First Scientific Monograph of Any Substance on a Texas Subject

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625. McCOOK, Henry Christopher. The Natural History of the Agricultural Ant of Texas. A Monograph of the Habits, Architecture, and Structure of Pogonomyrmex Barbatus. Philadelphia: Author’s Edition. Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 1879. [1-4] 5-311 pp., including 24 lithographic plates on toned grounds. 8vo (22.6 x 15 cm), original brick red cloth, spine gilt lettered, bevelled edges. Light wear, corners slightly bumped, hinges starting, but generally fine. Interior, including plates, very fine. With author’s ink inscription to William Barnett, Philadelphia, January 29, 1880, on front flyleaf.

     First edition. BMC (Nat. Hist.) III, p. 1206. Raines, p. 142. The first scientific monograph of any substance on a Texas subject. The author conducted his field research near Austin for a few weeks in the summer of 1877 at a ranch between the Colorado River and Barton Creek. McCook intended to investigate several theories put forth earlier by Gideon Lincecum, but because of his limited time in Texas was only partially successful in his endeavors. The unusual plates were made by a photolithographic process (the book will be included in Holman & Tyler’s forthcoming book on nineteenth-century lithographs of Texas). McCook’s subject is the red harvester ant, common in Texas, and known for some of the particular habits noted herein, such as clearing large areas from vegetation around their nests. McCook also devotes much space to their stinging behaviour, for which they are well known, including detailed plates of the physical mechanism of the stinger.

     McCook (1837-1911) was a prominent Presbyterian clergyman who served for over thirty years in Philadelphia. Interested in many subjects, he published several books on ants and spiders, as well as works of theology and religion.


Sold. Hammer: $100.00; Price Realized: $122.50.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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