Monday, July 22, 2013

The Book of Fishes

The State House's own Hall of Representatives gets a shout-out in National Geographic's The Book of Fishes, from 1924. The introduction features a photograph of the Sacred Cod of Massachusetts, which hangs above the chamber in a tradition dating to 1784.

The Book of Fishes covers one hundred species of marine life, including lobsters, turtles, and dolphins. The proper fishes are illustrated in over ninety color plates, painted from life for the National Geographic Society.

The book is intended for the veteran fisherman as well as the amateur ichthyologist. It covers everything from the manner in which male lumpfish protect their eggs before hatching, to the process of commercial fish-drying in Nova Scotia, to the reason why fish have spherical eyes (apparently because they are close in density to the surrounding water). The State Library is full of unexpected treasures!

Brian Hoefling