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Mission. The ISHBH aims to promote research related to historical herpetology. The Society is devoted to stimulating and advancing the study of the history of the herpetological discipline and its bibliography. We bring together individuals for whom the history and bibliography of herpetology are appealing. We promote the knowledge of these and related topics among members and the general public. The Society was established in 1998. Membership is open to anyone who shares the aims of the Society.

Activities. The society members meet every year, usually in connection with other general herpetological meetings with international participation. Activities include visits to private and public libraries, museums and other places with historical links to the discipline. We organize workshops and sessions in the fields that form parts of larger national or international meetings on herpetology. Our shared lunches adjacent to the yearly business meetings have become popular among members and guests. The Society works to facilitate both formal and informal contacts among members.

Journal. The ISHBH publishes the biannual journal Bibliotheca Herpetologica, which is the central pillar of the Society. It contains articles, essays, bibliographies and news of people and events in our field and is a peer-reviewed journal published with two issues per year. The many important contributions make the publication a vital source for bibliographers, historians and taxonomists alike but at the same time the papers are by and large appealing to the layperson in the field.

The name of the journal, up to volume 5(1), was: International Society for the History and Bibliography of Herpetology Newsletter and Bulletin.

Membership. Regular membership for two years is US $45, Sponsoring US$75, Institutions US $75, and Benefactor US$150. These fees include a subscription to Bibliotheca Herpetologica with two volumes, normally with two issues each. Membership usually covers two years but can be extended by the Society to ensure that two volumes of the journal are included. The present period, 2013-2014, starts with Bibliotheca Herpetologica volume 11. Life Membership is US $300. For more information see our Membership page.



Next Society Meeting: July – August, 2015

The University of Kansas will be the host for a herpetological meeting in the USA from July 29 to August 3, 2015 in Lawrence, Kansas, USA together with the organizing societies, the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR) co-sponsored by Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) together with several state herpetological societies and with the International Society for the History and Bibliography of Herpetology (ISHBH). This was the place where the first thoughts that led to the establishment of our society were shaped in 1996. It is our plan to celebrate this event by arranging a half or full day symposium on herpetological history and bibliography during the meeting. In addition, there will be a display of rare herpetological books at the Spencer Library on the campus of the University and, on the day following the conclusion of the official meeting, the ISHBH will be having a full day program including roundtable discussions on topics of common interest and additional library visits.

Make an oral presentation at the 2015 symposium on history and bibliography of herpetology!

The symposium arranged by ISHBH will include oral presentations relating in a wide definition to the history and bibliography of herpetology. Depending on numbers of members registering for presentations the length should be either 15 or 30 minutes. Inquire with Aaron Bauer or Richard Wahlgren for details.

Please plan already now for attending the whole herpetological meeting in the Lawrence, Kansas, USA on 29 July to August 3 (and just ISHBH on Tuesday, August 4), 2015.

 


Past Society Meetings: 2002 – 2014

The Society Meeting 2014

The 2014 Business Meeting of the Society was held on August 3 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA in conjunction with 2014 Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. The meeting took place with the traditional shared luncheon in the Oak room at the elegant Public House and was this year attended by nine members. Election of the Executive Committee for the biennial period 2014 and 2015 (until the Business meeting in 2016) was on the agenda. The Editor, Dr. Chris J. Bell had declined to stand for another period, which was consented. Chris Bell has been the editor since 2008 and he has diligently supervised the production of Bibliotheca Herpetologica volume nine to eleven. His endeavors were acknowledged with acclaim by the attending members. Nominated as the new Editor was Dipl. Biol. Markus Lambertz, Institut für Zoologie, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Germany, and he was unanimously elected.

There were no new nominees for the other positions and all of the current officers were re-elected.



The Society Meeting 2013

The Annual Business meeting for 2013 was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA in conjunction with the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Seven members and one guest attended the ISHBH meeting that started at noon on Saturday, July 13 with the traditional shared luncheon, this time at a restaurant fittingly named The Library situated at easy walking distance from the congress centre. There were no elections for the Board on the agenda this year and the Treasurer's Report for 2012 was approved.

From Left to Right: Victor Hutchison, Joe Mitchell, Kevin de Queiroz, Gregory Watkins-Colwell, Aaron M. Bauer, Richard Wahlgren, Kraig Adler, and Bob Ashley.



The Society Meeting 2012

The Business meeting for 2012 was held in conjunction with 7th World Congress of Herpetology, 8-14 August, 2012. Fifteen members signed up for the traditional shared luncheon combined with the Business Meeting at noon on August 10 in a restaurant adjacent to the campus of the University of British Colombia, Vancouver, Canada. As could be expected, there were lively discussions between the members on topics related to the mission and goal of the Society.



The Society Meeting 2011

The 2011 meeting of the ISHBH was held in conjunction with the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. This year our annual excursion on Friday, July 8th was lunch at a University of Minnesota campus restaurant, where the annual meeting was held and a tour of the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine, which is located in the medical school library on the Minneapolis Campus of the University of Minnesota. The library was founded as a rare medical book collection but has expanded to include all of the biological sciences. The Wangensteen has a selection of over one hundred herpetological works including such titles as Holbrook's (1842) North American Herpetology and Anderson's (1896) Herpetology of Arabia. Elaine Challacombe, Curator and Lois Hendrickson, Assistant Curator had a very nice selection of approximately 15 books out for our viewing including the above titles, Joseph Fayrer's (1872) The Thanatophidia of India, and Harold L Babcock's (1919) The Turtles of New England. They also included an old cookbook that had a turtle soup recipe. ISHBH gave the library a copy of Ernie Liner's (2005) The Culinary Herpetologist, so now they have a number of turtle soup recipes.

Elaine and Lois greatly enjoyed our visit and learned a great deal about their herpetological holdings from our group.

From Left to Right: Gordon Burghardt, Kraig Adler, Aaron Bauer, Victor Hutchison, John Moriarty, Greg Watkins-Colwell and David Wake.


The Society Meeting 2010

The business meeting of the Society took place in conjunction with the joint meeting of the three large American herpetological societies (HL, SSAR, ASIH) in Providence, Rhode Island, USA, on Friday, July 9, 2010 in the business room at Hemensway Resturant. The meeting was attended by 7 members and one guest and was preceded by the traditional luncheon with members and guests. Four members of the current Board were reelected for 2010 and 2011. The Treasurer/Secretary John Moriarty did not stand for re-election. As there was no nominee for the post, the meeting empowered the Chairperson to locate and Board to appoint a candidate. Moriarty will continue to act as a mail stop and bank contact meanwhile.

The excursion this year that preceded the Business meeting was to the library of the Providence Athenaeum, founded in 1753 as the Providence Library Company. In addition to being located in an historic building dating to 1838, the library holds an interesting natural history collection. The Director of Membership Services, Mrs. Christina Bevilacqua gave us an introduction of the library, its collections and long history. The Collections Librarian, Mrs. Kate Wodehouse had put the most interesting books for the group on display. The volume in prime focus was naturally the Latin/French edition of Albertus Seba's Thesaurus (1734-1765) with all the plates hand colored. But the other titles on herpetology or including important parts of herpetology were many and especially impressive. The mastodon book, the Description de l'Egypte (1809-1822), commissioned by Napoleon, containing a dozen plates with reptiles, Charles Lucian Bonaparte's Iconographica (1832-1841) in a colored version with volume II devoted to herpetology, and John Edwards Holbrook's North American Herpetology (1842), were just a few on display but everything of interest is not that big and colored. The paper by Hermon C. Bumpus on The Reptiles and Batrachians of the Rhode Island was published in Random Notes in Natural History, volume 1, Providence 1884 and contained interesting data from the past.

The tour of the library and the demonstration of the special herpetological collection that the staff set up were just remarkable. We extend our deepest thanks.



The Society Meeting 2009

The ISHBH 2009 annual meeting was held in Portland, Oregon, USA, on July 27, 2009 at Jake's Grill, 611 SW 10th Ave., Portland, Oregon, in conjunction with the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists 22-27 July. The meeting at lunchtime coincided with the Symposium Darwin at 2009: A View from Ichthyology and Herpetology, that was organized by Tim M. Berra. The meeting was attended by nine members and two guests.



The Society Meeting 2008

The ISHBH 2008 annual meeting was held as planned on 24 July in Montréal, Canada in conjunction with the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. The place for our traditional luncheon, this time at the Hungarian bistro Café Rococo had proficiently been located by our vice Chairperson Mr. Ronald A. Javitch, who is resident in Montréal. The associated business meeting was attended by seven members and one guest. There were no new nominees for the Executive Committee and all of the current officers, except the Editor, who had declined to stand for another period, were re-elected. Prospective candidates were named for the Editor post, which the Executive Committee was given the authority to work from. Subsequently, Dr. Chris J. Bell has been appointed as Editor and elected as an officer of the Executive Committee.

Two field trips were arranged after the meeting. The first was a visit to the private library of the Ronald A. Javitch Natural History Rare Book Foundation. The guests were helped through the labyrinths of book shelves by Mr. Javitch as well as the librarian Tracy, who also proudly displayed the beautiful roof garden that she nurses when not caring for the library and assisting Mr. Javitch in his scholarly research. The library occupies several floors in a spacious building and is focused on herpetology, entomology, gardening, and the history of science. There is a rare book room, which naturally attracted the interest of many from the audience but the other sections with their overwhelming numbers of specialty books were truly impressive to any natural history bibliophile.

The famous Osler Library on the campus of McGill University is only a short walk from the Javitch Foundation and was visited through another prearrangement. Sir William Osler (1849-1919) was a Canadian physician who assembled a large library, especially on the history of medicine that he willed to McGill University. The bequest contained some 8,000 volumes but it has since grown to well over three times that number. Although it is not a library directly herpetological in content, the uniqueness of the books was fully appreciated by the visitors of the Society and the interior of the library is enchanting. There are indeed cross borders between medicine and herpetology, so several old books on serpents, snake venoms and their treatments could be recognized on the shelves. Our thanks are directed to the librarians at McGill.

The group expressed its very special thanks to Ronald Javitch for organizing the afternoon's activities.



The Society Meeting 2007

The Herpetological Legacy of Linnaeus:
A Celebration of the Linnaean Tercentenary.

The Society commemorated the 300th birthday of Carl Linnaeus at the 2007 joint meeting of the HL, SSAR and ASIH, hosted by St. Louis University at the Hyatt Regency in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, 11 - 16 July. With the Herpetologists League (HL) as sponsor, the ISHBH organized a half-day symposium on 14 July 2007 at 8 a.m. to noon.

Carl Linnaeus was born on 23 May 1707. He is often called the father of taxonomy but he made also important contributions specific to herpetology through his original descriptions of numerous taxa, ecological and biological writings, publications on snakebite and its treatment and, indirectly, through his influence on a generation of students who served as apostles of "the Linnaean system" and themselves collected and described amphibians and reptiles from around the world.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Torbjörn Lindell, a distinguished Linnaeus scholar from Sweden, the country in which Linnaeus was born and practiced most of his life. Other speakers were Kraig Adler, Aaron M. Bauer, William E. Duellman, László Krecsák/Richard Wahlgren, Ernest A. Liner, Roy W. McDiarmid, Chuck Schaffer, John E. Simmons/Julianne Snider, and Kevin de Quiroz.

The symposium included an open exhibition of most of the original publications written by Linnaeus and his students relating to herpetology.

A study tour to a library of the Missouri Botanical Garden with the immense holding of Linnaean original publications was organized immediately after the symposium and shared luncheon. Our thanks go to Robert E. Magill and James C. Solomon who so kindly opened up this unique library for the society members and shared the knowledge in demonstrating the books.



The Society Meeting 2006

The business meeting for 2006 was held in New Orleans, on 16 July. The meeting was held in conjunction with the traditional luncheon with a fairly classic Louisianan ambiance and it had attracted 10 people. The Board members were reelected and the Treasurer's Report (Financial Statements) for the year ended 2005 was approved.



The Society Meeting 2005

The Annual Business meeting for 2005 was held on July 9 in Tampa, Florida, USA
in conjunction with joint meeting of the three large American herpetological societies (HL/SSAR/ASIH). The meeting took place with the traditional shared luncheon by members and guests. Ten members attended the meeting.

The plan for an observation of Carl Linnaeus' 300th birthday that will occur in 2007 was discussed under Other Business. The meeting encouraged the idea of commemorating Linnaeus with a special symposium of Linnaeus contributions to herpetology and with an exhibition of original printed material by Linnaeus. The joint HL/SSAR/ASIH meeting that will be held in Saint Louis, USA was proposed as the place for the ISHBH assembly and symposium. The executive board members should form a steering group to pursue the idea.



The Society Meeting 2004

The meeting in Norman, Oklahoma, USA.
The business meeting of the Society took place in conjunction with the joint meeting of the three large American herpetological societies (HL/SSAR/ASIH) in Norman, Oklahoma, USA, on Saturday, 29 May 2004. The meeting was attended by 14 members and was preceded by a shared luncheon with members and guests.

Executive Committee members Richard Wahlgren, Ron Javitch, and Aaron Bauer indicated their willingness to continue in their respective capacities as Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Meeting organizer respectively. Kraig Adler wished to be replaced on the Executive Committee as Secretary-Treasurer, and that Ralph Tramontano had requested to be relieved of his duties as editor of the Newsletter and Bulletin, although he was willing to continue to take responsibility for the publicaton's layout, the web site and related issues as Managing Editor. John Moriarty (USA) was proposed as a candidate for the position of Secretary-Treasurer and Patrick David (France) as a candidate for the position of Editor. The members unanimously approved the election. The Chairperson made a statement of appreciation for the contributions of Kraig Adler and Ralph Tramontano since the founding of the Society in 1998.

Following the meeting a group of 12 members were treated to a special guided tour of the world class University of Oklahoma History of Science Book Collection. This tour was arranged through the kind invitation and prearrangements of Dr. Marilyn Ogilvie, Professor of the History of Science and Curator of the History of Science Collection, and Dr. Victor H. Hutchison of the Department of Zoology. Highlights of the collection were first edition works by Galileo, Newton, Darwin and Mendel, some inscribed or annotated by the authors, as well as herpetological works by Aldrovandi, Lacepède and others. ISHBH members spent part of the visit inside the large, climate-controlled vault in the library, where they could browse through the large collection of rare books. Our thanks are dedicated to Dr. Ogilvie for a superb demonstration and to Dr. Hutchinson for making this behind the scene visit possible.



The Society Meeting 2003

The meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia.
St. Petersburg, Russia was the assembly point for the Business meeting of ISHBH in August. Seven members of the Society, including those new members who signed up at the meeting, attended the main venue, the congress of the Societas Europaea Herpetologica. The organizing committee and the Society arranged a well-received workshop on the history of herpetology with four speakers and one poster next to the meeting hall in the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The presentations included information about the life and herpetological work of Linnaeus (R. Wahlgren), the history of herpetology at the Zoological Institute in St. Petersburg (N. Ananjeva), the life of Alexander Koenig and his family in St. Petersburg (N. Ivanova), the French confiscation of herpetological collections during the First Republic and Empire (A. Bauer and P. Daszkiewicz), and the 100th anniversary of the birth of two great Russian herpetologists, Sergius Chernov and Paul Terentjev (N. Ananjeva and I. Danilov).

The group had also been invited for a special display of the herpetological collections of the Institute's world famous library. It was a stunning experience. The Library of the Zoological Institute of St. Petersburg holds about 540, 000 items including a wealth of herpetological books of historical significance. On the table were a dozen unique books, among them Christopher Gottwald's atlas (1714) Museum Gottwaldianum with several folded plates of chelonians, known from three copies only, Johann Walbaum's Chelonographia (1782), and both a colored and an uncolored version of Albertus Seba (1734, vol. 1) Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri for the viewers to compare and appreciate the quality of both states of illustration. We thank the librarians, Mrs. Ludmila Grozdilova and Mrs. Julia Dunaeva, and their colleagues for the opportunity given to audience to view part of this remarkable library.



The Society Meeting 2002

ISHBH's members tour to the Linda Hall Library.

Following the Annual Business Meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, USA the delegates and guests had been invited for a pre-arranged study tour to the impressive privately funded Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering, and Technology. Mr. Bruce Bradley, Librarian for History of Science and Special Operations, welcomed the group at the grandiose entrance to the library building, which is located in the middle of its 15-acre park-like property. The Linda Hall library is one of the world's leading collections of science, engineering, and technology. It holds more than one million volumes, from the fifteenth century to the present. Emphasis has been made on historical collections through fifty years of careful acquisitions.

Mr. Bradley (far left) and staff had, in preparation for our visit, made a special literature search to identify their collection of notable literature of all ages with herpetological significance. The staff had put on open display not only books that focus on herpetology alone but also numerous natural history books in which herpetology forms important parts. The relevant sections had been marked with slips of paper for easy browsing. Books for which the title does not indicate the herpetological contents are otherwise so easily overlooked. Mr. Bradley in his talk introduced the audience of the library and its history as well as some of the books he had laid out. The Linda Hall Library had also prepared a leaflet of the books on display including about 30 titles, most from the 17th and 18th century but also a few from the 19th century.

Of the very early books with substantial sections on herpetology were several editions of Konrad Gesner's mid-sixteenth century work, Historia animalium, including a scarce German abridgement with hand-colored woodcuts that is titled Thierbuch (1563.) Other encyclopedias of similar kind that followed Gesner are also represented in the collection, for example: Ulisse Aldrovandi (1640) Serpentum, et draconum historiae libri duo, Joannes Jonstonus (1652) Libri III. De serpentibus et draconib. The original massive folio by Albert Seba (1734-1765) Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri accurata descrptio, et iconibus artificiosissimis expressio had been described in the latest Newsletter & Bulletin, Vol. 3(2), by Aaron Bauer and it attracted naturally extraordinary interest. The books were too many for all to be mentioned here. The conversation that followed in the bus returning to the congress center was all about how rewarding the tour had been. We all thank the Linda Hall Library staff and especially Mr. Bradley for their great gesture in exhibiting the library for us.


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