London: H. Bailliere, 1843. 8vo. xvi, 556 pp. FIRST EDITION. Hand-coloured engraved frontispiece, 40 engraved plates on 39 leaves (36 hand-coloured) and numerous text woodcuts. Modern calf, gilt border on covers, spine in compartments with gilt decorations, title and author in gilt; new endpapers. Overall an excellent copy. Item #16060
First edition of this finely illustrated ethnographical study of mankind. The present work was of major importance for its assemblage of organized data on human population. Prichard sets forth the differences of color, hair, stature and form. He examines the value of each criterion as evidence of differences in race, and maintains that all mankind is descended from one family.
Prichard (1786-1848) was a physician and anthropologist as well as a pioneer in the moral treatment of the insane. He laid the groundwork for the later research by Lyell and anticipated the human evolution theories of Darwin and Weismann.