Animal, Vegetable, Mineral
Timothy D. Murray, Alexander Clark Johnston, Curtis Small
The University of Delaware Libary's exhibition "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral" presents selections from the extensive natural history collection of Special Collections, located on the Second Floor of the Morris Library. Natural history research, whether the work of amateur naturalists or highly trained scholars, has produced many of the most remarkable books ever printed, from the very first century of printing up to the present day. "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral" features an eclectic selection of natural history books from the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries, including a 1511 printing of the Hortus Sanitatis, a late medieval natural historian whose woodcuts depict real animals alongside such fantasies as the unicorn and the manticore.
The exhibition also features foundational works on American zoology such as Alexander Wilson's American Ornithology (1808-1814) and John Edwards Holbrook's North American Herpetology (1842), which were among the first books to provide systematic, illustrated descriptions of their respective subjects; early treatises on geology and mineralogy such as Charles Lyell's Elements of Geology (1838) and Giovanni Maria Bonardo's La Minera del Mondo (1589); and scarce herbal descriptions such as a 16th-century translation of Dioscorides's De Materia Medica (50-70- CE).
The full online version of "Animal, Vegetable, Mineral" will be appearing soon.