From the Los Angeles Times (11/1/08):
Science historian Dan Lewis opened the green cloth cover of “The Origin of Species,” Charles Darwin’s classic work on evolutionary biology, and flipped to Page 20.
And there, in the 11th line of text, was the telltale typo: “Speceies.”
That misprint marked the book as one of the 1,250 copies originally published in London in 1859.
“If you’re at a garage sale and you see an old copy, check for this,” said Lewis, an expert on the history of science and technology at the Huntington Library in San Marino.
Darwin’s book is part of a consolidation of the Huntington’s collection of rare science books with the 67,000-volume Burndy Library, which had been housed at MIT.
Roughly one-fifth of the Huntington’s holdings came through its 2006 acquisition of the Burndy collection, amassed by Bern Dibner, an electrical engineer and scholar who made a fortune after inventing the first solderless electrical connector in 1924.
The gift was made on the condition that the Huntington create a permanent exhibit on the history of science and technology. That promise is set to be fulfilled today with the opening of “Beautiful Science: Ideas That Changed the World,” a permanent exhibit dedicated to books, manuscripts, letters and scientific devices that tell the history of discovery in the fields of astronomy, natural history, medicine and light.