Columbia Biological Series, 1894-1974

Columbia Biological Series logo. One of five different logos used for the series.
This is part of the Columbia Biological Series. Modified CBS logo as it appears on Wilson (1896) and Osborn (1902 second edition). WILSON, E. B., 1896. The cell in development and inheritance. OSBORN, H. F., 1902. From the Greeks to Darwin: an outline of the development of the evolution idea. Second edition.

The Columbia Biological Series (1894–1974) was produced by the Department of Biology (later Zoology) of Columbia University, New York, and spanned a wide range of topics within the biological sciences. This paper provides a bibliography for the twenty-five volumes of this series together with basic details on the launch (1894), re-launch (1937), and history of the series. The series receives attention from historians of biology principally as the source for canonical texts in the synthesis period of evolutionary studies (evolutionary synthesis), with publications by Dobzhansky (1937), Mayr (1942), Simpson (1944), and Stebbins (1950). This note provides additional details on the publication history of these volumes. Synthesis historians, myself included, have poorly appreciated how the production of this series fit into efforts to promote Columbia University as a major centre for innovative biological research. We also have poorly understood the relations between these books and the Jesup lecture series, an irregular event sponsored by the department at Columbia. Tracing the series’ publication history speaks to both these topics.

In 2001, I published a complete bibliography for the series:

  • Cain, Joe. 2001. The Columbia Biological Series, 1894-1974: a bibliographic note. Archives of Natural History 28: 353-366. DOI: 10.3366/anh.2001.28.3.353.

The list of books in the series is presented below. Additional information, and analysis, appears in the paper.

During the research, I uncovered evidence to show Dunn developed the idea to revive the Columbia Biological Series after lectures delivered in 1936 by Theodosius Dobzhansky. Importantly, these were not Jesup Lectures at the time, but that attribution was given to the derive after they were delivered. In essence, Dunn co-opted Dobzhansky as a tool for reviving the series and asserting a modernising image of biology at Columbia University in the late 1930s.

  • Cain, Joe. 2002. Co-opting colleagues: appropriating Dobzhansky’s 1936 lectures at Columbia. Journal of the history of biology 35: 207-219. DOI: 10.1023/A:1016008821530.

My related publications are listed on the publications page.

Columbia Biological Series spines for books
Figure 1: Columbia Biological Series spines for books. Appears as Figure 1 in Cain (2001). Caption reads: “Figure 1: Logos for the Columbia [University] Biological Series. (A) Original CBS logo, appearing on Osborn (1894) and Dean (1895), then reused for Dobzhansky (1937), Northrop (1939) and the first printing of Dobzhansky (1941 second edition); (B) Modified CBS logo on cover of Wilson (1896) and Osborn (1905 second edition). (C) Modified CBS logo appearing on volumes 6–10 and Wilson (1900 second edition); (D) Modified CBS logo appearing—following complaints about an error in the chromosome pattern during mitosis in original logo—on spines of Mayr (1942), Simpson (1944), second and third printings (both in 1947) of Dobzhansky (1941 second edition), and early printings of Stebbins (1950); (E) Modified CBS logo appearing only on Cohen (1968). No logos appear on CBS volumes 4 (third edition), 5, 14, 17–23, and 25.” Cain (2001) is Cain, Joe. 2001. The Columbia Biological Series, 1894-1974: a bibliographic note. Archives of Natural History 28: 353-366. DOI: 10.3366/anh.2001.28.3.353.

Columbia Biological Series

Volumes 1–10 are identified as “Columbia University Biological Series”; others are “Columbia Biological Series”. Series editors included: Henry Fairfield Osborn (vols. 1-4); Osborn and Edmund Beecher Wilson (vols. 5-10), Leslie C. Dunn (vols. 11-21); thereafter the editorial board functioned without a general editor. The order here is by volume number, 1-25. First editions are given in citation, additional details in notes. Reprintings are not listed; some foreign translations are identified by the year of publication. Publisher names are as given on title pages.

  1. OSBORN, H. F., 1894 From the Greeks to Darwin: an outline of the development of the evolution idea. New York and London: Macmillan and Co. Pp x, 259.
    Notes: Second edition is 1902 adding a Columbia University Press imprint, Pp x, 259; Charles Scribner’s Sons (New York) edition is 1924, Pp x, 259.
  2. WILLEY, A., 1894 Amphioxus and the ancestry of the vertebrates. New York and London: Macmillan and Co. Pp xiv, 316.
  3. DEAN, B., 1895 Fishes, living and fossil: an outline of their forms and probable relationships. New York and London: Macmillan and Co. Pp xiv, 300.
  4. WILSON, E. B., 1896 The cell in development and inheritance. New York and London: The Macmillan Company. Pp xvi, 371.
    Notes: Second edition “revised and enlarged” is 1900, Pp xxi, 483; Third edition “revised and enlarged” is 1925, Pp xxxvii, 1232 with a title change to The cell in development and heredity and no reference to CBS; facsimile of 1896 edition in 1966 with introduction by Hermann J. Muller, Johnson Reprint Corporation (New York and London), Pp xxxviii, 371.
  5. BROOKS, W. K., 1899 The foundations of zoölogy: a course of lectures delivered at Columbia University on the principles of science as illustrated by zoölogy. New York and London: The Macmillan Company “for The Columbia University Press”. Pp viii, 339.
    Notes: OCLC falsely lists the second edition of Findlay (1904–1938) as volume 5 in the CBS.
    FINDLAY, A., 1904–1938 The phase rule and its applications. London: Longmans and Co.
  6. CALKINS, G. N., 1901 The protozoa. New York and London: The Macmillan Co. Pp xvi, 347.
  7. MORGAN, T. H., 1901 Regeneration. New York and London: The Macmillan Co. Pp xii, 316.
  8. LOEB, J., 1906 The dynamics of living matter. New York and London: The Columbia University Press. Pp xi, 233.
  9. WHEELER, W. M., 1910 Ants: their structure, development, and behavior. New York: The Columbia University Press. Pp xxv, 663.
  10. JENNINGS, H. S., 1906 Behavior of the lower organisms. New York and London: Columbia University Press. Pp xiv, 366.
    Notes: Reprinted in 1962 with an introduction by Donald Jensen for Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN). Pp xxi, 366; also reprinted in 1976 with a new foreword by Ching Kung for Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN). Pp xxviii, 366.
  11. DOBZHANSKY, T. G., 1937 Genetics and the origin of species. New York: Columbia University Press. Pp xvi, 364.
    Notes: Second edition “revised” is 1941, Pp xviii, 446; Third edition “revised” is 1951, Pp xi, 364; Columbia Paperback edition is 1964; “Columbia classics in evolution” facsimile edition is 1982 with an introduction by S. J. Gould, Pp xli, 364. Dobzhansky (1970) begun as a fourth edition. Foreign language translations: German 1939, Spanish 1955. As an anti-Soviet, no Russian translation.
  12. NORTHROP, J. H., 1939 Crystalline enzymes: the chemistry of pepsin, trypsin and bacteriophage. New York: Columbia University Press. Pp xv, 176.
    Notes: Second edition is 1948, Pp xxi, 352, with J. H. Northrop, M. Kunitz, and R. M. Herriott as authors. Northrop died in 1947.
  13. MAYR, E., 1942 Systematics and the origin of species: from the view point of a zoologist. New York: Columbia University Press. Pp xiv, 334.
    Notes: Dover paperback edition is 1964 with new introduction by Mayr, Pp xviii, 334; “Columbia classics in evolution” facsimile edition is 1982 with an introduction by N. Eldredge, Pp xxxvii, 334. Mayr (1963) is replacement. Harvard University Press’s 1999 reprint includes an “Introduction, 1999” by Mayr (1999 [1942]) and uses the complete, original title of the book. Foreign language translations: 1947. Surprisingly, no German translation.
  14. SCHRADER, F., 1944 Mitosis: the movements of chromosomes in cell division. New York: Columbia University Press. Pp x, 110.
    Notes: Second edition is 1953, Pp xii, 170.
  15. SIMPSON, G. G., 1944 Tempo and mode in evolution. New York: Columbia University Press. Pp xiii, 237.
    Notes: 1965 facsimile edition for Hafner Publishing Co. (New York); “Columbia classics in evolution” facsimile edition is 1984 with an re-introduction by Simpson, Pp xxx, 237. Simpson (1953) is replacement. Foreign language translations: Russian 1948, French 1950, German 1951.
  16. STEBBINS, G. L., Jr., 1950 Variation and evolution in plants. New York: Columbia University Press. Pp xx, 643.
    Notes: Foreign language translations: Indian 1950, Chinese 1963, Spanish 1989.
  17. SIMPSON, G. G., 1953 The major features of evolution. New York: Columbia University Press. Pp xx, 434.
    Notes: Simon and Schuster (New York) edition is 1967.
  18. PONTECORVO, G., 1958 Trends in genetic analysis. New York: Columbia University Press. Pp x, 145.
  19. RENSCH, B., 1959 Evolution above the species level. New York: Columbia University Press. Pp xvii, 419.
    Notes: Translated from second edition of Rensch, B., 1947 Neuere Probleme der Abstammungslehre: die Transspezifische Evolution. Stuttgart: Ferdinand Enke Verlag. Pp vii, 407. Second edition “Zweite, stark veränderte Auflage” is 1954, Pp xi, 436. Translator into English is Rudolf Altevogt. Also published in 1959 by Methuen and Co. (London); Science Edition (New York) paperback is 1966.
  20. SIMPSON, G. G., 1961 Principles of animal taxonomy. New York and London: Columbia University Press. Pp xii, 247.
  21. WADDINGTON, C. H., 1962 New patterns in genetics and development. New York and London: Columbia University Press. Pp xv, 271.
    Notes: Columbia Paperback edition is 1966.
  22. INGRAM, V. M., 1963 The hemoglobins in genetics and evolution. New York: Columbia University Press. Pp xi, 165.
  23. SCHARRER, E. and SCHARRER, B. V., 1963 Neuroendocrinology. New York and London: Columbia University Press. Pp xiv, 289.
  24. COHEN, S. S., 1968 Virus-induced enzymes. New York: Columbia University Press. Pp xxii, 315.
  25. LEWONTIN, R. C., 1974 The genetic basis of evolutionary change. New York and London: Columbia University Press. Pp xiii, 346.

 

Columbia University Department of Zoology Staff c1940
Figure: Columbia University Department of Zoology Staff c1940. CC BY NC

 

Editorial Board for Columbia Biological Series

The Columbia Biological Series ran with Dunn as editor and members of the department serving on the editorial board. Duties do not appear to have been onerous. Dunn worked closely with Columbia University Press, especially in the early days of his revival of the series.

 

Columbia University Department of Zoology Staff 1954
Columbia University Department of Zoology Staff 1954. Handwritten names in margins are present on archival copy of this image, identifying members of staff. CC BY NC
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