A treatise concerning the shells, exclusively, of this greater portion, is termed, in accordance with general usage, a Treatise upon Conchology or Conchyliology; Though the word is somewhat improperly applied, as the Greek conchylion, from which it is derived, embraces in its signification both the animal and shell. Ostracology would have been more definite.
The common works upon this subject, however, I will
appear to every person of science very essentially defective, inasmuch
as the relations of the animal and shell, with their dependence
upon each other, is a radically important consideration in the examination
of either. Neither, in the attempt to obviate this difficulty, is a work
upon Malacology at large necessarily included. Shells, it is true, form,
and for many obvious reasons,
In this view of the subject the present little work is offered to the public. Beyond the ruling feature — that of giving an anatomical account of each animal, together with a description of the shell which it inhabits, the Author has aimed at little more than accuracy and simplicity, as far as the latter quality can be thought consistent with the rigid exactions of science.
No attention has been given to the mere History of our subject; it is conceived that any disquisition on this head would more properly appertain to works of ultimate research, than to one whose sole intention is to make the pupil acquainted, in as tangible a form as possible, with results. To afford, at a cheap rate, a concise, yet sufficiently comprehensive, and especially a well illustrated school-book, has been the principal design.
In conclusion, the author has only to acknowledge his great indebtedness to the valuable public labors, as well as private assistance, of Mr. Isaac Lea, of Philadelphia. To Mr. Thomas Wyatt, and his late excellent Manual of Conchology, he is also under many obligations. No better work, perhaps, could be put into the hands of the student as a secondary text-book. Its beautiful and perfectly well-coloured illustrations afford an aid in the collection of a cabinet scarcely to be met with elsewhere. <Also to Mr[[.]] T. Brown upon whose exelent [[excellant]] book he has very largely drawn[[.]]>
[This book was substantially based on Thomas Brown's text-book on Conchology, published in Glasgow in 1833.]
[The sentence enclosed in angle brackets (just above the "E. A. P.") gives Poe's own annotation, written in pencil in his personal copy of this book. Although there was a second edition, this additional acknowledgement was not included. It is printed here, with permission, from a private collection. The final page of the preface, with Poe's note, is reproduced in facsimile in Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc. Auction Catalogue, The Frank J. Hogan Library: Part One - American Authors, First Editions, Autograph Lettes, Manuscripts, January 23 and 24, 1945, item 572. This copy also includes numerous other corrections througout, apparently also by Poe. Most of these corrections were not applied in the second edition.]
[S:0 - TCFB, 1839]