Arguably the rarest and most important contribution to Carolinian palaeontology

Tuomey, M. and F. S. Holmes

Pleiocene fossils of South-Carolina: containing descriptions and figures of the Polyparia, Echinodermata and Mollusca.

Published [1855-] 1857
Item ID 75189

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Charleston, SC, Russell & Jones, [1855-] 1857. Large 4to/Folio (34.5 x 26.5 cm). xvi, 152 pp.; 29 finely lithographed plates. 19th-century full linen. Spine with two black morocco labels with gilt title.

A seldom-seen work, published in a small edition, with descriptions and illustrations of many new and poorly known fossils. Written by the American palaeontologists Michael Tuomey (1805-1857) and Francis Simmons Holmes (1815-1882). The plates, by the Charleston, South Carolina engraver and printer Charles G. Platen (1818-after 1884), are well-executed: accurate and detailed. The first four show Bryozoa, and mostly well-preserved Echinodermata; all other plates show molluscs. Tuomey and Holmes were the first to study the rich Carolinian fossil faunas in depth, and many species were new, the majority still regarded as valid today. Weak stamp of the former Portland Society of Natural History (Maine) on title-page verso, and a few plate versos (not shining through). "The Society's library and natural history collections were once on a par with those at Harvard, Yale, the Boston Society of Natural History, and the Essex Museum (Salem, MA). Featured within its hallowed walls were such diverse items as a specimen of the extinct passenger pigeon, the skeletal remains of a prehistoric walrus discovered in Maine, and a moon rock from the 1969 Apollo 10 [SIC] space mission. Upon the Society's disbandment, its vast holdings of books, papers, and natural history materials were scattered to farflung places, many now unknown." (Eastman). A handwritten, dated note states that this copy was donated to the Society by a Major William L. Haskins, and a pencilled note below states that it was sold by the Society in 1955. Stamp of the American malacologist Richard Irwin Johnson (1925-2020) in the top margin of the title page. Wear to board edges; otherwise a very good, clean copy. We have only seen this work once before. Cat. BM(NH) Supplement, p. 1332; Eastman, L. M. (2006) The Portland Society of Natural History: The Rise and Fall of a Venerable Institution ( Northeastern Naturalist Volume 13). Neither in Nissen ZBI, nor in Ward and Carozzi.

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