Prodromus in systema historicum testaceorum

Spalowsky, Joachim Johann Nepomuk
Gedruckt bey Ignaz Alberti's Wittwe, 1795

Joachim Johann Nepomuk Anton Spalowsky (1752-17 May 1797) was a veritable polymath in the Austrian Empire of the late eighteenth century. Few biographical details are...

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Joachim Johann Nepomuk Anton Spalowsky (1752-17 May 1797) was a veritable polymath in the Austrian Empire of the late eighteenth century. Few biographical details are available on him but he was born in Reichenberg [currently Liberec, Czech Republic], and he was a surgeon attached to the civic regiments of Vienna. Spalowsky was a member of the Königlichen Böhmischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften although he was not mentioned in the exhaustive history of that society, even with regard to their "Conchyliensammlung".

His erudition is evidenced by the range of his publications. His 1777 inaugural dissertation treated poisonous plants and related topics. In addition to the Prodromus in Systema Historicum Testaceorum (1795) he authored works on such diverse topics as birds, mammals and even a disquisition on economics and numismatics, a further sign of his scholarly breadth.

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries' copy of Prodromus in Systema Historicum Testaceorum is an 1801 re-issue of Spalowsky's book, originally published in 1795. Dedicatory materials constitute the only difference between the two issues, but either issue is among the rarest of published books on shells.

For more information on Spalowsky's Prodromus, read the attached essay by Alan Kabat, originally published in Archives of Natural History (1996: v.23(2), p.245-254).

For detailed information, including a full collation, of the Smithsonian's copy, read the attached essay by Leslie Overstreet.