Antiquarian Auctions

SA Auction #106 begins on 13 Apr 2023

US Auction #15 begins on 10 May 2023

Andrew Smith of St. Cyrus. M.A.


Published: J.C. Juta & Lovedale, Cape Town, 1895

Edition: 1st. Thus

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The scarce third edition - effectively the first complete edition of this important early work on the native medicinal use of indigenous plants. SABIB Vol. 4, Page 230.

A facsimile reprint of this 3rd. edition was published by the Cory Library of Rhodes University, in the Eastern Cape Reprint Series, in 2011.

An about very good copy in the original red cloth with black lettering on the front board. The cloth is slightly rubbed and has a few small stains. There is some offsetting to the endpapers and a signature on the front free endpaper. The front inner hinge is starting to crack. An early bookseller's catalogue (? Clarke's in Cape Town) listing this book has been lightly tipped in at one corner on the front pastedown. Internally the pages are clean and unfoxed.

Andrew Smith taught history, geography, philosophy and mathematics, at the Lovedale 'College Department' but his real passion was botany. In 1885, he published a humble 23-page pamphlet entitled 'A Contribution to South African Materia Medica'. It generated an overwhelming response and further information flooded in from all corners of the Eastern Cape. The third and final edition extended to 240 pages, more than ten times the length of the original. Notable contributors included Dr. JF Soga, South Africa's first qualified veterinary surgeon, and WW Gqoba, one of the great figures of early Xhosa literature. Smith's 'Contribution' is first and foremost a botanical text and a monument to Xhosa indigenous knowledge. Smith was also interested in the way people lived and consequently provides us with a unique and vivid insight into the society within which these indigenous remedies were applied. He seems to have a particular interest in snakebite, and learned much about red dagga (Leonotis leonurus [umfincafincane]) from the Rev WS Davis of Clarkebury, 'than whom none have had better opportunities of testing the thing.' The 'Contribution' is a serious scientific work, but it can also be read for pleasure by the merely curious.

  • Binding Condition: About Very Good
  • Overall Condition: Very Good
  • Size: 8vo.
  • Sold By: Ronald Levine - Modern First Editions
  • Contact Person: Ronald Levine
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 011643 8437
  • Preferred Payment Methods: EFT for S.African customers and Internation Bank Tranfer for customers abroad. I am unable to accept payment by credit card.
  • Trade Associations: SABDA

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