailed nearly 100 copies of each of the two parts of his paper, mostly to individuals, and 10 each to institutions. Of these few appear to have survived. Dibner, Heralds of Science  no. 49 (journal issue). Horblit, One Hundred Books Famous in Science  no. 60 (journal issue). Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 899 (offprint issue).

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Francis Amasa Walker Issues The First National Thematic Atlas 1874

In 1874 American economist, statistician, journalist, educator, academic administrator, and military officer Francis Amasa Walker published in Washington, D.C. at the Government Printing Office Statistical Atlas of the United States Based on the Results of the Ninth Census 1870 with Contributions from Many Eminent Men of Science and Several Departments of the Government. This oversized compendium of maps, graphs, statistical tables, and essays by scientists, economists, and federal officials was the first comprehensive thematic atlas produced by any nation.  It was hailed both at home and abroad for its innovative use of graphic elements to distill and display complex data. When he conceived and supervised production and publication of this work Walker was Chief of the U. S. Bureau of Statistics and superintendent of the 1870 census. The 60 large maps, most of which were printed in color, were chromolithographed in New York by Julius Bien, who produced the plates for the first American full-size reissue of portions of Audubon's Birds of America (1858-60).

Kinnahan, "Charting Progress: Francis Amasa Walker's Statistical Atlas of the United States and Narratives of Western Expansion," American Quarterly 60 (2008) 399-423.

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James Clerk Maxwell's Three-Dimensional Thermodynamic Surface in Clay 1874

In a letter to Irish physicist Thomas Andrews of Belfast dated July 15, 1875 Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell, then at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge, wrote "I think you know Prof. J. Willard Gibbs's (Yale College Connecticut) graphical methods in thermodynamics. Last winter I made several attempts to model the surface which he suggests, in which the three coordinates are volume, entropy and energy. The numerical data about entropy can only be obtained by integration from data which are for most bodies very insufficient, and besides it would require a very unwieldy model to get all the features, say of CO2, well represented, so I made no attempt at accuracy, but modelled a fictitious substance, in which the volume is greater when solid than when liquid; and in which, as in water, the saturated vapour becomes superheated by compression. When I had at last got a plaster cast I drew on it lines of equal pressure and temperature, so as to get a rough motion of their forms. This I did by placing the model in sunlight, and tracing the curve when the rays just grazed the surface... I send you a sketch of these lines...."

The result of Maxwell's clay modelling project, an early information visualization project known as Maxwell's thermodynamic surface, is an 1874 sculpture which provides a

"three-dimensional plot of the various states of a fictitious substance with water-like properties. This plot has coordinates volume (x), entropy (y), and energy (z). It was based on the American scientist Josiah Willard Gibbs’ graphical thermodynamics papers of 1873. The model, in Maxwell's words, allowed 'the principal features of known substances [to] be represented on a convenient scale.' 

"Gibbs' papers defined what Gibbs called the 'thermodynamic surface,' which expressed the relationship between the volume, entropy, and energy of a substance at different temperatures and pressures. However, Gibbs did not include any diagrams of this surface. After receiving reprints of Gibbs' papers, Maxwell recognized the insight afforded by Gibbs' new point of view and set about to construct physical three-dimensional models of the surface. This reflected Maxwell's talent as a strong visual thinker and prefigured modern scientific visualization techniques.

"Maxwell sculpted the original model in clay and made three plaster casts of the clay model, sending one to Gibbs as a gift, keeping the other two in his laboratory at Cambridge University. Maxwell's copy is on display at the Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge University, while Gibbs' copy is on display at the Sloane Physics Laboratory of Yale University, where Gibbs held a professorship" (Wikipedia article on Maxwell's thermodynamic surface, accessed 12-25-2012).

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