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Thomas Meehan was an Englishman, trained at Kew, who moved to Germantown Pennsylvania in 1853, where he spent the rest of his life running a nursery and editing various periodicals. He was the Editor of The Gardener's Monthly.Together with well known artist-printer Louis Prang, they published The Native Flowers and Ferns of the United States in 1878.This is Meehan's masterwork, and one of the leading authorities on ferns in America. It is also a notable 19th century American color plate book, issued by Louis Prang of Boston, the leading chromolithographer of the period.TAXONOMIC LITERATURE 5783. McGRATH, pp145-46. BENNRTT, p.75.

"Mr. Prang was the first to apply…the designation of 'chromos' to this type of colored lithograph (Oxford English Dictionary, quoting Printing Times, London Jan 15, 1875). In 1876 he established a model printing establishment in Roxbury, where, in addition to reproducing his "chromos," he employed the printing craft as a subsidiary to art in various other ways. He devised appropriately decorated Christmas cards which he first sold in England and then in 1875 put on the American market. DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY p.165.

In his PREFACE TO SERIES II which was produced two years after the first series Meehan wrote:" Not the least among the author's gratifications is the complimentary manner in which the work has been received by his botanical associates. It was a task rarely attempted, to bring exact botanical knowledge to a level with popular comprehension -to give it a place among a great variety of the more cultivated branches of knowledge,-and, above all, to accommodate such a work to the popular purse. That this could be successfully accomplished the author had the courage to hope, but he was scarcely prepared for the cordiality with which eminent men of science have received this people's work as an acceptable contribution to scientific literature. Amongst these the author has especially to make his acknowledgments to Professor Asa Gray, who in " Silliman's Journal of the Arts and Sciences' '' for May, 1879, compares the drawings not unfavorably with those of Mr. Sprague, who for many years has been at the head of botanical drawing in this country. Considering the very low price at which this work is supplied, the fact that Professor Gray should have been led to compare it with the best and most expensive botanical work in our country, must be accepted as very high praise."THOMAS MEEHAN. Germantown, Philadelphia, May, 1879

 Louis Prang was well known as an artist and his lithographs are highly collectable .

SERIES ONE - VOLUMES I and II - 1879

SERIES TWO - VOLUMES III and IV - 1880

 


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