The birds of the Belgian Congo. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, Volume LXV.

New York: AMNH, 1932. Four volumes. Royal 8vo. x, 756; vii, 632; 821; ix, 846 pp., including a gazetteer of African localities mentioned in parts 1 to 4 and a very substantiv. FIRST EDITION. I: With frontispiece, 10 plates, including a folding colored map of the Congo, and 208 figures; II: With colored frontispiece, 21 plates (2 in color) and 38 figures; III: With 14 plates and 36 figures; IV: With 27 plates and 46 figures. Original brown cloth with gilt lettering on spine; a very clean copy from the Library of James M. Dolan Jr., with his small blind stamp on title and with a hand-colored bookplate on the paste-down of Volumes I and II of a bird with the motto “vi et industrai.”. Item #16285

First edition of Chapin’s monumental work, published in four volumes over a period of 21 years. This complete account of the faunal study of this region includes a discussion of the author’s ornithological exploration of the Belgian Congo, topography and geology, climate, faunal relations and subdivisions, botanical remarks, and more specific information on the birds, including their geographical distribution and variation, breeding, and evolution. The author arrived in the Belgian (now officially named the Democratic Republic of the) Congo in 1909 as an assistant to the American Museum of Natural History Congo Expedition. He stayed for more than five years, collecting over six thousand bird specimens and cataloguing about one-eighth of the known species in the world. Because he worked on his own, the book is written in the first person, giving it an immediacy and readability that many ornithological studies lack. This is a superb set of a scarce and definitive study (only 300 copies of the first volume were printed). For this work the author was awarded the Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal from the National Academy of Sciences in 1932.

Chapin (1889-1964) was one of the highest regarded ornithologists of his time. He received a doctorate from Columbia University in 1919, and then began a long career at the American Museum of Natural History. Chapin served as the 17th president of The Explorers Club from 1949 to 1950.

Price: $650.00

See all items by