Popular Science Monthly/Volume 52/January 1898/General Notices


The chapter in American history relating to the cowboy, says the editor of The Story of the West Series, introducing Mr. Hough's account of that singular character of the plains,[1] "demands preservation for reasons æsthetic and practical alike." It concerns a feature of American life that is passing away—has, in fact, almost passed away—never to be seen again. The story has found a competent teller in Mr. Hough, who is familiar with the cowboy's life and knows how to present its most salient features in their legitimate prominence. His book is remarkably vivacious and full of incident, and his accounts are picturesque, without his having ever found it necessary to exaggerate or descend to vulgar sensationalism. While the cowboy's life has, as the editor well says, been subjected to literary abuse, literary justice is done it in this story, which treats it soberly and dispassionately without detracting from the raciness which "indolent and unscrupulous pens" have sought to impart to it by invention. First is presented to the reader "the long range," or the cattle trail from the south to the north, on which so many herds were driven twenty years ago in search of the fattening grasses of the north, how it was opened and how developed; then the cattle ranch, in the south and in the north; the cowboy's outfit and his horse, the marks and brands that were put on cattle, the rules or customs that grew up or were enacted concerning the use of grass and access to water; the occupations and incidents of the cowboy's business of tending cattle, described in several chapters; "society in the cow country," and the elements that came in to modify or disturb it—the "nester" or settler who established farms in the land; the great herders who tried to monopolize the country and fence it in, and the way they were opposed; the "rustler" and "the wars of the range"; and finally the growth of settlements and the changing aspects of the country. The ten full page illustrations are based upon actual knowledge.

Prof. L. H. Bailey's Principles of Fruit Growing[2] is a comprehensive and thorough-going work, and appears to cover all the aspects of the subject. It does justice to the theoretical and scientific side, and is at the same time in the descriptions of the processes and appliances of fruit culture predominantly practical. The author begins with an Introductory Discussion, seeking a definition of a fruit, and finds it by enumerating the different kinds. They divide themselves into four classes, of tree fruits, vine, small, and herblike fruits, and twenty subclasses. Then he considers the geographical elements—temperature, moisture, soil, and parasite determinants—of fruit growing, the evolution of a fruit region, some economical aspects of the subject; The Location and its Climate, including site, windbreaks, and artificial protection from frost; The Tillage of Fruit Lands, their fertilization, the planting of fruit grounds, the secondary and incidental care of the plantation, diseases, insects, and spraying; and harvesting and marketing fruit. The origin of new varieties is briefly considered in the appendix, and a Bibliography of American Books on Fruit Growing is added. The author's style is direct and terse, and many of his paragraphs are very suggestive.

The great difficulty of dealing with children in disease has made this department of medicine a fertile field for the specialist. The popular notion that "almost any doctor will do for baby" is not borne out by experience. Instead of its being easier to treat a child than an adult, it is, as a matter of fact, quite the reverse, and great skill and preparation, one might almost say genius, are required for the making of a specialist in pædiatrics. Dr. Holt has given us a new work on this important subject.[3] He has aimed, by omitting much material which does not strictly pertain to children and which is fully treated in general medical works, to give a fuller account of the strictly infantile diseases. Another omission, which, however, seems of less doubtful propriety, is that of questions relating to operative surgery. Rather more space than is usual in a clinical work has been given to pathology. The illustrations are fairly numerous, and are for the most part original. The material, which "is largely a record of personal experience," was gathered from eleven years, continuous hospital service among young children. The work is divided into two parts. The first of these treats of the hygiene and general care of infants, and gives some rules regarding the growth and development of the body and the peculiarities of disease in children. The second part is divided into ten sections, Diseases of the Newly Born, and Nutrition being the first two section titles. The remaining sections take up in succession the diseases of the digestive, the respiratory, the circulatory, the uro-genital, and the nervous systems. Section eight deals with the diseases of the blood, lymph nodes, and bones, and section nine the specific infectious diseases. The last section is entitled Other General Diseases.

The last volume in The Contemporary Science Series to reach us is a treatise on The New Psychology,[4] by Professor Scripture, of Yale University. The rapid growth of popular interest in psychology and allied branches of study has produced a large recent increase in its literature, a great share of which, however, is rather doubtful science; the subject being one difficult of experimental investigation, and of so essentially personal a nature that a student only rarely succeeds in keeping his researches purely objective. Dr. Scripture takes up the study in a methodical way, using instruments and meters wherever possible, and succeeds in bringing a sort of order out of the chaos. He has aimed to show just what the new psychology is, and to make clear the fundamental ideas of the science. The first part, comprising seventy-eight pages, is devoted to a consideration of methods, and is much the more important portion from a popular standpoint, because it really amounts to a discussion of the legitimacy of psychology as an experimental and exact science. The second part discusses "time" in its various psychological aspects. In Parts III and IV energy and space are respectively taken up. It will be seen from these headings that there is an attempt to divide the subject in a way analogous to that used in the study of physics. The last thirty pages of text, entitled Past and Present, give a brief history of the methods, speculations, and men connected with the study of psychology since the days of the Greeks. The book contains numerous drawings and illustrations, and several useful tables and formulæ, as appendices.

Mr. Bullock's Introduction to the Study of Economics[5] fulfills well the exact purpose implied in its title. The first three chapters—which relate to the growth of the United States and their population, their land tenures and systems of labor, the growth of their foundational institutions, of the fur trade, cattle raising, fisheries, and mining, and manufactures and transportation—aim to familiarize the student with an orderly treatment of some leading facts in the economic history of the United States before the study of economic theory is begun. Throughout the book economic principles are discussed with special reference to American conditions, and their workings are illustrated by frequent allusions to American experience. The subjects of wealth, its consumption, production, and distribution, exchange, money, credit, bimetallism, monopolies, international trade, wages, land nationalization and socialism, and the economic functions of Government are thus treated; while public finance has been only incidentally touched upon, and it has not been considered expedient to attempt to discuss taxation within the special limits of the volume. We have been much struck with the clear presentation made of principles and doctrines, of the strong common sense that pervades the author's observations, and the general soundness of his views. A bibliography of the special subject is given at the close of each chapter, and a general bibliography of twenty-five pages and a copious index will be found at the end of the book.

The Natural History of the Concise Knowledge Library[6] is an admirable example of the manner in which much information may be presented satisfactorily in a small space. It is a book that may be held in the hand and is legibly printed, yet it covers the whole animal kingdom, and each department is treated by an expert in it, distinguished as an authority and an original investigator. It well fulfills its aim, as defined in the preface, to be concise and popular, at once accurate in statement, handy in form, and ready of reference. While giving all the technical names, the authors have sought to express themselves as much in English as possible. Hence in the text the technical terms are rendered in their English equivalents, or, where there are none such, explained in the vernacular in such a way that the most unlearned may understand what is meant. Mr. Lydekker even goes so far as to apologize for using so little technical a word as "mammals," because it has no English equivalent, "beasts" excluding man, and quadrupeds excluding man and the higher apes, and including lizards, etc. The text is preceded by a concise systematic index, giving the complete classification, and followed by an alphabetical index, containing about ten thousand references and occupying forty-six pages.

The rapid onward march of science has made necessary the revision of what was a thoroughly up-to-date book on optics[7] fifteen years ago. The changes we find in the new edition of Professor Le Conte's "Sight," are mainly in the form of additions. The principal of these are in Part I: a fuller explanation of the cause of astigmatism, a clearer statement of the nature of space perception and the law of direction, a new mode of locating in space the visual representative of the blind spot, a brief account of "visual purple" and its probable function, and a much fuller exposition of color perception and color blindness. There is little change in Part II. Part III, where Professor Le Conte's own views are especially set forth, as been carefully gone over and verified. There have also been added a chapter on the form of phantom planes under certain conditions, and a final chapter on the evolution of the eye. Illustrations and diagrams are numerous. For a full notice of the original volume our readers are referred to the June issue of 1881.

The Sixth Annual Report of the Tennessee Bureau of Labor Statistics and Mines for 1896 calls especial attention to the growth of Tennessee as a mining and industrial State. It is shown that her mineral production was never before so large; that there has been a marked improvement in the condition of the mining properties; and that, notwithstanding the large increase in output, the number of accidents has been markedly decreased. Among the special articles we find the following titles: The Manufacture of Coke; Pig-iron Industry in 1896; Zinc, Lead, and Copper; the Phosphate Industry; and the Petroleum Field of Tennessee.

Part II of The Report of the Alabama State Geologist has recently reached us. It describes the so-called Coosa Valley region. Part I treating of the Tennessee Valley region. The topographic, geologic, and economic features are all considered. The geology of this section is especially difficult, because of the number of formations involved and their complexity of structure. The large economic interests here, however, make the study one of great value. The volume contains an interesting and instructive map of structure sections through various portions of the State.

Crime and Criminals (Chicago: W. T. Keener Co., $1) is substantially a reproduction of a series of articles contributed by the author, J. Sandersen Christison, under the title of Jail Types, to a Chicago journal. They are given in book form in response to the favorable notices they receive. They consist of sketches—life histories with characterizations of individual criminals, with photographic profile and full-face portraits. The author suggests that those who read them may find much to reflect upon in the line of duty as members of society at large. The delinquents are regarded, from the psychological point of view, as belonging to the three classes of the insane, the moral paretic, and criminals proper.

In The Science of Speech (Washington: The Volta Bureau) Alexander Melville Bell offers an explanation of all the actions of the mouth and the vocal organs which produce speech. While in the system of visible speech the elements of language are exhibited in symbols, by which some beginners may be deterred, in the present work the same elements are described without symbols, with the formation of the sounds expressed in the nomenclature. Hence the author styles it a species of shorthand for the mechanism of utterance.

The sixth volume of the Report of the Iowa Geological Survey (Samuel Calvin, State Geologist) includes the reports on Lead and Zinc Deposits, by A. G. Leonard; The Sioux Quartzite and Certain Associated Rocks, by S. W. Beyer; the Artesian Wells of Iowa, by W. H. Norton; and the Relations of the Wisconsin and Kansas Drift Sheets in Central Iowa, and Related Phenomena, by H. Foster Bain. The lead and zinc deposits extend along the Mississippi River for nearly eighty miles, in the counties of Dubuque, Clayton, and Allamakee. Mr. Norton's paper on Artesian Wells is a full and elaborate study of the subject.

The Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission, Volume XVI, for 1896 (John J. Brice, Commissioner), contains a report, by Barton W. Everman, upon Salmon Investigations in the Headwaters of the Columbia River, in the State of Idaho, in 1895, together with notes upon the fishes observed in that State in 1894 and 1895; and papers on the Artificial Propagation of the Rainbow Trout, by George A. Beagle; The Russian Fur Sea Islands, by Leonhard Stejneger; The Artificial Propagation of Salmon on the Pacific Coast of the United States, with Notes on the Natural History of the Quinal Salmon, by Livingston Stone; and Deep-Sea Exploration, with a general description of the steamer Albatross, her appliances and methods, by Z. L. Tanner.

The Fourteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology for 1893-'94 (J. W. Powell, Director) presents the results of a full year of study by the members of the Bureau, the publication of which in book form has been so delayed that they are hardly longer new to the public, and several authors whose works are referred to in the administrative report—Mallery, Pilling, Dorsey, among them—have died. The administrative report gives a clear account of the classification of the work of the bureau, and of the labor of its agents in various fields, showing that a large amount of information is being accumulated, while the original and living sources are still accessible, which might, if the studies were long delayed, be irrecoverably lost, and which is destined to be of incalculable value to students of mankind. The special papers, published in full with ample illustration, are Stone Implements of the Potomac-Chesapeake Tidewater Province, by W. H. Holmes; The Siouan Indians, a Preliminary Sketch, by W J McGee; Siouan Sociology, a Posthumous paper, by J. O. Dorsey; Tusayan Katcinas, by J. W. Fewkes; and The Repair of Casa Grande Ruin, Arizona, by Cosmos Mindeleff.

Part second of Volume XXVI of the Annals of the Astronomical Observatory of Harvard College, comprising Miscellaneous Investigations of the Henry Draper Memorial, gives first a Review of Progress during the Years 1891 to 1894, followed by accounts of Observations on the Distribution of Stars in Clusters, Measurement of Positions and of Brightness and Spectra of Stars in Clusters. These articles are illustrated by eleven excellent photographic plates, recording and communicating to the eye what was seen.

The Seventeenth Annual Report of the United States Geological Survey, covering the work of the fiscal year 1895-'96, is published in two parts, constituting two very large volumes of 1076 and 864 pages. The first part, besides the director's report, in which the work of the various branches of the survey is described, contains papers on Magnetic Declination in the United States, by Henry Gannett; A Geological Reconnoissance of Northwestern Oregon, by J. S. Ditler; The Geology of the Sierra Nevada, by R. W. Turner; The Coal and Lignite of Alaska, by W. H. Dall; Glacial Brick Clays of Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts, by N. S. Shaler and others; and the Eocene and Upper Cretaceous of the Pacific Coast, by T. W. Stanton. The second part contains papers on the Gold Quartz Veins of Nevada City and Grass Valley, by Waldemar Lindgren; Geology of Silver City and the Rosita Hills, by W. Cross; the New and Kanawha Rivers, by M. D. Campbell and W. C. Mendenhall; The Underground Water of the Arkansas Valley, by G. K. Gilbert; The Water Resources of Illinois, by Prank Leverett; and Artesian Waters of a Portion of the Dakotas, by N. H. Denton.

Extension Bulletin No. 20 of the University of the City of New York is also Public Libraries Bulletin No. 6, and embodies the report of the Public Libraries Division for 1896, including statistics of New York libraries.

The Bulletin of the Department of Labor for September, 1897, contains articles on the inspection of factories and workshops in the United States; the mutual rights and duties of parents and children; the municipal or co-operative restaurant of Grenoble, France; digests of recent reports of five State Bureaus of Labor Statistics and of recent foreign statistical publications; decisions of courts affecting labor; and recent State laws relating to labor.

The Report of the Chief of the Weather Bureau for the year ending June 30, 1896, besides the usual meteorological tables and related matter for the year, briefly treats of new work undertaken with a view of improving the bureau service, special improvements made during the year, and the preparation and distribution of forecasts and warnings. Noticeable features are the paragraphs about observations with kites and international cloud observations, and the paper, illustrated with charts, on tornadoes since 1889.

To their Library of Useful Stories D. Appleton and Company add The Story of the Earth's Atmosphere (price, 40 cents), in which the author, Douglas Archibald, of the Royal Meteorological Society, London, seeks to put forward the main features of our knowledge of the conditions that prevail in the atmosphere as they are interpreted through the science of to-day. He has written not for the minority, who vaguely wonder at the relation of extraordinary facts and pass on, but for the more numerous class who, besides the facts, want to know the reason why. In successive chapters he presents briefly in clear style the different qualities, phenomena, and operations of the atmosphere, including precipitation, storms, sounds, and colors, and devotes a chapter to flight and another to life in the atmosphere. The latest developments of exploration by kites are explained.

The Report of the Commissioner of Education for 1895-'96, besides the usual departmental information and national and State statistics, contains many papers of value and interest; among which we mention those on laws relating to city school boards, education in various European and South American countries, schools in certain Middle and Southern States during the first half of the century (by A. D. Mayo), music in German schools, libraries and library legislation, the Fifth International Prison Congress, Jewish schools two thousand years ago, correlation of studies, a biography and bibliography of Horace Mann, and an article that savors much of old times and is, withal, very entertaining, on early educational life in middle Georgia.

  1. The Story of the Cowboy. By E. Hough. (Story of the West Series.) New York: D. Appleton and Company. Pp. 349. Price, $1.50.
  2. The Principles of Fruit Growing. By. L.H. Bailey. New York: The Macmillan Company. Pp. 507. Price, $1.25.
  3. The Diseases of Infancy and Childhood. By L. Emmett Holt, M.D. New York: D. Appleton and Company. Pp. 1117. Price, $6.00.
  4. The New Psychology. By E.W. Scripture. Illustrated. Charles Scribner's Sons. Pp. 500. Price, $1.25.
  5. Introduction to the Study of Economics. By Charles Jesse Bullock. Boston, New York, and Chicago: Silver, Burdett & Co. Pp. 571. Price, $1.28.
  6. The Concise Knowledge Library: National History. By R. Lydekker, R. Bowdler Sharpe, W.F. Kirby, W. Garstang, B.B. Woodward, F. A. Bather, R. Kirkpatrick, H.M. Bernard, and R. I. Pocock. New York: D. Appleton and Company. Pp. 771. Price, $2.
  7. Sight. An Exposition of the Principles of Monocular and Binocular Vision. By Joseph Le Conte. New York: D. Appleton and Company. Pp. 318. Price, $1.50.