Featured Rare Books

A Nievve Herball, or, Historie of Plantes, by Rembert Dodoens (translated by Henry Lyte), 1578.

A Nievve Herball, or, Historie of Plantes is the first English edition of Rembert Dodoens' landmark herbal Cruydeboeck published in 1554 and is the only English edition that is illustrated with more than 850 of the original woodcuts printed in a folio format. Rembert Dodoens was a renowned Flemish botanist active in the late 16th century and this comprehensive herbal, or compendium of plants, is considered his most important work. This beautiful botanical work depicts several plants native to Alabama and the Southeastern region. Dodoens’ herbal is the first European printed book to depict a woodcut illustration of the sunflower, a plant species native to Alabama. Additional “New World” plants illustrated and described in the Dodoens’ herbal include cotton, native to the Gulf coast area, and the common bean and corn, both food staples of indigenous Native Americans who lived in the region known today as Alabama.

The Natvrall and Morall Historie of the East and West Indies, by José de Acosta, 1604.

The Natvrall and Morall Historie of the East and West Indies is the first English edition of Acosta’s natural history work that was originally published in Spanish in 1590. José de Acosta lived in Mexico and Peru for seventeen years and documented the cultures, flora, fauna, and geography of these areas in Central and South America. He detailed the many diverse plants and animals found in these regions as well as describing the indigenous Native American history, linguistics, and religions. Detailed descriptions of his voyages conveyed to Europe the mineral wealth, trading, and other commodities found in this area. Acosta, as a natural historian, was not only interested in plants as food, but also in their medicinal properties and uses. Notably, this book includes the earliest printed description in English of the tomato plant.


Questions? Contact us at archives@auburn.edu or 334-844-1732.

Last updated: 07/11/2024