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Record: oai:ARNO:535086

AuthorF.A. Stafleu
TitleDates of Botanical Publications 1788-1792
JournalMededelingen van het Botanisch Museum en Herbarium van de Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht
AbstractQuestions of priority often necessitate a search for precise dates of publication. Much research of this kind has already been done, for instance by Britten and Woodward in their “Bibliographical notes” published in the Journal of Botany, by O. Kuntze in his Revisio generum plantarum, by W. T. Stearn in numerous publications, by Mrs. van Steenis-Kruseman in the Flora malesiana, by G. Sayre in a special book describing publications from 1801 to 1821 of importance for the nomenclature of Musci. My attention was drawn more especially to the period around 1789, the year of the French revolution, a period in which many important botanical books were published. It is sufficient to mention the names of Aiton, Cavanilles, Gaertner, Gmelin, Jacquin, Jussieu, L’Héritier, Schreber, and J. E. Smith to stress the importance to plant taxonomy of the publications of this period. The main work of the period, Antoine-Laurent de Jussieu’s Genera plantarum, came from the press in the early days of the French revolution. The last sheets were being printed on the 14th of July 1789, and the book was available some weeks later. It was especially the place of this book with regard to other books of almost the same importance, such as Aiton’s Hortus kewensis, Gaertner’s De fructibus et seminibus plantarum, Cavanilles’ Dissertationes, and Schreber’s Genera plantarum, that made me try to find more precise dates of publication for some books of the years 1788-1792. The sources of information in this kind of work are well known from the bibliographic publications mentioned above, but the particular sources for this period are more difficult to find. Since my work was centered around the Genera plantarum of de Jussieu and since during this period London was second only to Paris as the outstanding center of taxonomic research, the most important sources were of English and French origin. The French sources are intriguing but exasperating. The revolution disrupted the regular flow of periodicals and the regular work of the printers. The printing-shops had to be used again and again for the production of that tremendous amount of printed matter which accompanied the revolution. The eighteenth century had seen many prodigies of typographic production, but never before had such a feverish typographic activity been the expression of social and political events of such magnitude. Many new periodicals came into being; others were temporarily or finally suspended. The system of distribution of printed matter, however, was often disrupted, and of many publications very few copies have been preserved. The period is fascinating: the sources that give information on the publication of botanical books nearly all contain information on local and world events, information which is often illuminating for the circumstances under which botanical work had to be carried on.
Document typearticle
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