Tag Archives: letter

Moricand: a letter in a book

A large collection of reprints and separata are owned by the library of the Centre de conservation et d’étude des collections in Lyon. Reading a binded volume of miscellanea of Stefano Moricand (1779-1854), we found inside a letter written by Moricand addressed to Ange-Paulin Terver (1798-1875). The handwritting style is quite similar to his correspondant, with a minute handwritting and thick downstrokes.

The letter is dated on 21 May, 1836, and reads as follows.

“Monsieur, j’ai reçu dans le temps l’ouvrage de Mr. Michaud que vous avez bien voulu m’envoyer ; qui m’a fait grand plaisir. Ayant inutilement cherché et attendu une occasion pour vous faire passer mes petits mémoires & craignant que mon silence en se prolongeant se pût être mal interprété, je me décide à vous les envoyer par la messagerie, ils vous serviront de catalogue pour vos desiderata, car je ne crois pas avoir conservé de note de ce que je vous ai envoyé. Quand vous recevrez vos coquilles d’Alger je me recommande à votre bon souvenir; je vous prie d’agréer l’assurance de mon (ill.) dévouement. Stefano Morricand” [signed with double r].

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[1]

The interpretation of this letter sheds a new light on the activities of Terver. As collaborator of Michaud, he drew the lithographs for the Supplement to Draparnaud (Michaud 1831); this was likely the book sent to Moricand. Terver was apparently preparing his study of the Algerian fauna (which was published in 1839). From the letter is becomes obvious that Moricand and Terver exchanged not only books but also shells. And finally, we learn that the catalogues of Moricand (1834, 1836) were likely to be used to mark the oblata!

Note:
[1] Source: CCEC.

References:
Michaud G. 1831. Complément de l’Histoire naturelle des Mollusques terrestres et fluviatiles de la France, de J. P. R. Draparnaud. Paris / Montpellier, 1–128, pl. XIV-XVI.
Moricand S. 1834. Note sur quelques espèces nouvelles de coquilles terrestres. Mémoires de la Société de Physique et d’Histoire naturelle de Genève 6: 537-543, pl. I.
Moricand S. 1836. Mémoire sur les coquilles terrestres et fluviatiles envoyées de Bahia par M. S. Blanchet. Mémoires de la Société de Physique et d’Histoire naturelle de Genève 7 (2): 415-446, pl. II.
Terver A-P. 1839. Catalogue des Mollusques terrestres et fluviatiles observés dans les possessions françaises au nord de l’Afrique. Paris / Lyon: J.-B. Baillière, Crochard & Savy, 1–39, 4 pl.

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An unknown women shell collector

There are probably a lot more people who could be added to the list of 2400 years malacology (Coan & Kabat, 2016). E.g., we found a letter and a postcard, sent in 1880s, from a British women named Fanny Maria Hele. She was interested in mineralogy and land and marine conchology, and there is evidence that she tried to enlarge her collection by exchange and purchase of shells. She lived in Fairlight, Elmgrove Road, Bristol, England. Her name regularly appears in the Hardwicke’s Science-Gossip journal, at the section “Exchanges”. E.g.:

Capture d’écran 2016-08-30 à 00.20.39

(1875: 168)

Capture d’écran 2016-08-30 à 00.17.49 (1875: 283)

The letter is dated on July 14, 1882 and is written in a bad French, probably to the Italian malacologist Del Prete. In the letter both a mineral and land shells are mentioned:

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“Cher Monsieur,

Je suis très obligé pour votre lettre. Quand la Posse Parcelle est etablie dans Angleterre j’envoyerai vous une bonne boîte de coquilles. Je vous envoye cette pour la lettre Anglais. Je recevre de Londres disant que cette Posse Parcelle sera pour toute la continent aussi de notre pays.

Il n’est pas encore etablée. Il sera dans deux ou trois mois temps. Je serai alors capable d’envoyerent six livres (Lei il peso d’una libra) pour environ deux francs a la continent.

J’ai grand adminration pour votre Clausilia et belle grand Helix. La mineral je desire est la precieux (berillo gemma). Avec mes bonnes egards et mes dévoués.

Je suis, Cher Monsieur, vous (ill.) Fanny Maria Hele”.

 

The postcard is dated on 16 June, 1887. It was addressed to Raimondo del Prete, in Viareggio, Italy:

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“Bristol June 16-87

J’oublie dire deux Isocardia cors ils étaient rompre en plusieurs morceaux. La Volute Angulata est très belle. Avez vous une seconde en doublon (donnez moi – J’envoyais votre desiderata (et 36 plus). Hier au soir – Plusieurs très rare species. Avez vous votre (Mediterranean Sea) (Mers) Cardium Intercostatum dans doubles avec bonnes Egards. Je suis votre (ill.) F. M. Hele.”

Reference:
Dance S. Peter 2013. Fanny M. Hele and the var. exalbida. Mollusc World, 12: 18 (portr.) [here]

[1] Source: Audibert, private collection

 

 

 

Malacology during the First World War

We provide two postcards [1] written from malacologists at the beginning of the First World War in 1914, between France and Italy.

In the first one, Philéas Rousseau (1860–1935), a French malacologist who was interested in botany and zoology (he published two catalogues dealing with molluscs and vascular plants of the island of Ré, near La Rochelle), wrote to Raimondo del Prete (1850–1937), an Italian malacologist. This letter is dated August 27, 1914, just one month after the beginning of the war. He expressed concern about a parcel with shells sent to him one month ago (thus just some days before France entered the war!) and asked him to stop the shipments until a return to calm: “Veuillez donc je vous prie, me donner des nouvelles du colis postal de Coquilles que je vous ai adressé il y a un mois. Vous devez comprendre mon inquiétude à ce sujet en raison de la tourmente que nous traversons. Vouloir bien attendre des temps plus tranquilles pour m’expédier le vôtre ; ça ne presse pas“.

The second postcard is written by Commandant Eugène Caziot (1844–1931) from Alpes-Maritimes (France) and adressed to Francesco Settepassi (1889–1982), a young Italian malacologist, living in Viareggio as R. del Prete. The card is dated November 1, 1914, two months after the letter of Ph. Rousseau to del Prete and the declaration of war with France (August 3, 1914). Unlike Ph. Rousseau, Caziot is less cautious with sendings and continue his activity in an ever more troubled world. However, in this postcard, Caziot is worried about his last sending (probably a parcel of shells) and a consecutive letter, both remained without response: “Je vous ai fait connaître que je vous faisais un envoi ; je vous ai adressé une carte 15 jours après. Je n’ai pas reçu ni avis ni réponse. Vous seriez aimable de me sortir d’inquiétude“.

Reference:
Vimpère J., 2015. Découverte d’un inventaire manuscrit des Mollusques de la Vendée rédigé par Edmond Bocquier (1881-1948). Folia conchyliologica, 31: 3-13 [Notice on Ph. Rousseau, portr., p. 9]

[1] Source: Audibert, private collection

Two letters about the bequest of the collection Gaudion

Commandant Gaudion (1828–1902) was a patron for the Muséum d’histoire naturelle de Marseille. He brought together an important zoological collections from the Mediterannean area, therefore his name was inscribed on the marble plate of donators. Both his collection and books (Gaudion did not live in the city but in Béziers, and he needed an extensive library was required to determine what he collected) were given to the Museum of Marseille, for a total value of 10,000 French francs (in 1915).

Here shown are two letters [1] dated July 20, 1911 and November 30, 1911 concerning the bequest of the conchological collection of Gaudion.

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These letters were written by Vayssière, director of the Museum d’Histoire naturelle de Marseille to Mrs Gaudion about the legacy of her husband. From the letters it becomes clear that the collection (in 1911, nine years after the death of Gaudion) was almost completly arranged by Martial Couturier; he was another French conchologist and assistant-curator at the Muséum of Marseille. Vayssière proposed to return to Gaudion’s widow, a box with duplicates from his collection, which was not required by the Museum. The second letter in November specifically dealt with the adminitrative problem to extract from the legacy the series of duplicates which remained in Béziers. The words “installation de la salle Gaudion” (in Béziers) could refer to a project to create a litte room with Gaudion’s specimens, maybe at the Société d’étude des sciences naturelles de Béziers, which became Musée du Biterrois.

References:
Fischer H. 1903. [Nécrologie]. H. Gaudion. Journal de Conchyliologie 51: 91–92.
Vayssière A. 1903. Notice biographique sur Henri Gaudion (1828-1902). Annales du Muséum d’Histoire naturelle de Marseille 8: 16–13, 1 pl. (portrait).
Vayssière A. 1915. Rapport sur la section de zoologie du Muséum. Annales du Muséum d’Histoire naturelle de Marseille 15: 3–7.

Note:
[1] Audibert C., private collection.