"THE REPUTATION THAT BROWN ACQUIRED AS ONE OF THE GREATEST OF BOTANISTS HAS PROVED WELL FOUNDED": BROWN'S DISCOVERY OF THE CELL NUCLEUS, 1833
BROWN, Robert. "On the Organs and Mode of Fecundation in Orchideae and Asclepiadae." IN: The Transactions of the Linnean Society of London. Volume XVI. Part the Third, pp. 685-746. London: Richard Taylor, sold at the Society's House and by Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green and Longman, 1833. Quarto, original blue paper wrappers, printed paper spine label, uncut and unopened. $1600.
First edition of Robert Brown's discovery and naming of the nucleus in living plant cells—"the first specially to demonstrate its general occurrence in living cells and to give it the name 'nucleus'" (DSB). In the original journal as issued, with three accompanying engraved plates, a fine uncut copy in original paper wrappers.
In this communication read at the Linnean Society of London in November 1831 (pp. 685-738) and in "Additional Observations" on June 5, 1832 (pp. 739-46), Brown for the first time described and named the nucleus in plants. While investigating the process of fertilization in orchids, Brown discovered a small round body in cells, which he named the nucleus. He described a distinctly granular areola in each cell: "this areola, or nucleus of the cell as perhaps it might be termed" (p. 710), noting as well that "only one areola belongs in each cell" (ibid). "A few earlier botanists evidently had observed the presence of this nucleus in some cells, as Brown himself points out, but he was the first specially to demonstrate its general occurrence in living cells and to give it the name 'nucleus'" (DSB). Brown's paper established "the concept of the nucleated cell as the unit of structure in plants" (Arthur Hughes, A History of Cytology, 35). According to the DSB, in 1831 Brown printed a pamphlet version of this paper for private distribution. This pamphlet is exceedingly rare, if even extant (no copies in OCLC). A much shorter (ten-page) paper under the title "Observations on the Organs and Mode of Fecundation…" appeared in the 1832 Edinburgh Journal of Science; however, boh the DSB and Garrison & Morton both cite the present journal issue in Transactions of the Linnean Society as the first published edition to use the word "nucleus." Garrison & Morton 109.
Expert restoration to spine of fragile wrappers. Very nearly fine condition. Scarce and desirable.