Catesby is Now Online!

By Kendall Hallberg

After months of hard work, two volumes of Mark Catesby’s Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands and the Herbert Fitzgerald’s collection of Catesby’s prints have now been uploaded to our Digital Collections repository! There’s still plenty left to do as the University Libraries are home to 5 unique, hand-painted copies of the Natural History as well as two copies of the Hortus Europae Americanus. I will still be working to create more, and better, metadata for these additional books and prints.

Uncolored illustration of bird, a ghost pipe plant, and a toad stool, created in 1731 by Mark Catesby.
Catesby’s illustration, Plate 36, “Snow-bird, Broom-rape, and Toad-stool” from Volume I, 1731.
Photograph of a white plant native to the Carolinas colloquially called an Indian Pipe or Ghost Pipe. Green foliage in background. Photo taken by Kendall Hallberg in 2021.
Photo of Ghost Pipe, or One-Flower Indian-Pipe taken at Blood Mountain, by Kendall Hallberg, 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This project and all the metadata that goes along with it would not have been possible without the assistance of the wonderful people with the Mark Catesby Centre. As I am not a naturalist, I have relied on their expertise to make this digital collection as usable as it is wonderful. I know that anyone who looks at these works will be able to learn something new about Mark Catesby and the natural world around us.

 

Illustration of a Polyphemus moth that is light brown with circular markings on its two back wings, created in 1731 by Mark Catesby.
Catesby’s illustration of a Polyphemus Moth in Plate 91 in Volume II, 1731.
Light brown moth with circular markings on its wings.
Photo of a Polyphemus Moth sitting in a potted plant taken in Columbia, SC, by Kendall Hallberg, 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have so enjoyed working on this project and learned a lot about the region I live in! While out exploring around the Southeast, I have stumbled upon some of the same things Catesby saw almost 300 years ago. Well, we all do every day, because squirrels… But some of my discoveries have been exciting for me and I spotted them either miles into the woods or on my patio.

Explore the collection! And as you explore your neighborhood, South Carolina, and the Southeast, see what you can find from Catesby’s Natural History!

 

Illustration of a mountain laurel twig with pale pink flowers and green leaves, created in 1731 by Mark Catesby.
Catesby’s illustration of Mountain Laurel, Plate 98 in Volume II, 1731.
Mountain laurel, green bush with white flowers.
Photo of Mountain Laurel taken at Blood Mountain in Georgia, by Kendall Hallberg, 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Years Down, One Year to Go

As we enter into the 3rd year of the Historic Southern Naturalists Project, Josh Schutzenhofer (UofSC Digital Collections) and Linda Smith (McKissick Museum, UofSC) take a look at some of the different specimens and artifacts that have been digitized and catalogued during this one project.

The Historic Southern Naturalists project encompasses many institutions across campus and even the state. The collections are as varied as the contributors and working in the UofSC Digital Collections I am one of the first to see the project contributions as they come together. How exciting?!

We are now entering our final year of this multi-year project and I can tell you…I have seen some pretty interesting items and so, I thought I would share a few of the varied objects I have come across over the last two years…

Where do we start on this journey? Let’s look at the science first…plants, shells, minerals…there are some specimens that are outrageously beautiful and some that are dull and honestly ugly. (shhhh! We won’t identify the ugly ones!)

Take a look at these plant specimens:

Check out this beauty of a mineral:

And the shells…

How about an early preview of a meteorite which hasn’t been uploaded yet?

While sharing the scientific images and data associated with them are extremely interesting and important work, connecting these objects with correspondence, manuscripts, post cards, etc…is also important.

Correspondence like this one:

Transcription:

“My dear sir

I have not been unmindful of you since I came up to Aiken, & have several times been on the point of writing, but my time has been almost wholy engulfed in preparing my 3rd Fasc[icle].

With respect to the Phaenograms in your list of desiderata, I fear I can do but little towards supplying your wants. I have not collected, but very sparingly for several years, in this department _ and a large majority of those you indicate, I know I have not. Neither of the Kalmias, nor Saxifraga erosa, mentioned in your last, have I got. Some of the ferns I have in my herbarium, but no duplicates. The Listeras and Cranichis, I have collected, but of this last I furnished you whilst in St. Johns.

My duplicates are all packed away in a box, which it would take me several days to over-haul and examine. and if the search for them would be rewarded with success, I would cheerfully undertake the task to oblige you, but knowing there are not more than two or three things which could be found_ I must postpone it until you call for them in propria persona – I wish I had a stronger inducement to offer.

I might do something for you among the Crypts. if I knew your wants in their orders.”

Manuscripts like this one:

Finally, historically speaking, documenting the objects associated with the naturalists gives another perspective to these historical naturalists.

Like Thomas Cooper’s watch fob given to him by Thomas Jefferson or these scientific slides.

Above: Four glass slides stored in a specially designed plastic storage container.

Below: A slide of wood lily (Lilium philadelphicum) during cell division by meiosis in the archesporial stage. Prepared by A. C. Moore when he was at the University of Chicago (as evidenced by the labels on the slides). This slide documents the first known reference to the term ‘meiosis’ in history!!

Wow! Such a varied assortment of institutions, objects, and information is collected in this one project. But stay tuned…we have one more year of exciting images to share!

[Crossposted from original blog: https://miningmckissick.wordpress.com/2020/10/21/two-years-down-one-year-to-go/]