Pheasants; Their Lives and Homes. Published Under the Auspices of the New York Zoological Society.

Signed Limited Edition
In Publisher's Special Binding

BEEBE, William. Pheasants. Their Lives and Homes. Published Under the Auspices of the New York Zoological Society.Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1926.

Limited to 201 sets signed in the first volume by William Beebe, this being copy 160. Two large octavo volumes (10 1/4 x 7 1/2 in; 259 x 190 mm). xxviii, [2], 257, [1, blank]; xv, [3], 309, [3, blank] pp. Sixty-four plates, of which thirty-two are in full color. One map displaying distribution of pheasants. With a two page Als from William Beebe on his NYZS letterhead loosely inserted.

Publisher's full parchment covered boards. Gilt rule and green cloth stripe at joints. Green cloth tips. Gilt stamped medallion to upper covers. Gilt lettered spines. Top edges gilt. Partially unopened. In original blank dust jackets; volume II with additional glassine dust jacket as issued. Typical mild soiling to parchment. A fine set.

The ALs, to naturalist and writer Eugene V. Connett, reads:

"19 - III - '40. My dear Connett: I have thoroughly enjoyed your Random Casts, in spite of the fact that I never used an artificial fly in my life! But there is most interesting matter in relation to the trout's eye & vision, & I thank you heartily for a very delightful gift. Do you have that charming volume 'Salmonia or Days of Fly Fishing' by Sir Humphrey Davy, written as conversations? I can't give it to you for it is a valued reminder of my friend Theodore Roosevelt, but I shall be delighted to loan it to you for as long as you wish. Next to Walton it is my favorite. Again I thank you for your kind thought. Sincerely, Will Beebe."

American biologist, explorer, and writer on natural history who combined careful biological research with a rare literary skill,
William Beebe (1877-1962) was first Curator of Ornithology at the New York Zoological Society (Bronx Zoo) from 1899 and later that Zoo's Director of the Department of Tropical Research. He was the co-inventor of the bathysphere.

"Colonel Anthony Kuser, a wealthy paron of the New York Zoological Society and pheasant enthusiast, offered to sponsor an expedition to study the pheasants of the world. Kuser told the Zoological Society that he wanted William Beebe to head the expedition and for him to publish his findings into a world-class monograph.

"It seems that at the time there was no definitive study of pheasants in their natural haunts. [Zoological Society Director William] Hornaday didn't want to lose his top bird curator and thought that Beebe was well on his way to becoming a first-rate ornithologist. The other society members agreed to allow Beebe to go. And Beebe himself was determined to go…Hornaday conceded. On December 26, 1909 left with his wife on a 17-month-long 'Kuser-Beebe' expedition to the Far East.

"The Beebe's traveled about 52,000 miles and visited twenty-two countries. They returned to New York on May 27, 1911.

"When it came out, the result of Beebe's research became 'A Monograph of the Pheasants (1918)'" (The Official William Beebe Web Site, http://membes.aol.com/chines6930/mw1/bio.htm).

The set under notice is Beebe's graceful literary distillation of his four-volume monograph for the interested layman and general reader. Item #00995

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