Red Sea Algae

[Red Sea Algae Specimen Album]. Husson, Anne Henry, French naturalist (1814-1855). Algae from the Red Sea.

[Red Sea, ca. 1844-1845].

Album of 18 well-preserved algal specimens carefully mounted on individual sheets of white wove paper, each approximately 330 x 155 mm. Loosely laid in to folding portfolio, housed in a marble clamshell box.


A rare and early ensemble of algae specimens collected from the Red Sea, from different areas between Suez and Yemen, including one specimen from Alexandria. All items identified with the Latin name and details of the location around the Red Sea and date of collection written in French on the mounts, e.g., "Caulerpa prolifera: très commune dans toute la mèr rouge á la prodondeur de 1½ mètre à 2 [...] Avril 1844", or "Mer rouge dans le Golfe de l'Acaba, Juillet 1844".

The French botanist A. H. Husson, a native of Nancy, was also a pioneer of early photography. He lived in Egypt, where he worked as the director of the botanical garden and conservator for the Museum of Natural History for the Qasr Al-Ainy, the Cairo University's Faculty of Medicine.

"The Red sea has been a region of natural history exploration by European scientists from about 240 years. The first record of marine algae in the Red Sea was by Strand (a pupil of Linnaeus's), who in his thesis on the flora of Palestine listed three species. The first person to collect marine algae from the Saudi Arabian Red Sea Coast was the Danish botanist and explorer Forsskal in the 18th century who, in the month of November 1762, made a collection of seaweeds from the Sea of Jeddah [...] In the early years of the 19th century a British admiral Viscount Valentia made collections of algae from the Red Sea [...] Several other workers, including medical doctors and amateurs, collected marine algae from the Red Sea during the rest of the 19th century" (Beni-Suef Univ. Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, Vol. 3/4 [Dec. 2014], pp. 278-285).

Includes the offprint of a short biography of Husson: Christian Debize, "L'album photographique d'Anne-Henry Husson. Regards d'un colon nancéien dur l'Egypte moderne", Annales de l'Est (1985), no. 4, pp. 261-299. Stab-sewn in wrappers.

A most exceptional and scarce collection of preserved algal specimens from the Red Sea. Provenance: from the property of the botanist Dr. Eugene L. Vigil (b. 1941), of Lynden, Washington, USA.