DescriptionAlfred Russel Wallace. Palm Trees of the Amazon and Their Uses. London: John Van Voorst, 1853. First edition. 12mo in sixes. viii, 129, [1, imprint] pages. Complete with forty-eight lithographic plates by W. Fitch and one map frontispiece. Publisher's cloth decorated in blind, spine lettered in gilt and decorated in blind. Corners bumped, moderate edgewear, head and foot of spine pushed and somewhat worn with chipping to head, rear joint just starting, spine sunned, rubbed and somewhat foxed and soiled. Yellow endpapers; rear hinge just starting, minor foxing. Internally generally clean and tight, all edges trimmed; foxed chiefly to front and back of text block, minor thumbsoiling. Very good.
In addition to being Wallace's first published title, Palm Trees of the Amazon was also one of the first ever comprehensive guides on palms; more notable still for its simple language and design created specifically for the use of the general public. When Wallace returned to England in 1852, a fire on the ship destroyed the majority of his collections and notes en route, leaving only a few salvageable notes and drawings on palms. Ultimately, only 250 copies of this book were ever printed, making it "one of the rarest books on Amazonian botany," (Knapp, page 117).
Knapp, et al., Alfred Russel Wallace and the Palms of the Amazon, 2002; Nissen BBI 2097.
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