San Francisco: The Grabhorn Press, 1937. Limited Edition. Hardcover. One of 325 copies, quarto size, 57 pp. Near fine. Item #17080407
Swiss physician Conrad Gesner (1516-1565) studied botany, theology, and philology, in addition to medicine; an avid naturalist, he aspired to climb mountains yearly or every other year, not only to exercise his body but also to collect samples of various plant species that grew at high altitudes. He writes in a letter to his friend Jacob Avienus, included in this volume, ". . .he is an enemy of nature, whosoever has not deemed lofty mountains to be the most worthy of great contemplation." Gesner is credited with creating the first descriptions of certain animals and plants in Europe, such as the tulip and the brown rat.
In addition to Gesner's letter, this publication by the Grabhorn Press includes reproductions of woodcuts by Hans Leonhard Schaufelin (ca. 1480-1540), a German painter and printmaker who worked as an assistant to Albrecht Durer (1471-1528); the woodcuts originally appeared in the 1517 edition of the poem "Theuerdank" by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I. An essay on Conrad Gesner and mountaineering by J. Monroe Thorington follows the letter to Avienus.
___DESCRIPTION: Quarter tan cloth with tan paper boards with an orange and brown pattern flecked with gold, orange lettering and ornaments on the spine, fore- and bottom edges uncut, title page in red and black, three illustrated initials by Dorothy Grover throughout, eight woodcuts by Hans Leonhard Schaufelin, reproduced from plates in early editions of Theuerdank, throughout; hand-set Italian Old Style type, Van Gelder paper, quarto size (11.5" by 8.25"), pagination: [1-4] 5-14 [15-18] 19-54 [55-56] [1 colophon], one of 325 copies, unnumbered.
___CONDITION: Volume is near fine, with clean boards, straight corners without rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; age-toning to the free endpapers, a shallow crease to the bottom margins of pages 15 and 16, and some off-setting to the margins of page 36, else fine.
___CITATION: Grabhorn Press Bibliography, no. 273.