Posts tagged ‘aps’

Polar Hayes: The Life and Contributions of Isaac Israel Hayes, M.D. (American Philosophical Society Memoir 262, ISBN: 9780871692627)

Polar Hayes: The Life and Contributions of Isaac Israel Hayes, M.D.
(American Philosophical Society Memoir, ISBN: 9780871692627)
by Douglas W. Wamsley (Hardcover, 547 pages, 2009, $75.00)

Polar Hayes
In the mid-19th century as an ambitious young country expanded its horizons westward, Dr. Isaac Israel Hayes, a young physician from an Orthodox Quaker family in the rural farmland of Pennsylvania, turned his eyes to the North.

As a member of the harrowing American arctic expedition under the command of Dr. Elisha Kent Kane in search of the lost British explorer Sir John Franklin, Hayes became obsessed with making his own mark in the far northern polar regions.

He organized his own privately funded voyage to the Arctic in 1860, during which he claimed to have reached a ‘farthest north’ and to have stood on the edge of the fabled “Open Polar Sea,” a mythical ice-free zone in the high northern latitudes.

Through his own hard fought experiences, combined with the knowledge learned from native Greenlanders or Polar Eskimos, he successfully influenced the course of Arctic discovery, causing perceptive explorers to follow his guidance and lead. Directing the same ambition to humanitarian and social causes, during the devastating U.S. Civil War and as an elected politician in New York State during its Gilded Age, Hayes served the ‘public good’ for a decade, with accomplishments as far reaching as his Arctic service, but little recognized even during his lifetime.

In this book, which draws upon Hayes family papers, the little viewed diaries from Hayes’s own expeditions, as well as other unpublished primary sources, the story emerges of a remarkable but forgotten explorer, writer, politician, and humanitarian who epitomized the rugged and restless spirit of adventure and individualism of 19th-century America. Illustrations.

“Polar Hayes” has been nominated for the 2010 William Mills Prize [PDF], which honors the best Arctic or Antarctic nonfiction books published throughout the world, according to the Polar Libraries Bulletin.

“All aspects of Hayes’ life are packaged in a marvelously researched book that effectively uses valuable primary source material, some of it newly discovered,” writes Hal Vogel in Arctic Magazine (December 2009) [PDF]. “Wamsley’s thorough knowledge of his subject and environment can often be seen when he refers to collateral polar events and personalities that were influenced by Hayes.

“His descriptions of the Kane expedition from the perspective of Dr. Hayes are especially noteworthy. They alone make a worthwhile read. Dr. I.I. Hayes lacked a biography, but deserved one. Now he has one that deserves its place among our best polar biographical literature.”

“Lawyer and independent scholar Wamsley has written and lectured extensively on 19th-century Arctic exploration and explorers,” writes Book News in a review. “Here he narrates how Hayes (1832-81), a Quaker physician from rural Pennsylvania, got a taste of Arctic exploration early then became a leading advocate of it as a means of advancing science and geography. Overcoming public apathy, he organized and led the first privately funded American expedition to find the North Pole, thus initiating the modern pole race.”

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July 7, 2010 at 9:59 pm Leave a comment

Tintype in America, 1856-1880 (American Philosophical Society Transaction 97-2, ISBN: 0871699729)


Read more about our selection of books on 19th century photography. >>


Tintype in America, 1856-1880
(American Philosophical Society Transaction 97-2, ISBN: 0871699729)
by Janice G. Schimmelman (Paperback, 270 pages, 2007, $29.00)

Tintype in AmericaA history of the ferrotype or tintype in American photography, from its origin in the 1850s until 1880.

Schimmelman, Professor of Art History, presents a history of the technological development of the tintype and its manufacture, and touches upon a number of issues relating to the cultural and social aspects of the tintype. She lays an interesting groundwork for thinking about the class dimensions of Victorian aesthetics and about the political economy of taste.

The heart of the book is the extended accounts of the improvements in the presentation of the images and of the inventors and businessmen who made the improvements and advanced their careers in the business. Raises important issues in art history and the history of photography. Includes over 200 reproductions of actual tintypes.

[A]n excellent resource for collectors, researchers, and nineteenth-century photography enthusiasts,” writes Dennis O. Williams in The Daguerreian Society Newsletter (20:2, May-July 2008) [PDF].

“Schimmelman guides the reader through the book in a chronological fashion that the reader can easily follow. Through the writing of this text, her passion for the photographic history of the tintype has indeed been preserved. The organization of the book is splendid. Along with the wealth of written history to complement the story, Schimmelman includes examples of patent drawings and photographic advertisements. Exemplifying the depth of research that went into this book, a reference section concludes each chapter. ”

People posing for tintypes.
Tintype in America, 1856-1880, p.48.

The journal Early Popular Visual Culture (8:2, May 2010) adds: “This is not the only book on the tintype photograph, but it is probably the most comprehensive, being based on years of collecting and research by the author, with information culled from books, photographic journals and newspapers.”

“As the author puts it, these images offer ‘small windows into American life.’ The book is good on the themes of these photographs, and Chapter 9 is arranged thematically, dealing with such subjects as death and remembrance, Americans at play and work, and beloved children.

“Elsewhere in the book the author covers the invention and development of the process, various kinds of studios and albums, and double exposures, as well as techniques for retouching and colouring tintypes.”

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Read more about our selection of books on 19th century photography. >>


July 7, 2010 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

The Long Route to the Invention of the Telescope (American Philosophical Society Transaction 98-5, ISBN: 9781606189856)

The Long Route to the Invention of the Telescope
(American Philosophical Society Transaction 98-5, ISBN: 9781606189856)
by Rolf Willach (Paperback, 116 pages, 2008, $35.00)

Telescope CoverAfter the telescope became known in 1608-1609, a number of people in widely separate locations claimed that they had such a device long before the announcement came from The Hague.

In the summer of 1608, no one had a telescope, in the summer of 1609, everyone had one. How was this possible?

Author Rolf Willach has quietly tested early spectacle lenses in museums and private collections, and now he reports on this study, which gives an entirely new explanation of the invention of the telescope and solves the conundrum mentioned above.

Willach is an optical engineer and independent scholar who worked for several years in the Department of Physics at the Institute of Astronomy in Bern. He has written extensively on the history of the development of optics and the telescope. Illustrations.

“[Willach] has developed the most exciting thesis on the development of the telescope to appear in decades, and he deserves much credit for his bold and carefully proposed and illustrated conjectures,” writes Dr. Marvin Bolt, of Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, in the Journal for the History of Astronomy (February 2010).

“His resulting account is also an excellent example of how to use easily understood and compelling visual evidence without resorting to technological overkill and unnecessary detail.

“With this assemblage and sequence of a wide range of evidence over many centuries, Willach’s volume will inform any serious early telescope scholarship for the foreseeable future, and should be read by anyone interested in the origins of the telescope.”

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July 7, 2010 at 12:29 pm Leave a comment

Peter Collinson and the Eighteenth-Century Natural History Exchange (American Philosophical Society Memoir 264, ISBN: 9780871692641)

Peter Collinson and the Eighteenth-Century Natural History Exchange
(American Philosophical Society Memoir 264, ISBN: 9780871692641)
by Jean O’Neill and Elizabeth P. McLean
(Paperback, 216 pages, 2008, $75.00)

Peter CollinsonCollinson’s life is a microcosm of 18th-century natural history. A gardener and naturalist by avocation, he was what we would now call a facilitator in natural science, disseminating botanical and horticultural knowledge during the Enlightenment.

He influenced the Comte de Buffon and Linnaeus. He found clients for the Philadelphia naturalist John Bartram. American plants populated great estates like those of the Dukes of Richmond, Norfolk, and Bedford, as well as the Chelsea Physic Garden, and the nurseries of James Gordon and Robert Furber. Botanic painters such as Mark Catesby and Georg Dionysius Ehret painted American plants in Collinson’s garden.

He had an unprecedented effect on the exchange of scientific information on both sides of the Atlantic, being credited for introducing more than 150 plans to horticulture. Illustrations.

“One man can make a difference,” co-author Elizabeth McLean tells Green Scene [PDF] in the September/October 2009 issue. “[Collinson] did it for love. He was self-educated, yet he made enormous contributions to natural history in the eighteenth century.”

This book has been indexed by H.W. Wilson in their “Essay and General Literature Index” for June 2009.

H.W. Wilson writes: “These essays describe the life and achievements of the Quaker Peter Collinson, an 18th century London draper and naturalist whose interest in horticulture led him to establish contact with the Philadelphia Quaker farmer and naturalist John Bartram and to import Bartram’s American plants to England.

“The consequent popularity of American plants in English gardens, reflected even in the botanic paintings of the period, have earned Collinson a place in the history of botany as a facilitator between English and American horticulture.”

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July 4, 2010 at 2:18 am Leave a comment

Playing With Fire: Histories of the Lightning Rod (American Philosophical Society Transaction 99-5, ISBN: 9781606189955)

Playing With Fire: Histories of the Lightning Rod
(American Philosophical Society Transaction 99-5, ISBN: 9781606189955)
by Peter Heering, Oliver Hochadel and David J. Rhees
(Paperback, 290 pages, 2009, $35.00)

Playing with FireThis collection of historical and scientific studies shows the impressive significance of the invention, development, and use of the lightning rod in the past 250 years.

The rod was a device long taken to be a symbol of enlightenment and utility, judged by some commentators the very first practical application of the experimental physical sciences to truly practical ends; opposition to its introduction was similarly taken to be a sign of obscurantism and superstition.

These essays move beyond the lightning rods’ storied revolutionary symbolism to skillfully explore the range of techniques, experiments, and publics that fashioned conductors and their varied meanings across time and space.

The superbly illustrated studies demonstrate just how contested, puzzling and dangerous these devices often proved among early experimenters and their audiences. An intriguing and entertaining secret history of one of modernity’s most cherished technoscientific objects. Illustrations.

“This interesting collection of essays examines the scientific and cultural significance of the lightning rod over the past 250 years,” writes Book News in a review. “Far from being a mere practical device, the lightning rod from its beginning took on great importance as a symbol of rationalism and the advance of science.

“Essays look at the experiences of early experimenters with lightning rods, and at the growth of what could be called the “lightning protection” industry. Especially interesting is the final essay in the book, in which the authors assert that Benjamin Franklin’s archetypal lightning rod was in reality not very effective. Including many illustrations, this book will greatly appeal to readers interested in the history of science and technology.

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July 4, 2010 at 1:54 am Leave a comment

Magnetic Fever: Global Imperialism and Empiricism in the Nineteenth Century (American Philosophical Society Transaction 99-4, ISBN: 9781606189948)

Magnetic Fever: Global Imperialism and Empiricism in the Nineteenth Century
(American Philosophical Society Transaction 99-4, ISBN: 9781606189948)
by Christopher Carter (Paperback, 168 pages, 2009, $35.00)

Magnetic FeverExplores the links between science and empire in the 19th century, focusing on the mutual interactions of British imperialism and geophysical empiricism.

The 19th century was a time when science was becoming global, in part due to European colonial and imperial expansion. Colonies became not just propagation points for European science, but also collection points for geophysical investigations that could be carried out on a worldwide scale.

Just as European politics influenced the expansion of scientific projects, these “colonial observatories” influenced the type of science that could be done. Comparing the development of British and American geomagnetic research during this period shows the dependency between the two influences. Both the scientific theories and the geopolitical realities played a role in creating the tool for studying global science still in use today.

“Carter (history of science, Duke U.) argues that the British Empire provided a broad setting where universal sciences such as geomagnetism and meteorology could be practiced and legitimized, both helping to overcome the inherited problems of the inductive method, and setting up a system by which scientists could study interconnected phenomena on a global scale,” writes Book News in a review.

“Central to his story are the efforts and successes of John Herschel (1792-1871) in convincing the government to support far-flung scientific endeavors. He covers a fitting enterprise of a maritime people, the knowledge of many attainable by one, worthy of a great national undertaking, Britains contributing their mite, an ample harvest of precious facts, and knowledge and philanthropy among the nations of the earth.”

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July 4, 2010 at 1:38 am Leave a comment

Choosing Selection: The Revival of Natural Selection in Anglo-American Evolutionary Biology, 1930-1970 (American Philosophical Society Transaction 99-3, ISBN: 9781606189931)

Choosing Selection: The Revival of Natural Selection in Anglo-American Evolutionary Biology, 1930-1970
(American Philosophical Society Transaction 99-3, ISBN: 9781606189931)
by Stephen G. Brush (Paperback, 183 pages, 2009, $35.00)

Choosing SelectionThis book describes the establishment of the hypothesis that Charles Darwin’s “natural selection,” reformulated by Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher, J.B.S. Haldane, and S. Wright in the light of Mendelian genetics, is the primary or exclusive mechanism for biological evolution.

During the 1930s, alternatives such as Lamarchism, macromutations, and orthogenesis were rejected in favor of natural selection acting on small mutations, but there were disagreements about the role of random genetic drift in evolution.

By the 1950s, research by Theodosius “T.G.” Dobzhansky, E.B. Ford, and others persuaded leading evolutionists that natural selection was so powerful that drift was generally unimportant. This conclusion was accepted by most; however, a significant minority of biology textbooks and popular articles mentioned drift in the late 1960s.

“Brush (emeritus history of science, U. of Maryland-University Park) explains how and why British and American biologists, who had shared the skepticism of their continental colleagues about Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, accepted a revised version of it mostly during the 1940s,” writes Book News in a review.

“The modern theory was a synthesis of such disciplines as genetics, zoology, botany, and paleontology, he says, that acknowledged natural selection as a necessary, and perhaps the most crucial, but probably not sufficient cause of evolutionary adaptation.

“Among his perspectives are mathematical and philosophical biologist Haldane weighs, in, Huxley proclaims a new synthesis, chromosome inversions in Drosophila, the changing views of Dobzhansky and Wright, and whether evolutionary theory is scientific.”

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July 4, 2010 at 1:15 am Leave a comment

The Most Important Clock in America: The David Rittenhouse Astronomical Musical Clock at Drexel University (American Philosophical Society Transaction 99-2, ISBN: 1606189921)

The Most Important Clock in America:
The David Rittenhouse Astronomical Musical Clock at Drexel University

American Philosophical Society (Transaction 99-2, ISBN: 1606189921)
by Ronald R. Hoppes (Paperback, 99 pages, 2009, $35.00)

The Most Important Clock in America

The David Rittenhouse Astronomical Musical Clock, saved by former Drexel University President Constantine Papadakis, is considered to be the “Most Important Clock in America.”

David Rittenhouse, the 18th century’s most important scientist, constructed the clock in 1773. This national historic treasure and engineering masterpiece tells the time, date, positions of the planets, the phases of the moon and signs of the zodiac and plays melodies.

“There were doubts that the United States could achieve the kind of technical engineering and level that was present in Europe at the time,” Baruch Blumberg, President of the American Philosophical Society, told the Philadelphia Inquirer (also in PDF) at a book signing in October. “I think this was an outstanding example that this could be done here – and was done.”

Recently a million dollar restoration kept the clock’s nearly 1,000 original pieces in tact, and the clock is in near-perfect working order.

Author Ronald Hoppes is a retired development engineer with a degree in electrical engineering from Drexel University. An avid clock and tool collector, he makes cabinet and movement replacement parts for clocks that are faithful to the originals.

The book includes a biography of Rittenhouse written by Jacqueline DeGroff, curator of the Drexel Collection (click the link to hear the clock’s chimes), and more than 100 drawings and full-color photographs.

“Hoppes is a retired development engineer who makes cabinet and movement parts for a wide variety of clocks, and he has written this volume on the 1773 Rittenhouse astronomical clock at Drexel U. for fellow enthusiasts and engineers,” writes Book News in a review.

“The author provides detailed drawings and illustrations that document nearly every part of the clock such as the sun-moon dial, the gear trains, the calendar hand, the equation-of-time indicator, the strike operation, the music train and the settings for dial indicators. A brief biography of David Rittenhouse, the designer and builder of the clock, is included.”

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July 4, 2010 at 12:30 am Leave a comment

Dashkova: A Life of Influence and Exile (American Philosophical Society Transaction 97-3, ISBN: 0871699737)

Dashkova: A Life of Influence and Exile
(American Philosophical Society Transaction 97-3, ISBN: 0871699737)
by Alexander Woronzoff-Dashkoff (Paperback, 331 pages, 2008, $29.00)

DashkovaA woman of letters and the first woman member of the American Philosophical Society, Ekaterina Romanovna Dashkova (nee Vorontsova) was also the first modern stateswoman in Russia.

Early in her life she dressed in an officer’s uniform and boldly stepped forward to play an active role in the political arena, where she participated in the palace revolution of 1762. Subsequently, Dashkova was appointed director of the Academy of Sciences by Catherine II and she founded and became President of the Russian Academy. For close to 12 years, she headed both prestigious academic institutions.

She was a leading figure in 18th-century Russian culture as she strove to institute reforms, to adapt and apply the ideas of the Enlightenment, and to establish new approaches to the education of Russia’s youth. Sadly, her relationship with her own children was deeply tragic, and later in life she was exiled to the north of Russia.

This biography focuses on Dashkova’s efforts in her life and works to isolate, clarify, and define patterns of action, identity, and gender for herself as well as for other women. Illustrations.

“Demonstrating an encyclopedic knowledge of 18th century primary sources, politics, families, and personal relationships, Woronzoff-Dashkoff accomplishes both his scholarly and personal purposes by vividly recreating Dashkova’s life,” writes reviewer Sherri Thompson Raney in the journal The Russian Review (PDF). “He argues that she succeeded at doing man’s work in a man’s world by assuming a series of disguises and donning convincing masks.”

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July 3, 2010 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

Hebrew Medical Astrology: David Ben Yom Tov, Kelal Qatan: Original Hebrew Text, Medieval Latin Translation, Modern English Translation (American Philosophical Society Transaction 95-5, ISBN: 0871699559)

Hebrew Medical Astrology:
David Ben Yom Tov, Kelal Qatan: Original Hebrew Text, Medieval Latin Translation, Modern English Translation

(American Philosophical Society Transaction 95-5, ISBN: 0871699559)
Edited by Gerrit Bos, Charles Burnett and Tzvi Langer
(Paperback, 121 pages, 2005, $24.00)

Hebrew Medical Astrology
The “Kelal Qatan (Concise Summary)” was composed by David Ben Yom Tov, a Hebrew scholar who lived in the first half of the 14th century. He is known in Latin simply as David Iudaeus.

This is a text on medical astrology, dealing primarily with the astrological indications pertaining especially to fevers. It is the most detailed and extensive original Hebrew treatise on astrological medicine surviving in Hebrew Literature.

Contents of this edition: Introduction; Original Hebrew Text; The Latin Text; Modern English Translation; Glossary; and Bibliography. Color and black and white illustrations.

“Though the text begins with an account of ancient and Medieval astrological medicine, it explains the background that led the ancients (Ptolemy, Hippocrates, Galen etc.) to astrological medicine,” writes C. Del Valle in a review for the journal Iberia Judaica ( Spanish [PDF] • English Translation [PDF] ).

“Next is a study of the life and work of David Ben Yom, with special reference to the Hebrew authors associated with astrological medicine. Apart from some of the Hebrew translators who worked in the field (David Calonico, Solomon Avigdor), the authors cite a hitherto unpublished work of Pinças Narbonne and that is just one part of astrological medicine. The influence of the astral world in the sublunary world and specifically the power that the moon exerts on the plants and animals, Pinças makes a study of the influence of hebdomales lunar cycles in human pathology.

“The authors acknowledge that in the history of astrological medicine there are still many elements to be researched. But there is absolutely no doubt that this small booklet, a mere 120 pages, clearly has advanced our knowledge of Hebrew medieval medicine. The American Philosophical Society must be recognized its success in the publication of this work.”

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July 3, 2010 at 1:54 am Leave a comment

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