Sunday, October 31, 2010

Who prepared the first published meteorite catalogue?

I always thought that in 1837, Pierre Louis Antoine Cordier (1777-1861) prepared the first catalogue of the meteorite collection for the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris.  See The history of meteoritics and key meteorite collections:  Fireballs, falls and finds, (London, Geological Society, 2006), 168-169.

However, an associate of mine, Dr. Renaud Mathieu of Toulouse, pointed out that there was an earlier catalogue of meteorite holdings for the Muséum published in 1813 by Lucas and Haüy.  See J. A. H. Lucas, Tableau méthodique des espèces minérales, seconde partie, (Dhautel, Paris, 1813), 369-371.

Renaud informed me that the volume can be viewed on Google Books at:

As noted, 369-371 contain the catalogue.  

I realized after receiving this information that Lucas’catalogue predates von Schreiber’s catalogue of the Vienna collection which appeared as an Appendix to Chladni’s Über feuer-meteore.  See E. F. F. Chladni,  Über feuer-meteore, und über die mit denselben herabgefallenen massen, (Vienna, J.G. Heubner, 1819), 427-434.

Schreiber’s catalogue is usually considered the first published meteorite catalogue for a collection of meteorites.  See The history of meteoritics and key meteorite collections:  Fireballs, falls and finds, p. 140.

Part 1 of Lucas’ work is actually selling on eBay at present, but is was published in 1806, and does not contain the catalogue under discussion. 

The eBay listing (for information only - I have nothing to do with the sale) can be seen at: 

So does Lucas now hold the title for preparing the first published meteorite catalogue?  Looks that way, unless someone out there knows otherwise!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Latest Edition to My Collection - Signed CDV by Benjamin Silliman (1799-1864)

Carte-de-visites, also referred to as CDVs were often used as calling cards, and were collected for display in cabinets as well, and are often referred to as "cabinet photos" for this reason.  This CDV signed by Benjamin Silliman is the latest addition to my collection and the first cabinet photo as well. 

Copyright © Mark I. Grossman

Carte-de-visite (CDV) signed by Benjamin Silliman, 4 x 2.5 in.
Verso reads: "Augustus Morand,
297-Fulton Street, cor. Johnson, Brooklyn."

The photographer, Augustus Morand, was elected president of the the New York State Daguerreian Society in 1851, and his studio was located in Brooklyn approximately during the period 1860-1862.  See P. E. Palmquist and T. R. Kailbourn, Pioneer photographers from the Mississippi to the continental divide: a biographical dictionary, 1839-1865Stanford University Press (2005), 449.                                

Silliman and James L. Kingsley (1778-1852), both professors at Yale at the time of the fall on December 14, 1807, obtained samples of the Weston stone, the first meteorite samples to be recovered in the United States.  For more information about the event and the myth about Thomas Jefferson's statements questioning the veracity of the "two Yankee Professors", see  U.B. Marvin, ‘Meteorites in history: an overview from the Renaissance to the 20th century’, in The history of meteoritics and key meteorite collections:  fireballs, falls and finds (Geological Society of London Special Publication no. 256), (ed. G. J. H. McCall, A. J. Bowden and R. J. Howarth), pp. 51-52 (Geological Society London, 2006).      
Copyright © Mark I. Grossman

Small sample of the Weston meteorite
(0.32 g, H4)