Medicinal, Edible, and Toxic Mushrooms (1835)

1835 - Manuscript Early Mycology w/Drawings - Text in German

Drawings of Fungi Specimens found in Switzerland and Germany

Date: 1835

Switzerland, Germany, circa 1835. Manuscript mycology field notes in the form of pencil drawings with scientific annotations, classification references, and occasionally with the month in which a living specimen was either collected or observed in its habitat, made by an unidentified mycologist / botanist, and illustrating various species of fungi - edible, medicinal, and toxic. Comprising some 240 drawings on individual trimmed leafs, each mounted thematically with others of its type, with brass pins to the inside of folio double leafs. Text is in German, with some plant names also in Latin. The lot housed in the author's original string-tied portfolio boards, heavy green cardstock with manuscript inscription to front. This is a most uncommon manuscript work, profusely illustrated with pencil drawings, encyclopaedic in its scope, devoted strictly to the study and classification of mushrooms, and dating to formative era medicinal mycology. Numerous specimens shown were, and still are, popular and beneficial in homeopathic treatments. The present work is contemporary to notable pioneer mycologists such as Elias Magnus Fries, Christian Hendrik Persoon, Anton de Bary, and Lewis David von Schweinitz, though its author is unknown. The notes suggest that the writer observed living fungi specimens, between the months of May and October 1830, in Switzerland, Germany, and possibly London, drawing them on the spot, and subsequently identifying and classifying them according to the works of eighteenth century botanists. Specific regions identified include Münsterlingen and Scherzingen in Switzerland, as well as St. Katharine, which may be the ancient "Royal Peculiar" jurisdiction by the Tower of London which became a civil parish until 1895. In the nineteenth century, St. Katharine's by the Tower grew to be a village, flanking the banks of the River Thames. Aiding to date the work, one of the drawings is dated 2 June 1835. The drawing of honey fungus is annotated "Agaricus melleus" as it was then classified in the Agaricus genus, and later changed to the Armillaria genus in 1871. In addition, a single leaf found at the front of the volume is watermarked with a cameo and the name of Leopold Grosherzog von Baden, who in 1830 became the Grand Duke of Baden, the papermaker's name partially seen, André B.C. von Ac... Finally, the large folded leafs to which the drawings are mounted, are forged Whatman paper, watermarked "J.B. Whatman" with the crossed mid-section to the 'W' and the letter 'B' being clear revelations of forgery. [In the early nineteenth century, Whatman watermarks were commonly forged in France, Germany and Austria, as unscrupulous papermakers sought to gain from the name and reputation of Whatman.] The manuscript notes make frequent reference to "Schaeff." referring to Jacob Christian Schaeffer (1718-1790) who was an authoritative eighteenth century mycologist in Germany. [Jacob Christian Schaeffer was a German botanist, mycologist, zoologist, theologist, and clergyman, born in Saxony, residing at Regensberg for several years, and who wrote several botanical works between 1758 and 1767. From 1762 to 1764, he wrote four richly illustrated volumes on mycology, "Natürlich ausgemahlten Abbildungen baierischer und pfälzischer Schwämme, welche um Regensburg wachsen". In botany, "Schaeff." refers to Jacob Christian Schaeffer (1718-1790) whereas "Herr.-Schaeff." refers to Dr Gottlieb August Wilhelm Herrich-Schäffer (1799-1874).] Some examples found in the present lot of manuscript drawings and field notes: Agaricus violaceus. Schaeff. [Cortinarius violaceus] commonly known as the violet webcap or violet cort, a fungus in the webcap genus Cortinarius native across the Northern Hemisphere. The fruit bodies are dark purple mushrooms. Though they are edible, the appearance of these mushrooms is more distinctive than their taste. The species was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753, and has undergone several name changes. Christiaan Hendrik Persoon placed it in the Section Cortinaria of Agaricus in his 1801 work "Synopsis Methodica Fungorum". Cortinarius was established as a 'genus' by English botanist Samuel Frederick Gray in the first volume of his 1821 work "A Natural Arrangement of British Plants", where the species was recorded as Cortinaria violacea, 'the violet curtain-stool.' Agaricus melleus. Schaeff. [Armillaria mellea] commonly known as honey fungus, which causes Armillaria root rot in many plant species and produces mushrooms around the base of trees it has infected. They are edible but some people may be intolerant to them. The species was originally named Agaricus melleus by Danish-Norwegian botanist Martin Vahl in 1790; it was transferred to the genus Armillaria in 1871 by Paul Kummer. Agaricus galerituculatus. Schaeff. [Mycena galericulata ] a mushroom species known as the common bonnet, the toque mycena, or the rosy-gill fairy helmet. It is quite variable in color, size, and shape, which makes it somewhat difficult to reliably identify in the field. The mushrooms have caps with distinct radial grooves, particularly at the margin. Mycena galericulata is saprobic, and grows on decaying hardwood and softwood sticks, chips, logs, and stumps. It can also grow from submerged wood, which may give it a terrestrial appearance. The type species of the genus Mycena was first described scientifically as Agaricus galericulatus by Italian mycologist Giovanni Antonio Scopoli in 1772. It was sanctioned under this name by Elias Magnus Fries in his 1821 Systema Mycologicum, however, that same year, Samuel Frederick Gray transferred the species to the genus Mycena. Agarica maculatus. Schaeff. also known as the spotted agaricus, and at the time of this work, considered to be rare according to Mrs. Hussey. A leading mycologist of her day, Mrs. Anna Maria Hussey (1805-1853), wife of scientist and rector Thomas John Hussey described it as having only two types. Her collections eventually led to the publication of her two-volume work published between 1847 and 1855 and titled, "Illustrations of British mycology: Containing figures and descriptions of the funguses of interest and novelty indigenous to Britain." Edward Hamilton's 1852 title "The Flora Homeopathica... Medicinal Plants..." lists it for natural remedies. The 1884 issue of American Homeopathic Dispensatory also lists it as a medicinal plant. Agaricus is primarily a remedy for use by medical homeopaths because of its sphere of influence on the nervous system. Throughout the volume we also find references to "Bull." - the botanical abbreviation for Jean Baptiste François Pierre Bulliard (1752-1793) a French physician and botanist. Bulliard's Dictionnaire Elémentaire de Botanique (1783) contributed to the expansion and consolidation of botanical terminology and the Linné system. It was especially important in the area of the mycology, containing descriptions of 393 out of 602 table mushrooms. Significant species described by Bulliard include the cep (Boletus edulis), the common inkcap (Coprinopsis atramentaria) and the poisonous livid pinkgill (Entoloma sinuatum). Two sections of the present work are devoted to the genus Boletus and together include thirty-four (34) diagrams with descriptions. Some of these were observed at Münsterlingen in the canton of Thurgau, Switzerland. At least one was observed nearby at Scherzingen. The writer also notes Bulliard in relation to his drawing of an Agaricus pseudoaurantiacus, a wild and edible mushroom first mentioned by Bulliard in his "Herbier de la France" published in 1783. At least one reference is made to Röhl., being the citation for a botanical name associated with Johann Christoph Röhling (1757-1813), a German botanist and clergyman of Gundernhausen, near Darmstadt, and the author of an important treatise on German flora titled "Deutschlands Flora" first published in 1796. He also published a work on mosses of Germany titled "Deutschlands Moose" (1800). He was the taxonomic authority of the plant genus Melandrium (family Caryophyllaceae). The plant genus Roehlingia (family Dilleniaceae) was named after him by August Wilhelm Dennstedt. Historically, mycology was a branch of botany, because, although fungi are evolutionarily more closely related to animals than to plants, this was not recognized until a few decades ago. Mushrooms have been widely used in homeopathic remedies for centuries, especially in traditional Chinese medicine. Although medical mycology is a fairly recent sub-discipline of medicine, having gained ground since the Second World War, medico-mycological investigations began as early as 1842, at Greifswald in Germany, when Wilhelm Baum (1799-1883) was appointed to the chair of surgery of the university. In 1846, Carl Ferdinand Eichstedt (1816-1892) discovered a fungus to be the cause of the contagious nature of the skin condition pityriasis versicolor. Before all of this, German physician Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), created the system of alternative medicine called homeopathy, publishing his scientific approach in a medical journal in 1796.

Very good condition.


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