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Cultures of print essays on the history of the book

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Kathleen Crowther bio Science in Print: Essays on the History of Science and the Culture of Print. Edited by Rima D. Downey, and Stephen L.

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University of Wisconsin Press, 2012. The nine essays in this volume showcase recent work at the intersection of the history of science and the history of print culture. Historians of science have long been interested in the impact of print on the circulation and reception of scientific theories and concepts, but the authors here expand in several new directions. While much of the history of print culture has focused on books, several essays here examine the meanings and uses of other types of printed material.

Lynn Nyhart studies the published reports of the German Plankton Expedition of 1889 and their place in the practice of nineteenth-century marine biology. The specimens collected on this voyage were distributed among thirty-six scientists who wrote sixty reports between 1892 and 1913.

This was a long-range, large-scale collaborative project by a community of scholars held together by the serial publication of reports. Jennifer Connor details the career of George Gould, an early-twentieth-century American medical editor who strove to put the control of medical journals in the hands of doctors rather than publishers. Gould presumed not always correctly that doctors would be motivated by the noble and unselfish desire to disseminate medical knowledge, whereas publishers were constrained by commercial considerations.

She further shows the ways in which this literature, especially that produced by government agencies, was heavily influenced by lobbying from the meat industry itself. Robin Rider looks at late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century American algebra textbooks, focusing particularly on the ways that typography shaped mathematical learning. In some texts, algebraic expressions were embedded in sentences, emphasizing mathematics as a language.

In others, the expressions were set off from the rest of the text with blank space in ways that emphasized quantitative relations and patterns.

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Kate McDowell and Sally Gregory Kohlstedt both examine early-twentieth-century scientific books and pedagogical material aimed at children.

McDowell demonstrates that the authors of scientific books for children rarely discussed evolution, [End Page 491] and she suggests that this was because these texts typically emphasized observation of the natural world, and evolution was not observable. Nature study advocates emphasized direct engagement with nature rather than reading books about nature, which made the production of such textbooks something of a paradox.

Two authors look at strategies for collecting, preserving, and disseminating print materials. Bertrum MacDonald examines the relationship between the Smithsonian Institution and Canadian scientists.

Cultures of Print

The Smithsonian sent scientific publications to Canadian scientists free of charge, and in return the latter sent the Smithsonian biological and mineralogical specimens for its collections. In this case, print materials became part of a mutually profitable exchange of scientific information and artifacts across the U.

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