London: White, Cochrane and Co., 1814.
First Edition. Hardcover. Good+. Two volumes, pp xxxvi, 358; -751,  ads. In a simple modern binding of brown cloth with leather spines; endpapers replaced. Although not a married set (at least, not recently), for unknown reasons Vol. I has been trimmed, while Vol. II has not. There is a quarter-inch discrepancy in height, and the plates of Vol. I are trimmed closer than one might like. Library stamps on both title pages; no other library markings. Signature of Rush Van Dyke, MD, dated 1840, on each title page. Bindings sound, text clean, complete with all 24 engraved plates (uncolored). “The most important work which had hitherto been published on the Botany of North America” (Rich II:17), this was the first published record of specimens gathered on the Lewis and Clark expedition and the first to include plants of the Pacific Northwest. Pursh (1774-1820) emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1799 to manage a botanical garden in Baltimore. Within a few years, he had secured a position collecting plants for American botanist Benjamin Smith Barton. In this capacity he made many collecting trips, “principally made on foot, the most appropriate way for attentive observation…. traveling over an extent of more than three thousand miles each season, with no other companions than my dog and gun, frequently taking up my lodging in the midst of wild mountains and impenetrable forests, far remote from the habitations of men” (Preface). In addition to his own collecting, Pursh had access to the specimens others had collected for Barton, who had intended (but failed) to publish a book. In 1811, Pursh moved to England, where he gained access to the libraries and herbaria of about 40 European collectors, enabling him to complete his pioneering work. Sabin 66728.