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Book Plates of The Fishes of Porto Rico

Identifier: A2023-10-01

Content Description

This collection contains 48 illustrated book plates, with Albertus H. Baldwin creating 32 plates and Charles B. Hudson creating 16 plates. Plates by Baldwin were painted while he was aboard the Fish Hawk. Descriptions on the plates contain both Latin and English designations, and every fish is illustrated from a side profile view. Each fish ranges in size, and the text denotes the "natural size" (life-size scale) and some not to scale.

The plates accompanied the The Fishes of Porto Rico, written by Barton W. Evermann and Millard C. Marsh, through the Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission. Lithographer Julius Bien & Co. first published the report and prints in 1900. Within the book’s opening statement, the authors explain the artists’ process for creating the plates which described fishermen transferring the fish from their boats’ live-wells to a large aquarium on a pier, where they were kept alive while being painted. During the winter of 1897-1898, 16 plates were created.


  • 1900

Conditions Governing Access

As a preservation measure, researchers will be provided digital copies as the paper is fragile.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials are in the public domain.

Biographical / Historical

Albertus Hutchinson Baldwin (1865-1944) was an illustrator and painter who was employed by the United States Federal Government. He created illustrations for the US governmental reports including The Aquatic Resources of the Hawaiian Islands.

Barton W. Evermann (1853-1932) was an ichthyologist, author, and a key figure in the study of fishes in America. Throughout his career, he served as a teacher, superintendent, director of the California Academy of Sciences, and professor at Indiana State University, Stanford University, Cornell University, and Yale University. When working for the United States Bureau of Fisheries, he worked closely with Charles B. Hudson and Albertus H. Baldwin for illustrations.

Charles Bradford Hudson (1865-1939) was a painter, illustrator, author, and army officer who was advised by Otis Tufton Mason (1838-1908), an ethnologist and Smithsonian Institution instructor. Upon noticing Hudson's abilities, Mason organized a paid opportunity for his student which involved Hudson preparing illustrations for ethnological studies. Hudson would go on to work for the United States Fish Commission for the 1888 Cincinnati Centennial Exposition. In addition, his artwork also included fishing vessels and crafts. Learn more about Hudson in the article, “Drawn to the Sea: Charles Bradford Hudson (1865-1939), Artist, Author, Army Officer, with Special Notice of His Work for the United States Fish Commission and Bureau of Fisheries” by Victor G. Springer and Kristin A. Murphy:

Millard Caleb Marsh (1872-1936) was an ichthyologist and an author for several United States Federal Government fish reports.

Charles Henry Taylor (1867-1941) was a life member of the Boston Society of Natural History and served as its president from 1927-1935. Taylor was an extensive book and manuscript collector who wrote about American lithography. He was also a member of the American Antiquarian Society and several other groups in Greater Boston area. Read more about Taylor at:


1.44 Linear Feet (48 illustrated plates measuring 12 x 8 inches)

Language of Materials




Plates arranged numerically by plate number.

Custodial History

Gifted to the Boston Society of Natural History in 1926 by Charles H. Taylor; provenance before 1926 is unknown.

Processing Information

Processed by Wren Livesay (Archives Arts Intern) and Brittany Contratto, July 2023; Materials were found in storage in 2023; materials were possibly part of the BSNH Library Collection

Book Plates of The Fishes of Porto Rico Finding Aid
Wren Livesay (Archives Intern)
July 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
First Edition

Repository Details

Part of the Museum of Science, Boston Archives Repository

One Science Park
Boston Massachusetts 02114