Monday, August 7, 2017

A Darwin Book Among Teachers

I love antique books, and this past year I've been collecting a few notable science books from the
nineteenth century. I like to write about them on this blog, teaching myself many new things in the process.

Last fall I wrote about Darwin's Origin of Species. Then I saw another copy for sale on eBay that had an interesting provenance, so I purchased it in order to pass along the names of some notable persons. The seller, rickl711, gave me permission to quote the auction description:

"The original owner of this book, Peter Frandsen, was a Professor of Biology at the University of Nevada. He graduated from the University Of Nevada in 1895, received a B.A. from Harvard University in 1898 and a Master's degree in 1899.... On April 11, 1959, a University Of Nevada building was renamed the Peter Frandsen Humanities Building in his honor. He was a beloved, long time professor of biology.

"A former owner of this book, Elroy N. Nathan (1916-2007), was a teacher at Chico State University in California. He was born in Gackle, North Dakota on Easter Morning, April 23, 1916 , served in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1935. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942 and stationed at Fort Snelling, New Mexico. By 1945 he was a 2nd Lieutenant, transferred to the Brooklyn Army Base and served on ship duty on Army Troop Transports, crossing the Atlantic 24 times. He later served as transport commander on troop and mortuary ships between North Africa, Europe and the Brooklyn Army Base." He also
served in Korea, Alaska, the Seattle Army Base, and with NATO in La Rochelle, France. "His last military duty was transportation officer at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind., where he retired as a Lt. Colonel in 1962."

Nathan later taught in the Geography Department of Chico State College and was there the Director of University Services. He was also "a life member of the Butte County Historical Society, of the California Conference of Historical Societies, and member of several Historical Preservation Societies. He passed away in his home in Chico, California on March 12, 2007, at the age of 90."

The book itself was published by A. L. Burt Company, about 1900.

Most of the time, we don't know who has owned an old book, but how special it is when we do.

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