1: Notes On Lectures By Louis Agassiz 1860-61
Title: Two notebooks containing manuscript abstracts of lectures on the natural sciences, paleontology, geology and related subjects given by Louis Agassiz
Author: Leonard, Eliza B.
Description: Two notebooks. 144 & 288 pp. Handwritten in brown ink throughout. 19.6x16 cm. (7¾x6½"), marbled boards backed with sheep.Neatly written abstracts of lectures given by the Swiss-born paleontologist, glaciologist, geologist and prominent innovator in the study of the Earth's natural history. Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz (1807-1873) was professor of natural history in the University of Neuchâtel before relocating to the United States in 1846, becoming head of the Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard University in 1847. A widower, he married Elizabeth Cary, of a Boston Brahmin family, in 1850, and in 1856 she founded a school for girls from Boston in their home. Her husband supported her by giving courses as well as arranging for courses from other Harvard professors. It was at this school that the lectures were given, and on the first page of each notebook is written "Notes from Professor Agassiz's lectures to the young ladies of his school. 1860. Eliza B. Leonard, Cambridge, Mass." On the front covers of the notebooks are written "Book No. 4" and "Book No. 5" - Book 4 contains abstracts numbered 83 (Feb. 23) through 113 (April 20), and Book 5 continues 113 through 147 (June 28), then starts the second year with Abstract 1 (Sept. 27) through the partial Abstract 51 (Feb. 27). Miss Leonard has interspersed the written record with sketches, illustrating fossils and other objects covered in the lectures. The notebooks present a dual significance, capsulizing the lectures of one of the major figures in the study of natural history during the 19th century, and also showing in detail an aspect of female education that was certainly unusual at the time - an advanced study of natural science. Among other aspects, the notebooks show that Agassiz introduced the use of the microscope to his women students at a time when microscopes were a rarity except in research laboratories. Though Agassiz has been criticized for his adherence to creationism, and for his advocacy of polygenism (the belief that human races came from separate origins and were endowed with unequal attributes), he was nonetheless one of the leaders in his field in the mid-19th century. An excerpt: "Abstract 114, Monday April 23rd. I will devote this lecture to answering some questions asked me by some of the scholars of the geology class, of the soil that plants grow in now. What is the origin of the fertile soil? ... Soil to be fertile must be fine; plants do not grow in course pebbles. Part of these materials is the decomposition of other plants. So farmers should never remove the dried leaves from their grounds... It can be said in a general way that animals live on vegetables, and vegetables on minerals. Mineral substances are not all solid; they may be fluid, they may be soluble, they may be gas. Water is the principal element of which animals and plants are built..."
Heading: (Agassiz, Louis)Place Published: Cambridge, Mass.
Date Published: 1860-61
Just a little rubbing to extremities, in fine condition.