REICHENOW, Dr. Anton (1847-1941). Conspectus Psittacorum. Systematische Uebersicht aller bekannten Papageienarten. Berlin: Selbstverglag des Verfassers, 1882.

$ 650.00

8vo., (9 ¼ x 5 7/8). Folding table. Contemporary half green morocco, marbled paper boards, original green printed paper wrappers bound in (worn with loss to head of the spine and corners), the spine in five compartments with four raised bands, decorated with gilt tooling in four, and with gilt lettering in one.

Provenance: Presentation copy from the author to Dr. Émil August Göldi (1859-1917); with Göldi’s bookplate to front pastedown and his ownership stamps to recto of front free endpaper and title page.


First edition. Anton Reichenow, a German ornithologist and herpetologist, was a particular expert on parrots, and this book is, as both the Latin and German titles suggest, a systematic survey of all parrot species known at the time of publication. He created a system of classifying birds, in which he designated six groups: “shortwings, swimmers, stiltbirds, skinbills, yoketoes, and treebirds.” Although this terminology was not widely adopted by ornithologists, it is used in the standard decimal library cataloguing system. A number of bird species are named after Reichenow, and he is credited with describing one new genus and two new species of frogs, as well as two new species of lizards. He presented this copy of Conspectus Psittacorum to Swiss-Brazilian naturalist and zoologist Émil August Göldi, who described numerous new species of Brazilian birds and mammals, many of which bear his name. In addition to his zoology work, Göldi also made important contributions to the field of epidemiology and public health in Brazil. In particular he studied the transmission of yellow fever and advocated the importance of fighting the mosquito as the primary carrier of the disease, several years before Oswaldo Cruz’s public health campaign. A very good copy illustrating the intellectual relationship of two important scientific figures in the late nineteenth century.