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ASA GRAY SIGNED SLIP, AMERICAN BOTANIST, DARWIN, HARVARD, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN

$225.00

Description

HE WAS A PROLIFIC WRITER WHO WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN UNIFYING THE TAXONOMIC KNOWLEDGE OF THE PLANTS OF NORTH AMERICA IN HIS BOOK KNOWN TODAY AS GRAY’S MANUAL AND HIS FRIEND CHARLES DARWIN DEDICATED HIS BOOK FORMS OF FLOWERS TO HIM

ASA GRAY (1810-88) SIGNED SLIP, “In haste, truly yours/Asa Gray”, on a slip 3.5 x 1 mounted to an acid-free card, by the leading American botanist of the 19th century who helped organize the main generalizations of the science of plant geography. The manual of botany that carries his name is still in se today. He was a friend and confident of Charles Darwin who became the most persistent and effective American protagonist of Darwin’s views. Gray was a strong supporter but believed in a theistic evolution: he believed that religion and Darwin’s theory of natural selection could coexist. In 1838 he became the first permanent paid professor at the newly founded University of Michigan and was the first position solely devoted to botany at any university in America. He later accepted a position as Professor of Natural History at Harvard (1842-72). Over the years he worked extensively on a phenomena that is now called the “Asa Gray disjunction”, namely, the morphological similarities between many Eastern Asian and eastern North American plants. Gray’s work in this area gave significant support to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and is one of the hallmarks of Gray’s career. Gray arranged the first American edition of On the Origin of Species and was able to negotiate royalties on Darwin’s behalf. Darwin held Gray in high esteem: he dedicated his book Forms of Flowers (1877) to Gray. The slip is in fine condition, with minor age toning and a couple of tiny spots.

$225   #12568