Collection of 44 letters, 98 pages, mainly quarto, in very good, clean and legible condition.
Significant archive of
incoming correspondence to Dr. Jacob Bigelow from twenty notable
correspondents, dating from 1814 – 1823, which illuminates the beginnings of
American Botanical Science and its relation to medicine in the new American
Republic. Bigelow was a 19th century Renaissance man, physician,
teacher, botanist, and technician - he is becoming recognized today as one of
the major philosophers of the medicine of his era – a transitional figure
between the old medicine and the new.
Bigelow studied under Dr. Benjamin Smith
Barton, at the University of Pennsylvania, whose work on the medicinal plants
of the United States exerted a strong influence on Bigelow’s subsequent career.
Bigelow built up his medical practice in Boston after 1811, and continued to
pursue his interest in botany, he instituted in 1812 a course of lectures in
botany – in connection with these lectures and in the preparation of drugs for
his medical practice, he commenced an intensive study of the flora of the
Boston region and in 1814 published Florula
Bostoniensis, based on these researches. He was the first native born
botanist to collect and describe New England’s flora. At the time the study of
natural history was advanced by passionate scientific amateurs, Bigelow brought
a more thorough, systemic, and scientific approach to the subject.
Bigelow is often remembered today for
his bibliographic… more >