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A History of the Vegetable Kingdom


Rhind, William

Original publication date: 1857
Original publisher: Blackie and Son, Glascow and London
Publication status: Public domain


This abundantly and beautifully illustrated book covers three topics: The physiology and geographical distribution of vegetables; a history of useful plants and food crops;  the practical culture of vegetables. It is huge book, over 700 pages. Regrettably, the scan is not searchable and the file size quite large. At least the images are readable.

William Rhind was born on November 30, 1797, in Inverlochy, Scotland.  He studied medicine at Marischal College, Aberdeen and practised in London for a short time. In the mid-1820s he moved to Edinburgh, where he spent nearly forty years of his life writing and lecturing on various subjects. His non-scientific works included a historical work on his home county and three tourist guides of Scotland. Of his scientific writings, a number reflected his strong commitment to see good textbooks available for the education of children, aged 10–18 years.

Many of these books went through several editions and included class books on the natural history of the earth, botany, geology and physical geography, zoology, meteorology, and elementary geography. He also produced three books for the general public: The Feline Species, Studies in Natural History, the first thorough work on the nature and cure of intestinal worms in humans.

At age 76, he died peacefully of physical weakness on March 15, 1874.

Walter Hood Fitch, considered by many to be the greatest botanical artist of his time, supplied most of the illustrations for this work. These wonderful hand coloured engravings depict a wide variety of plants including palms, ferns, trees, cactus, vegetables, fruits, nuts, mushrooms, and many lovely flowers.

PDF file size: 82 mb

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