London: John & Arthur Arch, 1826. Two volumes. 8vo. xxxii, 544; [ii], 623 pp. SECOND EDITION. With 10 plates as listed in the contents, many hand-colored. In addition, tipped in are 59 extra hand-colored illustrations and manuscript notes (25 items in Volume 1, 34 in Volume 2), many by the author (see below). Rebound in full calf, gilt borders on covers and spine labels. An absolutely amazing copy. Item #17346
Second edition of the author’s classic work on human variation. Prichard conducted an ethnographical investigation of the world’s races, gathering information on physical, linguistic and cultural connections, and comparing anatomical, physiological and psychological characters. Following John Hunter’s “domestication” theory, Prichard attempted to show that human variation was comparable to variation within other animal species. He states that the primal color of humankind had not been white, as had long been supposed, but black, and that it was via the “transmutation of the characters of the Negro” that the European and all other varieties of the human species were derived. In subsequent editions, Prichard abandoned his position and replaced it with a less specific, environmental argument.
Prichard (1786-1848) was a physician and anthropologist as well as a pioneer in the moral treatment of the insane. The research he conducts for this endeavor laid the groundwork for the later research by Lyell and anticipated the human evolution theories of Darwin and Weismann.
This copy was likely owned by the author, who inserted numerous hand-written notes and hand-captioned illustrations. The notes are intended to further explain the text; for example, he explains the difference between wool and hair in the appropriate section, and includes hand-colored illustrations of English, French, Italians and Normans. A list of the additional manuscripts and illustrations appear in the front of each volume.