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47/ 1898









T some time or other in the life of every healthy young per

son there appears to be developed what has been styled "the collecting mania." Whether this tendency is due to the natural acquisitiveness of the human race, to an innate appreciation of the beautiful and the curious, or to the development of an instinct such as is possessed by the bower-bird, the magpie, and the crow, which have the curious habit of gathering together and storing away trifles which are bright and attractive to the eye, I leave to students of the mind to decide. The fact is patent that there is no village without its youthful enthusiast whose collection of postage-stamps is dear to his heart, and no town in which there are not amateur geologists, archæologists, botanists, and zoologists, who are eagerly bent upon the formation of collections of such objects as possess an attraction for them.

One of the commonest pursuits of boyhood is the formation of a collection of insects. The career of almost every naturalist of renown has been marked in its early stages by a propensity to collect these lower, yet most interesting and instructive, forms of animal life. Among the insects, because of their beauty, butterflies have always held a foremost place in the regard of the amateur collector. For the lack, however, of suitable instruction in the art of preserving specimens, and, above all, by reason of the almost entire lack of a convenient and well-illus. trated manual, enabling the collector to identify, name, and properly classify the collections which he is making, much of the labor expended in this direction in the United States and Canada fails to accomplish more than the furnishing of temporary recreation. It is otherwise in Europe.

It is otherwise in Europe. Manuals, comprehensive in scope, and richly adorned with illustrations of the

leading insect forms of Great Britain and the Continent, have been produced in great numbers in recent years in England, France, and Germany. The result is that the youthful collector enters the field in those countries in the possession of a vast advantage over his less fortunate American fellow. It is to meet this want on this side of the Atlantic that this volume has been written. Its aim is to guide the amateur collector in right paths and to prepare him by the intelligent accomplishment of his labors for the enjoyment of still wider and more difficult researches in this and allied fields of human knowledge. The work is confined to the fauna of the continent of North America north of the Rio Grande of Texas. It is essentially popular in its character. Those who seek a more technical treatment must resort to the writings of others.

If I shall succeed in this book in creating a more wide-spread interest in the world of insect life and thereby diverting attention in a measure from the persecuted birds, which I love, but which are in many species threatened with extinction by the too eager attentions which they are receiving from young naturalists, who are going forth in increased numbers with shot-gun in hand, I think I shall render a good service to the country.

I flatter myself that I have possessed peculiar facilities for the successful accomplishment of the undertaking I have proposed to myself, because of the possession of what is admitted to be undoubtedly the largest and most perfect collection of the butterflies of North America in existence, containing the types of W. H. Edwards, and many of those of other authors. I have also enjoyed access to all the other great collections of this country and Europe, and have had at my elbow the entire literature relating to the subject.

The successful development in recent months of the process of reproducing in colors photographic representations of objects has been to a certain degree the argument for the publication of this book at the present time. A few years ago the preparation of such a work as this at the low price at which it is sold would have been an utter impossibility. “The Butterflies of North America," by W. H. Edwards, published in three volumes, is sold at one hundred and fifty dollars, and, as I know, is sold even at this price below the cost of manufacture. “The Butterflies of New England,” by Dr. S. H. Scudder, in three volumes, is sold at seventy-five dollars, and likewise represents at this price only a partial return to the learned author for the money, labor, and time expended upon it. The present volume, while not pretending to vie in any respect with the magnificence of the illustrations contained in these beautiful and costly works, nevertheless presents in recognizable form almost every species figured in them, and in addition a multitude of others, many of which have never before been delineated. So far as possible I have employed, in making the illustrations, the original types from which the author of the species drew his descriptions. This fact will no doubt add greatly to the value of the work, as it will not only serve as a popular guide, but have utility also for the scientific student.

I am under obligations to numerous friends and correspondents who have aided me, and take the present opportunity to extend to them all my hearty thanks for the generous manner in which they have assisted me in my pleasant task. I should fail, however, to follow the instincts of a grateful heart did I not render an especial acknowledgment to Mr. W. H. Edwards, of Coalburg, West Virginia, and Dr. Samuel H. Scudder, of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Justly esteemed as the two foremost lepidopterists of America, it is my honor to claim them as personal friends, whose kindness has much aided me in this labor of scientific love which I have undertaken. For the kind permission given me by Dr. Scudder to use various illustrations contained in the “Butterflies of New England” and other works, I am profoundly grateful.

I am under obligations to Messrs. Charles Scribner's Sons for permission to use the cuts numbered 46–49, 51-56, 59, 61, 62, and 73, which are taken from the work entitled "Taxidermy and Zoological Collecting," by W. T. Hornaday, and to the authorities of the United States National Museum and the heirs of the late Professor C. V. Riley for other illustrations.

Should this book find the favor which I have reason to think it deserves, I shall endeavor shortly to follow it by the preparation of a similar work upon the moths of the United States and Canada.

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W. J. H.


August 16, 1898.

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