Louis Agassiz His Life and Correspondence
Louis Agassiz His Life and Correspondence

AGASSIZ, Elizabeth Cary. Louis Agassiz His Life and Correspondence.

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AGASSIZ, Elizabeth Cary. Louis Agassiz His Life and Correspondence. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1886.

8vo. 2 vols. Original blue cloth, gilt lettering to spines; pp. xi, 400, [8, pubs. list of works by Agassiz] & ix, 401-794, [6, pubs. list of works by Agassiz], 8 plates, frontispiece in each volume; near fine. Provenance: presentation copy, inscribed to front blank of each volume to Sara P. Lowell Blake from Mrs Agassiz, and with her calling card pasted at front of vol. I with the message “My dear Sally - I have wished to bring these vols. to you myself - I leave them with a great deal of love from your old friend, and am so sorry dear not to see you & to hear that you are ill, Your loving E.C.A.” Sara Putnam Lowell Blake was the daughter of John Amory Lowell, the founder of the Lowell Institute where Louis Agassiz was a celebrated guest lecturer. It was probably at the Institute that Eliza first met Sally.
Second edition. A biography of the naturalist and geologist Louis Agassiz (1807-1873) by his second wife. Elizabeth Agassiz accompanied her husband on his visit to Europe in 1859, and also on his expeditions to Brazil (1865-6) and to the Strait of Magellan (1871-2). Her biography first appeared in 1885, and presentation copies of any edition are uncommon. Agassiz's views are expressed trenchantly throughout, not least his opinion of Darwinism: "My recent studies have made more adverse than ever to the new scientific doctrines which are flourishing now in England… I trust to outlive this mania also" (p. 647). In The Origin of Species Darwin actually used as evidence of natural selection Agassiz's doctrine that the gradation of low to high lifeforms parallels their appearance in the fossil record and the stages of their embryonic development, so it is ironic that the man himself was a staunch creationist.