Soffer Ornithology Collection Notes (alphabetical by author)

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Yale University (compiled by Ripley, S.(idney)Dillon [1913-2001] and Scribner, Lynette L.). Ornithological books in the Yale University library including the library of William Robertson Coe 

Yamashina, Marq.(uis)Y.(oshimaro)(1900-1989). A natural history of Japanese birds

Yamashina, Yoshimaro (1900-1989)  Japanese title translated: (Red data book of Japanese birds, presenting life history, status and protection of the endangered birds of Japan)

Yapp, (William) Brunsden (1909-)  Birds in medieval manuscripts 

Yarrell, William (1784-1856). A history of  British birds (first edition)

Yarrell, William (1784-1856)  A history of British birds  (fourth edition)

Yarrell, William (1784-1856). Description, with some additional particulars, of the Apteryx australis of Shaw 

Yarrell, William (1784-1856). Observations on the laws which appear to influence the assumption and changes of plumage in birds 

Yarrell, William (1784-1856). On the origins of voice in birds 

Yoshida, Toshi (1911-1995). Eagle owl.  Mimizuki

Young, E. Hilton (“Lord Kennet of the Dene”)(1879-). A bird / in the bush  

Yung, Yen Kwok Birds from Yaoshan, Kwangsi 

Yale University (compiled by Ripley, S.(idney)Dillon [1913-2001] and Scribner, Lynette L.)

Ornithological books / in the Yale University library / including the library of William Robertson Coe  25.4 x 17.7 cm.  Five preliminary leaves, Pp.  1-338.  Original gray cloth with blue lettering on spine.  Printed light beige dust jacket.  New Haven, Yale University Press for Yale University Library, 1961. 

First preliminary leaf: recto, half-title; verso, uncolored half-tone photograph of Coe; second: recto, title; verso, copyright; third: recto, dedication to Coe; verso, blank; fourth recto-fifth recto, introduction by Ripley; fith, verso, blank; 1, alphabetical list by authors of ornithological books; 321, list of books on falconry; 334, list of bibliographical books.  Contains, in addition to frontispiece of Coe, three unnumbered, uncolored half-tone plates printed on one side only and not included in pagination.

Ripley, an ornithologist with a special interest in the birds of New Guinea and India, was Curator of the Peabody Museum at Yale until serving as Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution from 1964-1984.  He was the author of Rails of the World (1977).

The Yale Library contains one of the world's great collections of ornithological books.  The list comprises close to 7000 title.  Each entry includes author, full title; size and some indication of pagination and plates.  Occasionally, but all too infrequently, there is some very informed commentary.  Published lists such as this one have become obsolete with the advent of the internet as a vehicle for listing the contents of libraries including the one at Yale.

Listed by AMNH, Cornell, Harvard, Trinity, Yale.

Yamashina, Marq.(uis)Y.(oshimaro)(1900-1989)

A Natural History of Japanese Birds (Nihon no chõrui to sono shõtei [Ripley & Scribner]).  Two volumes.  25.6 x 18.0 cm.  Bound and paginated western-style.  Original publisher's blue cloth with vertical red rules, gilt ornithological design on upper cover.  Horizontal red rules, white ornithological design on spine Japanese characters in red on upper cover, in silver on spine. Top edge dyed blue.   No signatures. Page numbers in Roman and Arabic, map, plate and text figure numbers in Japanese characters.  Colored plates all with unpaginated tissue guard leaf containing explanatory letter-press.   (Tokyo, Azusa Shobu [Ripley & Scribner]).  Preserved in original printed cardboard storage cases. Bookplate of Alan Francis Brooke (Viscount Alanbrooke)

First volume.  1933-1934.  Pp. (2), title; I-XVIII, preface contents; (2), subtitle leaf;1-102,              general ornithology; (2), subtitle leaf;12-502, systematic accounts, Corvidae-Dicruridae); 503-504, corrections and changes; 505-511,index of Japanese [characters] names; 512-524, index of scientific (Latin) names.  Publisher's ticket attached to blank terminal leaf.  Pp. 481-501 printed on recto only.  Contains folding maps 1-3, one colored; plates 1-23, seven colored including one anatomical, 16 uncolored including one osteological, 15 photographic, all printed on recto only; and text figures 1-104.

Second volume.  1941.  Pp.  (2), title; I-XXI(1), initial note and contents; (2, subtitle leaf)1-1002, systematic accounts, Muscicapidae-Ardeidae; 1003-1048, various lists; 1049-1058, index of Japanese names; 1059-1080, index of scientific names.  Publisher's stamp and ticket on terminal blank leaf.  Loose errata-type leaf laid in.  Contains plates 1-33, of which nine colored, one uncolored illustrating herons, and 23 uncolored photographic.  Of these latter, 14 are printed on both sides of the sheet but are still counted as single plates.

One doesn't have to read Japanese to recognize that this is a book of high quality.  The species accounts are copious with many measurement and the text line drawings are superb.  Some of the colored plates, each of which depicts several species, are signed "Sugako".  However others, unsigned, are clearly by another artist, perhaps Kobayashi.  All are excellent.

This is an extraordinary association copy since Viscount Alanbrooke was the English CIGS (Chief of the Imperial General Staff), Churchill's closest military advisor, and the primary architect of British military strategy during World War II, when the second volume of this work was published, and when Britain and Japan were at war.  Alanbrooke was a keen birdwatcher and collector of ornithological books and his diary is replete with allusions to these subjects, his passion for which helped alleviate the enormous stress under which he operated.  My copy of the ornithological volume of  Andrew Smith's Illustrations of African Zoology also bears the Alanbrooke bookplate and I have seen copies of Des Murs' Iconographie and Edwards' A Natural History of Uncommon Birds… with it as well.  So the present work is in very good company.

Yamashina published a popular and well regarded field guide to Japanese birds in 1961 and apparently also founded an Institute of Ornithology and Zoology in Tokyo.

It is interesting that Ripley and Scribner (p. 318) give not only the English title but also the Japanese, in English letters.  It is not written as such in either of these volumes.  In additon, thy give Tokyo as the place of publication and identify a publisher with English letters.  Presumably they had expert assistance in translation at Yale.  Although the work is produced and formatted in western style, the English is limited to the title and those synonymy references that happen to be in English.

Listed by Harvard, Trinity, Yale, Smithsonian, but not by AMNH, Cornell.  LOC lists it under the Japanese name only, a 1980 edition of which I have never otherwise heard.  OCLC locates 10 copies.



Yamashina, Yoshimaro (Yamashina Institute for Ornithology, editor)

Japanese title (Red data book of Japanese birds, presenting life history, status and protection of the endangered birds of Japan) 25.7 x 18.2 cm.  Printed horizontally  and bound left to right i.e. western style.  Pp. [1-8]9-285[286-288].  Original Publisher’s red buckram with gilt lettering to spine. Gray endpapers with description of the work in English mounted on front fly leaf.  Color pictorial dust jacket with Japanese Ibis on upper cover.  (Tokyo), The Kasumikaikan, 1975.  “ With the compliments of Yoshimaro Yamashina” stamped on orange colored title page.

The mounted promotional sheet mounted on the upper flyleaf tell us that the book “presents new and most reliable information on the life history and the present status and problems of conservation on the 79 species and subspecies of birds in danger of extinction in the Japanese territory…..Furthermore, 13 species supposed to have disappeared from Japan are described for the readers’ reference.”

There is an excellent full-page painting printed in color half-tone for each of the 92 species that are covered. These paintings are numbered 1-92 and their leaves contain running text on the obverse.  There are also text figures 1-93, most of which are colored photographic illustrations of the birds in their natural environment.




Yapp, (William) Brunsden (1909-)

Birds / in medieval manuscripts  21.0 x 23.0 cm.  Pp.  [1-5]6-190.  Publisher’s beige cloth with gilt lettering on square spine.  Pictorial dust jacket with original retail price of $35.  New York, Schocken Books, Fisrt American edition, 1982. 

1, Half-title; 2, blank; 3, title; 4, copyright 1981 by British Museum (plates) and Yapp (text); designed by Frank Phillips; figures and plates by Culver Graphics Ltd., High Wycombe; printed and bound in Hong Kong by Mandarin Offset Marketing Ltd.  ISBN  0-8052-3812-2; 5, contents; 6, preface; 8, introduction; 12, the birds; 80, colour plates; 176, references (about 53); 181, acknowledgements; 183, index of birds (alphabetized by English name); 186, index of manuscripts; 189, general index.  Contains colored plates printed in half tone on recto numbered 1-48 in facing text and with text for next plate on verso.  Also contains uncolored half-tone text figures 1-54.

The author describes himself as a retired zoologist and examined 400 original manuscripts and reproduced versions of another 80 in compiling this book.  He mentions 187 manuscripts dated between 698 and 1492 A. D. and the work is devoted to identifying the birds in these.  The treatment of the subject matter is unique as is the assemblage of relevant material.

Listed by AMNH, Cornell, Harvard, Trinity, Yale.

Yarrell, William (1784-1856)

A / History / of / British Birds Three volumes (with first supplement bound into third volume).  26.7 x 18.0  Fine contemporary full black morocco gilt with gilt paneling and elaborate corner designs on covers, gilt armorial shield and unicorn emblem on upper cover.  Spines with five raised ridges, gilt lettering in second and third compartments, gilt designs in the other four.  Elaborate gilt designs on dentelles.  AEG.  London, John Van Voorst, 1843, the Supplement, 1845.  Rare "Imperial Octavo" edition.

Vol. I.  [a]8b8B-2d82E8(+1, 2E3)2F-2K82L8(-2L8)[$1, 2 signed]; 280 ll.  Pp.  [i-v]vi-xxxii[1]2-420, 420*-421*, 421-525[526].  i, Half-title; ii, blank; iii, title; iv, printer designation: London, S. & J. Bentley, Wilson and Fley; v, preface; viii, index to all three volumes; 1, systematic text; 526, printer designation.

Vol. II.  [A]2B-P8Q8(+1, Q5)R-2T82U8(-2U8); 338 ll.  Pp. (4)[1]2-232, 232*-233*, 233-669[670].  A1r, half-title; A1v, blank; A2r, title; A2v, printer designation; 1, systematic text; 670, printer designation.

Vol. III.  [A]2B-2L8χ7C2-D28E24(-E24); 292 ll.  Pp.  (4)[1]2-528(4)[72]82-532[542].  A1r, half-title; A1v, blank; A2r, title; A2v, printer designation; 1-528,  systematic text; X1r, title leaf: Supplement / to the / History / of / British Birds  London, John Van Voorst, 1845;X1v, blank; X2r, preface to supplement; X2v, blank; 72, systematic text; 542, printer designation.

The three volumes contain numerous unnumbered, uncolored wood-engraved  text illustrations drawn by Alexander Fussell and engraved by the Thompsons.  These are present in three forms: a figure of the bird as a head piece for the text describing it.  Every bird is thus illustrated; a tail piece sometimes anatomical, other times whimsical; an extra text figure to emphasize a particular aspect of the species being treated.  According to Christine Jackson in her chapter on Yarrell (pp. 71-90) in Wood Engravings of Birds (Witherby, 1978), the three volumes contain 520 figures of birds and 59 tail pieces for a total of 579 wood engravings and the supplement contains an additional 14.

Yarrell's History was the standard illustrated British bird book of the 19th century and one of the historically great ornithological works.  In well chosen prose, Yarrell provides synonymy, generic characters, a description with measurements, local and general distribution and a life history including nidification and eggs  and arrival and departure times for each species.  The wood engraved text figures have never been surpassed using this technique in terms of accuracy and artistic merit.

According to Yarrell, the work was published in 37 parts of three sheets each from July, 1837-May, 1843.  Each sheet would have corresponded to eight leaves or 16 pages.  A supplement was issued in 1845 to bring the work up to date.  Subsequently, there were three more editions.  The Supplements of 1845 and 1856 were intended to bring the first edition to a level with the second and third. 

The work was issued in three fomats called "Octavo", "Royal Octavo" and "Imperial Octavo".  Both the latter two fall into the category of "Large Paper", however, it is the larger "Imperial Octavo", "largest paper" that is extremely rare.  It is offered as item #158 in Quaritch Bulletin 13, 1983 with the statement "Only 50 copies were printed in an imperial 8vo format.".  The only copy in a collection that I have been able to identify with certainty was lot #1973 in the catalog for the sale of the Bradley Martin library.  There, the copy is described as "large-paper", however, I examined it and found it to be the largest paper size.  It was described as 27. 2 c 18. 2 cm.  It is worth noting that the present copy, although obviously "largest paper" has been cut down in the process of gilding its edges.  The "Royal Octavo" edition, which I have encountered several times, contains much narrower sheets.

Yarrell's History is present in all ornithological libraries and collections although almost never in the "imperial octavo" format.



Yarrell, William (1784-1856)

A / history / of / British birds  21.2 x 13.5 cm .  Fourth edition in four volumes.  Half-brown calf with pebbled maroon cloth sides.  Gilt rolls at calf-cloth interfaces.  Spine with five gilt raised ridges, maroon morocco lettering piece and gilt lettering in second compartment.  Marbled endpapers and edges.  London, John Van Voorst (1871-1885).  The entire work is alleged on title page to contain 564 (unnumbered) wood engravings.

Vol. I. 1871-1874.  Edited and enlarged by Alfred Newton (1829-1907).  [a]4b2B-4M44N4(-4N4)[$1 signed]; 329 ll.  Pp.  [i-v]vi-xii[1]2-646.  i, Half-title; ii, blank; iii, title; iv, printer designation: Woodfall and Kinder, Milford Lane, Strand, W. C.; v, prospectus dated March, 1871; vii, contents of Vol. I.; 1-646, species accounts, Griffon-Vulture-White-Winged Lark.

Vol. II.  1876-1882. Edited and enlarged by Alfred Newton.  [A]4B-X4Y4(-Y4)Z-3R4; 251 ll.  Pp.  [1-v]vi-vii(1)[1]2-494.  i, Half-title; ii, blank; iii, title; iv, printer designation; v, contents for Vol. II; 1-494, species accounts, Snow-Bunting-Wryneck; 494, Newton’s famous note: “I am not responsible for anything that may follow by another Editor”.

Vol. III.  1882-1884.  Revised and enlarged by Howard Saunders (1835-1907).  [a]4b4B-4R44S2; 350 ll.  Pp.  [1-v]vi-xvi[1]2-684. i, Half-title; ii, blank; iii, title; iv, printer designation; v, preface to Vols. III.-IV dated 30th April, 1885 (sic); xiii, contents of Vol. III.; 1-684, species accounts, Ring Dove-Long-Tailed Skua; 684, printer designation.

Vol. IV.  1884-1885.  Revised and enlarged by Howard Saunders.  [A]4B-3Y4; 272 ll.  Pp. [i-v]vi-viii[1]2-531[531-533](1).  i, Half-title; ii, blank; iii, title; iv, printer designation; v, contents, Vol. IV; 1, species accounts, Fulmar Petrel-Hooded Merganser; 516, generic and English index (for all four volumes); 531, printer designation; 532-533, blank; 534, errata for Vol. IV; 535, errata for Vols. I, II.  Laid into this volume is a note in pencil with a careful description of a bird together with a feather from that bird.  The note is signed by Ralph Wilson and dated 1890.  A place that I can’t make out is also designated.

Yarrell’s great work is arguably the finest national ornithology ever published, notable not only for its comprehensiveness, but also for the clarity of its expression.  This fourth edition is perhaps the best, embellished as it is by contributions from Alfred Newton and Howard Saunders

Most or all of the engravings for the earlier editions were drawn by Alexander Fussell and engraved by the Thompsons.  However, species newly included in this edition were drawn by Edward Neale, Charles Whymper and J. G. Keulemans and probably engraved by the Dalziel brothers and others.  The two initialed by Keulemans are the Tawny Pipit and the White-Winged Lark.  In addition to illustrations of every species, there are many attractive tail-pieces in these volumes and it wouldn’t surprise me if there were more than the stated number of illustrations.

This edition in AMNH, Cornell, Harvard, Yale.  Trinity has only the second and third.

Yarrell, William (1784-1856)(plate by J[ohn] Gould [1804-1881] and E[lizabeth] Gould[1804-1843])

Description, with some additional particulars, of the Apteryx australis of Shaw  28.6 x 22.0 cm.  (K)4(-K1-3)L4(-L3-4)[$1, 2 signed]; three leaves.  Pp. 71-76.  Contains plate 10, a hand-colored lithograph, J. & E. Gould, del et lith.  Printed by C. Hullmandel.  Extracted from Trans. Zool. Soc. London, 1: 71-76 (1835).  Communicated June 25, 1833. 
This extract  is included in a volume entitled "Natural History Miscellany" bound in late 20th century half brown calf over marbled boards.

This bird, the brown kiwi, had first been described and figured by Shaw and Nodder in volume 24 of The Naturalist's Miscellany but there was much confusion regarding it.  The Zoological Society managed to procure the original specimen, still the only one extant, and its anatomy is carefully described in this report.  Yarrell was later (1843) to publish A history of British birds that was to serve as the standard work on that subject for many years. 

The plate by the Goulds is one of few bearing John Gould's name that is not in large (folio) format and is the first of six that were eventually published in this journal.  According to Root and Johnson in Transactions of the Zoological Society of London.  An index to the artists 1835-1936 (1986), p. 114-115, this plate replaced a cancelled unsigned different version.

Yarrell, William (1784-1856)

Observations on the laws which appear to influence the assumption and changes of / plumage in birds  28.6 x 22.0 cm.   [C]4(-C1-2)D4(-D3-4)[$1, 2 signed]; four leaves.  Pp. 13-19(1).  Extract from Trans. Zool. Soc. London 1: 13-19 (1835).  Communicated February 26 and April 23, 1933.  This extract  is included in a volume entitled "Natural History Miscellany" bound in late 20th century half brown calf over marbled boards.

Yarrell was a major contributor to the first volume of this important journal and was doubtless solicited for this purpose.  The present article deals with the anatomy and physiology of feathers particularly as they pertain to alteration of color, due either to change in, or of the feather.


Yarrell, William (1784-1856)

On the origins of voice in birds  28.6 x 22.0 cm.  Extract.  Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Volume XVI, article XVII.  2R4(-2R1)2S42T2[$1, 2 signed]; nine ll.  Pp. 305-321(1).  Contains uncolored, metal-engraved plates 17-21 drawn by J. A. Newton, engraved by D. Allen.  Read June 2 and 16, 1829.  This extract  is included in a volume entitled "Natural History Miscellany" bound in late 20th century half brown calf over marbled boards.

Yarrell discusses the relationship of the number of muscle pairs (zero to five) attaching to the larynx in various birds with their vocalization.  The variation in number of these muscle pairs was useful not only for the understanding of vocal physiology but also as an adjunct in early classification schemes.

Yarrell's History of British birds, the first edition of which was published in 1843, was to become a vade mecum of British ornithology for the second half of the 19th century.

This article is not listed as an extract or offprint by Wood, Zimmer, AMNH, Cornell, Harvard, Trinty or Yale.

Yoshida, Toshi (1911-1995)

Mimizuki (Eagle Owl) Thick wove paper.  Oban woodblock print.  Paper size 404 x 275 mm.  Image size 370 x 250.  Titled in pencil below image on left, signed in pencil "Toshi Yoshida" below image on right.  Yoshida red seal in lower right of image.  Several printed black characters just above seal.  Two groups of five and four characters, perhaps including dating, in left margin.  Originally printed in 1968.

The Yoshida family was, and is, exceedingly artistically gifted.  Toshi's father, Hiroshi, is one of the great figures of the Shin Hanga (New Prints) movement and I believe a brother and a son were and are artists.  Toshi Yoshida was a well traveled and prolific artist whose work  encompassed many subjects and styles ranging from the abstract to natural history.  He became interested in the latter field relatively late in his career and the present print was one of the first that he did of birds.  His most impressive painting of a bird is a limited edition print entitled "Flying" that he did in 1974.  It is a long horizontal image depicting a large owl flying head on over a vast expanse.  The eyes of the owl, small in the huge landscape, none-the-less dominate the picture.  Toshi Yoshida also did a series of four double oban prints of flowers and birds, one for each season, in conjunction with the Franklin Mint in 1982.  There is a large western contribution to the style of Toshi Yoshida's wildlife work as is exemplified in the present picture of an Eagle Owl.



Young, E. Hilton (“Lord Kennet of the Dene”)(1879-)


A Bird / in the Bush  25.0 x 19.3 [i-viii]1-146[147-148].  Full fine straight-grained black morocco, gilt filleting on covers, gilt spine with five raised bands, gilt turn-ins, marbled end papers.  TEG, others uncut.  Partly unopened.  (London), Country Life, 1936. 

i, Half-title; iii, title; iv, “Autographed Edition limited to 550 copies for sale of which this is No. 431” with signatures of Kennet and Scott; v, contents; vii, list of illustrations.  Contains three colored plates with tissue letter-press not included in pagination, 16 full-page black and white illustrations printed on recto only but included in pagination, and six smaller uncolored text figures including head and tail pieces, all by Peter Scott.

This book is a rhapsody about birds encompassing many reminiscences of the author.  The work is best known as representing the published debut of Peter Scott, son of the Antarctic explorer, and himself eventually to be knighted for his substantial contributions to conservation and to wildlife art.

This beautiful binding by Brian Frost and Company of Bath is special.  Most copies of the limited edition were bound in cloth and differed from the trade edition in having three colored plates instead of one and in being signed by author and artist.

Trinity, p. 301 (under Kennet).  Absent from Yale catalogue.



Yung, Yen Kwok

Birds from Yaoshan, Kwangsi 
26.3 x 19.0 cm.  Pp.  [1]2-32.  Offprint with original printed wrappers of same paper as article.  Canton, Bulletin of the Department of Biology, No. 5, College of Science, Sun Yatsen University, 1930.  Upper wrapper stamped “With compliments of the Biological Department, Sun Yatsen University, Canton, China (exchange desired)."

1, Introduction; 3, systematic list, Corvus coronoides colonorum-Dupetor flavicollis flavicollis comprising 220 species and subspecies.  On the inside of the lower wrapper are listed 11 publications from the Department of Biology.

The author and his colleagues mounted an expedition from May, 1928-May, 1930 to a remote mountainous area where they collected natural history specimens, amongst them more than 4000 birds.  At least a sentence regarding the status of each is given.  Apparently, Erwin Stresemann examined the entire collection and assisted them with identification and classification of the specimens.

OCLC locates two copies of this article.


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