New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1885.
Hardcover. This introduction to the science of living things is the work of Arabella Burton Buckley (1840-1929), who at the age of twenty-four started her eleven-year tenure as secretary to influential geologist Charles Lyell and who after his death became a science educator in her own right, lecturing, editing such prominent scientific treatises as Mary Somerville's Connexion of the Physical Sciences (1877) and Heinrich Leutemann's Animals from Life (1887), and writing imaginative introductory science books like this one. Buckley's signature educational style used fanciful metaphors and a whimsical writing style with the aim of evoking a sense of wonder at the marvels science reveals to the curious observer of nature. Buckley was a close friend of Darwin's, meeting through her employer and mentor Charles Lyell, who was crucial in bringing Darwin's theories to publication, and her understanding of the deeper meaning of evolution was many years ahead of the popularized concept. Here in Life and Her Children, as well as in its quasi-sequel Winners in Life's Race, she demonstrates her understanding of what Petr Kropotkin would later title "mutual aid"; she concludes Life and Her Children with this statement: "If at a future time we are able to trace out the history of the vertebrate animals, it will be our great interest to watch the rise of this higher feeling. Then we may perhaps learn that the 'struggle for existence,' which has taught the ant the lesson of self-sacrifice to the community, is also able to teach that higher devotion of a mother to child, and friend to friend, which ends in a tender love for every living being, since it recognises that mutual help and sympathy are among the most powerful weapons, as they are also certainly the most noble incentives, which can be employed in fighting the battle of life." An admittedly very worn but solid and still charmingly bound, enchantingly written, and beautifully illustrated Victorian introduction to evolutionary biology for children.
Chapters include: "Life and Her Children," "Life's Simplest Children, How They Live, and Move, and Build," "How Sponges Live," "The Lasso-Throwers of the Ponds and Oceans," ""How Star-Fish Walk and Sea-Urchins Grow," "The Mantle-Covered Animals, and How They Live With Heads and Without Them," "The Outcasts of Animal LIfe, and the Elastic-Ringed Animals by Sea and by Land," "The Mailed Warriors of the Sea, with Ringed Bodies and Jointed Feet," "The Snare-Weavers and Their Hunting Relations," "Insect Suckers and Biters Which Change Their Coats but Not Their Bodies," "Insect Sippers and Gnawers which Remodel Their Bodies Within Their Coats," and "Intelligent Insects with Helpless Children, as Illustrated by the Ants."
7 1/2" X 5 1/4". xii, 312pp, plus ten pages of ads. Bound in full dark sandy brown cloth over boards, with upper board and spine stamped with a seaside cavern scene in black with various animals, insects, and crustacea in gilt and title in kind. Heavy wear to binding, with rear board dampstained and appearing as if it were left too close on the beach to that seaside cavern its front cover depicts, as well as bumping and rubbing to exposed corners, small tears to head and tail of spine, and scattered rubbing and soiling to cloth. Light brown coated endpapers, with previous owner's name in pencil to front endpapers and to verso of free. Split to paper over inner hinges, quite firm even so. Binding remains sound. Occasional hint of spine at gutter of pages throughout. Pages are foxed throughout, with gentle age-toning and very occasional pencilled note. Illustrated in frontispiece, one plate, beautiful and relevant initials for each chapter, and near a hundred figures throughout. Fair. Item #13383