Cambridge: Hilliard and Brown; Hilliard, Gray and Co., 1832; 1834. Two volumes. Thick 12mo. vi, 683; vii, [i], 627 pp. including index in each volume (first work lacks half-title). FIRST EDITIONS. With 114 beautiful woodcut text illustrations. Original publisher's cloth with paper spine labels, binding of second work unglued at front and spine; some light browning (heavier to preliminaries and endleaves) and scattered foxing. From the library of Dr. Robert Peter, with his book labels and ownership inscription to both volumes. Item #11029
First edition of "one of the earliest landmarks in the history of American ornithology." Written by one of the leading naturalists of the time, this work covers hundreds of land and water birds found on the North American continent, providing detailed descriptions of physical aspects, as well as of nesting and feeding habits. Based partially upon Nuttall's own observations and partly on the writings of Audubon, Wilson and others, Nuttall wrote the manual after having traveled extensively through North America.
Nuttall (1786-1859), a distinguished botanist and zoologist, later became curator of the botanical gardens at Harvard University. While traveling the route taken by Lewis and Clark, accompanied by the English Botanist John Bradbury, he discovered several previously unknown plants, afterwards writing his North American Sylva, the first book to include all of the trees of North America. Several bird species have been named after Nuttall, including the Piccoides nuttalii, by his friend William Gambel, and the Pica nuttalli and Phalaenoptilus nuttalli by James Audubon.
Robert Peter (b.1805) was born in England and settled in Pennsylvania in 1821. Initially he devoted his attention to botany, founding a botanical society, and becoming associated in the organization of the Philosophical society and the Philological institute of Pittsburgh. He was first a professor of chemistry at Transylvania University, then entered the medical department, graduating in 1834 and becoming professor of chemistry and pharmacy there. During the greater part of the civil war he was employed as acting assistant surgeon in charge of the United States general hospitals in Lexington. In 1865 he was appointed professor of chemistry and experimental natural philosophy at Kentucky University, which in 1866 acquired the Agricultural and mechanical college of Kentucky, in which he remained until 1887, when he was made emeritus.