From Alchemy to Chemistry:
Five Hundred Years of Rare and Interesting Books

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rare Book Room Exhibit

YOUMANS, EDWARD LIVINGSTON (1821 - 1887). Chemical Atlas; or, the Chemistry of Familiar Objects: Exhibiting the General Principles of the Science in a Series of Beautifully Colored Diagrams, and Accompanied by Explanatory Essays, Embracing the Latest View of the Subjects Illustrated. New York, 1857.

Youman's Chemical Atlas is a remarkable example of mid-19th century American scientific book printing in which the elements and principles of chemistry are represented by colored diagrams and symbols. Differing compounds are depicted with red, brown, and black printed blocks, finished by hand, resulting in a striking and effective display of information. The Atlas was a pioneering publication in the use of color to convey quantitative information. It is reminiscent of the famous Byrne Euclid published just seven years earlier in England and it is quite possible that Youmans, a leading American interpreter and educator of scientific knowledge, was influenced by it. This beautiful book is scarce and little known.

Edwin V. Glaser Rare Books, Catalog 143, 404; Nat. Cycl. of Am. Biog., vol 2, p466; Reese, Nineteenth Century American Color Plate Books, 82.

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