Saturday, May 11, 2024

Amadeus Grabau's Paleontology of Niagara Falls Book


On September 12, 2022 I posted about acquiring Amadeus Grabau's (1870-1946) book Geology and Palaeontology of Eighteen Mile Creek and the Lake Shore Sections of Erie County, New York from 1899. While looking at my bookshelf for a book to read, I came across another book I had acquired in 2023. It is the 1901 Amadeus Grabau's Guide to the Geology and Paleontology of Niagara Falls and Vicinity. Normally I would not get a book about fossils from New York or a place I have not collected from before but I have a special interest in this author.

I bought the book for a number of reasons: it is signed by Dr. Grabau, it includes a chapter from Elizabeth J. Letson (1874-1919) [who I profiled in a blog posting June 1, 2021], it contains a number images by paleontologist Elvira Wood (1865-1928), and it has fossil images I can scan and post (particularly Silurian Period fossils). The book is an ex-Cap May City Public Library (New Jersey) copy and was bought from Princeton Antiques Bookfinders (Atlantic City).

It is inscribed: "To my good Friend Rev. August Steinle with the warm regards of the author Amadeus W Grabau May 8, 1906". Below is a scan of what he wrote, note the insect holes where they have eaten part of the page. I am not sure I have the spelling of the reverend's last name correct.

Chapter 5 in the book is written by Ms. Letson (title listed as Director of museum, Buffalo society of natural sciences) and it is entitled "Post-Pliocene Fossils of Niagara". On page 241, she included the figure and description for Amnicola letsoni (Walker, 1901) which is a gastropod species named after her. At the beginning of the chapter she lists a footnote "I wish to acknowledge here my obligations to Prof. Henry A. Pilsbry, Mr Bryant Walker and Dr. V. Sterki, for valuable assistance and advice given in the preparation of this chapter."