Tales from the Book Drop: Fruits and Flowers of the Holy Land

| January 21, 2014

A co-worker showed me one of our closed stack books this summer — bound in beautiful dark brown leather with hand-drawn and colored illustrations.  I couldn’t help but wonder about the history behind it.  “Plants of the Holy Land” was written by Reverend Henry S. Osborn in 1861. As the title suggests, it is all about plants found in & around the “Holy Land” — modern-day Israel/Palestine.

Reverend Osborn did not intend to write this book — but decided to when he was gathering information for another work “Palestine, Past and Present.”  In the book, he notes that he has found and written about every single plant (excluding trees) mentioned in the bible.  He notes their history, biblical significance and each plants’  many uses — even comparing  different plant species from around the globe. The illustrations as well as much of the information gathered for the book are from various sources (Greek and Latin texts and various artists).  Below, a photo of the cover of the book from our collection and a snippet of illustration from within the book.

The cover

One of our senior librarians mentioned that the cover could be made of vellum — stillborn calfskin or uterus. You learn something new everyday!

Illustration from the book

If you’d like to check out the book, please click the retrieval link in the catalog (as it must be retrieved from the closed stacks for you). Enjoy!