Travels in the East Indian Archipelago.
Item ID 31252
London, John Murray, 1868. Thick 8vo (22.2 x 14.5 cm). 560 pp.; wood-engraved frontispiece, two folded maps and 31 attractive engraved plates and three smaller illustrations in the text. Original pictorial cloth. Brown endpapers. Rare true first edition in – even rarer – the original binding in good condition, of this well-documented and well-illustrated book on Indonesia. An important travel book, describing the flora, fauna and anthropology of the Indonesian islands, including Java, Sumatra, Timor, Celebes [Sulawesi] and the Moluccas [Maluku], as well as Singapore. In the rear, several appendices, including a list of birds collected by the author on the island of Buru; a list of the population by island and race, in 1865; the highest mountains, etc.. Written by the American naturalist and founder of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, Albert Smith Bickmore (1839-1914). Bickmore travelled in the Moluccas with a specific goal in mind: to gather specimens collected and described two centuries earlier by Georg Everhard Rumphius, ‘The Indian Pliny’, a sobriquet first given to Rumphius here by Bickmore (p. 250). In the preface, Bickmore writes: “I was going to Batavia, to sail thence to the Spice Islands...for the purpose of collecting the beautiful shells of those seas. I had chosen that in preference to any other part of the world, because the first collection of shells from the East that was ever described and figured with sufficient accuracy to be of scientific value was made by Rumphius.” Bickmore must have had a keen interest in palm trees too: no fewer than four illustrations show these trees. The two maps show the Malay archipelago, and the island of Sumatra. The later, 1869 New York (Appleton) edition is more common. Library stamps of the Dutch Tweede Kamer (House of Commons) erased and cancellation stamp pasted over, on the title-page. Some light spotting to a few page and the frontispiece, otherwise a very nice and clean copy. Leupe, Georgius Everardus Rumphius, Ambonsch natuurkundige der zeventiende eeuw , pp. 1-2. Not in Bastin and Brommer. In search of Rumphius