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Special Collections - Bioscience, Natural Resources & Public Health Library: Locked Case & Medium Rare

A guide to the special collections at the Bioscience, Natural Resources & Public Health Library

Bioscience, Natural Resources & Public Health Library Locked Case

The Bioscience, Natural Resources & Public Health Library (Biosciences) Locked Case rare book collection consists of some 3500 titles and approximately 7000 volumes. There are an additional 400 or so titles and about 1400 volumes from this collection stored in NRLF. The campus collection consists of materials selected by faculty and the Bioscience staff as items that require climate controlled conditions. This includes many materials in botany, zoology, and paleontology, as well as historically important 18th century authors such as Buffon, Lamarck, John Ray, and Linnaeus.

The most important rare book collections include The Darwin collection, The Banks Florilegium set, 19th c German and French physiology, California forestry and agriculture publications, and the Holl Cookbook Collection. The collection also includes strong holdings in French and German 19th c. physiology, botany and zoology, and scientific expeditions (e.g. the complete reports from the Challenger expedition, the zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Sulphur, various US geographical surveys, etc.). Biosciences has an essentially complete collection of works by Linnaeus (duplicated in the Bancroft Library). Another unique collection is the Kofoid Pamphlet collection.

Titles selected by a former librarian to show the breadth of the collection:

TX719.L52 1711 Le menage des champs, et le jardinier francois accomodezau gout du temps ... Liger, Louis. A quite arbitrary choice to show off the Holl Collection of Cookery. I almost chose the two-volume by Careme, but it's not in great shape.

k-R128.7.H18 Haller, Albrecht von, 1708-1777. Alberti v. Haller ... Opera minora emendata, aucta, et renovata ... I chose this to represent our impressive holdings in physiology and our lesser medicine collection. Haller was also known for his botanical work.

fQL368.R2.H3 (one of the atlas volumes) Haeckel, Ernst Heinrich Philipp August, 1834-1919. Die Radiolarien (Rhizopoda radiaria) : eine Monographie. Haekel's illustrations are among the impressive of the 19th c. He was also the most devoted of Darwin's German followers, even to the point of drawing what he didn't see (although I don't think that true of this volume).

SB403.F5 Flore des serres et des Jardins de l'Europe, Annales Generales d'Horticulture. Almost any volume will do. I chose this title both because of the gorgeous hand-painted plates and because hort magazines like this were offering the first detailed descriptions of foreign plants. Curtis's Botanical Magazine (QK1.C8 LC 1) also offers great botanical illustrations.

fSD536.H55 1957 Hough, Romeyn Beck, 1857-1924. Hough's encyclopaedia of American woods / by E. S. Harrar 1st ed, New York : R. Speller, 1957. I chose this to represent our forestry collections. I included the publisher because of the interesting history of the work. This is actually a 2nd edition. All 16 volumes of the wood samples were done but only the first 9 volumes of the accompanying text. Around 2003, I took a call asking if we'd be interested in the text for the rest of the volumes. It took a while to realize that I was talking to R. Speller himself. He was, if I remember correctly, 93 at the time.

fQE905.U57 Unger, F. (Franz), 1800-1870. Chloris protogaea. Beitrage zur flora der vorwelt, von F. Unger...1847. A random choice to represent the paleo collections, chosen mostly because of the quality of the plates.

fQK98.M64 flat Candolle, Alphonse de, 1806-1893. Calques des dessins de la flore du Mexique, de Mocino et Sesse qui ont servi de types d'especes dans le systema ou le prodromus. [Geneva, 1874] The rarest item we own. There are two copies in Mexico City and no others in N. America. (There used to be a book in Refe, bound in green, that describes this work.)

SB407.L66 1864 Lowe, E. J. (Edward Joseph), 1825-1900. Beautiful leaved plants : being a description of the most beautiful leaved plants in cultivation in this country1868. Chosen not only because of the lovely plates, but also because our copy comes from Charles Dickens's library (bookplate inside front cover).

QE710.C9 1834 Cuvier, Georges, baron, 1769-1832. Recherches sur les ossemens fossiles, ou l'on retablit les caracteres de plusieurs animaux dont les revolutions du... 4. ed. 1834-36. I think I chose v.1 of the text and v.1 of the atlas. More paleo but chosen more for the fact that it's Cuvier, who in this work was the first to document the extinction of species.

k-QH45.B8 Buffon Histoire naturelle, generale et particuliere : avec la description du Cabinet du roy. Paris : De l'Imprimerie royale, 1749. The first systematic natural history encyclopedia. The scattered annotations in v.1 are by Buffon himself (per Prof. Larson). Biosciences used to have a 2nd copy of this (with the same annotations in another hand) that is now at Bancroft.

QK91.S7 1762 Linne, Carl von, 1707-1778. Caroli Linnae. Species plantarum, exhibentes plantas rite cognitas,ad genera relatas, cum... Editio secunda, aucta. 1762-1963. An arbitrary selection of a work by Linnaeus. Bioscences has a nearly complete collection of his works (as does Bancroft).

QL463.R4 Reaumur, Rene-Antoine Ferchault de, 1683-1757. Memoires pour servir a l'histoire des insectes [1734]-1955. An example of our entomology collection. This was probably the most important 18th c work on insects. It includes the first proof that corals are animals, not plants (the term insect had a broader meaning then). His work on bees in these volumes may be the most important before that of Karl von Frisch. Reaumur also made major contributions to technology, math, and physiology.

k-QL805.C99 Cuvier, Georges, baron, 1769-1832. Lecons d'anatomie comparee de G. Cuvier. an VIII [1800]-an XIV.--1805. More physiology, this time to remind people that the next time they're in Paris, they should stop by the Musee d'Anatomie Comparee (in the Jardin des Plantes) and check out the very bones that are illustrated in this work. (And also to remind them that it was his work in comparative anatomy that allowed Cuvier to understand extinctions and the great age of the Earth--see his work above.)

QK617.S5 Mushrooms in their natural habitats. Spectacular Technicolor 3-D images of mushrooms.


Using an Item from the Locked Case

Locked Case Item Use Policy

Because items in the Locked Case are rare, please first check with a librarian to see if a reprint, another edition, or online access is available.

The Library grants permission to use rare books to responsible users, subject to the following regulations:

Rare books are for Library Use Only.  A government-issued ID (driver’s license, state ID, military ID, passport) must be presented in order to use the item.

Rare books must be used at the designated table near the reference desk with a reference librarian present (contact a librarian to set up an appointment).

Only one volume may be used at a time.

All rare books must be handled with extreme care:

  • Support the volume using the pillows or cradle provided.      
  • Do not force the volume open wide.
  • You may be asked to wear gloves provided by the Library when using a rare book. Return the gloves when you return the book to the reference librarian.
  • Use caution to ensure that any loose pages or plates remain in order.

Do not

  • Do not mark, fold, press, trace, erase or handle items in any way likely to cause damage.
  • Do not place the book face down. Never put another book on top of an open volume.
  • Do not trace or make rubbings from rare materials, or mark them in any way.
  • Do not fold tear or cut documents.
  • Use of "Post-it-Notes," tape, fasteners, rubber bands, or paper clips is prohibited.
  • Do not write in books.  Use Pencil Only.  No pens should be used near a rare book.
  • Use only acid free bookmarks provided to you by library staff.

Your cooperation will ensure that these valuable & irreplaceable volumes will survive as long as possible.

No photocopying / scanning of rare books is allowed. In order to preserve the book for future use and protect its pages and binding

Special provisions may be made (if approved by a librarian) with the Interlibrary Services, Duplication Services for reproduction quality prints, slides, negatives, etc. from rare books. Inquire with a librarian for details. Please see the Library's Permission Policy, below:

Permission Policy

The UC Berkeley Library (including the Doe and Moffitt libraries, subject specialty libraries, The Bancroft Library, and the C. V. Starr East Asian Library) encourage and support research, teaching, and scholarship to advance global knowledge and understanding. Please see our Permissions Policies page for inquiries about obtaining permission to quote/excerpt or republish materials from Library collections.

Using an Item from Medium Rare

Similar to Locked Case items, items in the Medium Rare location require supervised use in the Biosciences Library. Please check with a librarian to see if a reprint, another edition, or online access is available, and to set up an appointment if you would like to use an item from the Medium Rare location.

Walk-in use of Medium Rare items may be available with supervision by a librarian or circulation supervisor. Additionally, supervised scanning of Medium Rare items may be available if the librarian or supervisor determines that the item is in good enough condition (many items in Medium Rare are too fragile to scan).

Please refer to the Locked Case Item Use Policy for information on handling rare items, duplication, and permissions, as those policies also apply to items in the Medium Rare location.