No rocket science today, nor the unveiling of a hypothesis-driven discovery. Boring to most, but interesting to the ‘affectionados’ of biohistory are the handwritings of scientists from the era that collection labels were not printed but written. Several of these historical collections have been lost, but sometimes new discoveries or noteworthy publications appear that may be helpful in future research.
Recently, Cédric Audibert devoted a number of the journal Folia conchyliologica to the collection of Georges Courtagne (1854–1928), which also contained his archive of correspondents. A list of letters is given, covering 76 malacologists and the period 1878–1922. Among them well-known names like Ancey, Bourgignat, Caziot, Clessin, Locard, Monterosato, and Pallary.
In the context of this blog, one person deserves attention, viz. Henri Drouët (1829–1900), who has published a paper on French Guyana in which he also described a new species.
Decades ago, during the revision of Caribbean Bulimulus species, I travelled in vain to Dijon to search for the type material of this species. Also others have unsuccessfully looked there for parts of his collection. As his handwriting had not been authorized until 2008, it was difficult to be sure if material found did indeed belong to the Drouët collection. Audibert has shown that the this collected is dispersed, and parts of it may be found in three places. The marine species are now in the collection of the Université de Bourgogne, Dijon (Audibert, 2010). The freshwater species are in the Muséum d’Histoire natural de Troyes (Audibert, 2011). The terrestrial species are in the Muséum d’Histoire natural, Dijon (Audibert et al. 2013).
Time perhaps to make a new trip to France to look for the type of Bulimus eyriesii Drouët, 1859?
Audibert, C. (2010). Les collections conchyliologiques de l’Université de Bourgogne. – Folia conchyliologica 3: 5–14.
Audibert, C. (2011). Redécouverte de la collection de mollusques continentaux d’Henri Drouët (1829–1900). – Folia conchyliologica 14: 5–9.
Audibert, C. (2015). Georges Coutagne et ses correspondants malacologistes. – Folia conchyliologica 29: 3–23.
Audibert, C., Prost, M & Frias Martin, A.M. de (2013). Les types des mollusques des Açores décrits par Morelet et Drouët, naturalistes-voyageurs. – Folia conchyliologica 20: 5–20.