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Vintage, Technical, and pre-Book Service N.G.S. books ~ c. 1895 - 1956


Vintage, Technical, and pre-Book Service N.G.S. books ~ c. 1895 - 1956

Once upon a time, the Society did not have a formal or structured book department or staff (hard to believe now!) ... the early years there were 'accidental' books, either by chance or favor. Some various monographs and myriad scientific reports made their way to publication with hard covers. Essentially, the popular book releases started with 1907's Scenes From Every Land, followed with a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th edition (e.g., 1909, 1912, 1918). 

From there, NGS's books were mostly nicely hardbound reprints of either:  A} in-demand articles from NGM , or,  B} were compilation volumes of multiple articles on a common topic --again from NGM itself.

Here n' there, were larger, original works by persons associated with some research or expedition sponsored or supported by the Society.

Such titles that fall within this group's purview would be thus:

  • Book of Monsters,
  • Valley of the 10,000 Smokes,
  • Alaskan Glacier Studies,
  • Physiography of the United States,
  • Book of Birds (pick a version!),
  • Book of Dogs,
  • Indians of North America,
  • Book of Fishes (pick one),
  • Flags of the World, 
  • Hunting Wild Life with Camera & Flashlight,
  • ...and much more!


   ~ Scott S. 

Members: 10
Latest Activity: Dec 28, 2022

Discussion Forum

Book or Article Reprint? 3 Replies

Book or Article Reprint?I recently acquired a copy of Insignia and Decorations of the U. S. Armed Forces, Revised Edition, December 1, 1944. This is a 208-page compilation of several articles from…Continue

Started by George Thomas Wilson. Last reply by Larry Moffett Mar 27, 2022.

Some Comments and Questions Re: "The Physiography of the United States" (1896) 4 Replies

The Physiography of the United States (1896)As I had commented in this group before, I am in possession of a copy of the compilation, "The Physiography of the United States".  While the book was…Continue

Started by George Thomas Wilson. Last reply by George Thomas Wilson Feb 10, 2022.

Comment Wall

Comment by George Thomas Wilson on December 10, 2014 at 9:24am


While not being a book collector, I do have "Physiography of the United States".  Some of the other books do look interesting.


Comment by Scott T. Shier on December 11, 2014 at 7:35pm

It was my desire for a long time to start sharing photos of these books and to highlight each one's best attributes and perhaps offer some comments or observations. Well, finally got a group created, so one thing at a time...

Comment by Jefferey R. Parker on January 21, 2016 at 4:18pm

Back in 1972 I became a member of the Society, and still are, over the years I've accumulated the magazines from 1914 to present, with the majority in NG slipcases.  Only missing 40 copies between then and 1922.  When it became more difficult to fill in the missing editions, I became more aware of the books published by the society and began collecting them with a current inventory of 342 books. The range of my acquirements are from 1958 to 2009. In a past edition of the magazine I had read an article in reference to a book compiled by Roger E. Nathan titled Collectibles of the National Geographic Society. I made contact only to be informed the Mr. Nathan had passed away and while conversing with his wife I made know my desire to obtain a copy of the book.  She sent me the book before she received my check.

Nathans books contents are; Magazines, Maps, Pictorials and their respective supplements; Technical and Other Publications, Other Books, Atlases, Globes, and Indexes; School Bulletins, Recordings and Television, and more.

Scott, do you know of this book? If not, it was published by Serendipity Press in1982.  The book was not sold in book stores, it was available only by writing the publisher. Serendipity Press, Building C, Suite 102,3801 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, De 19807.

I hope this book might still be available to any of us who desire it. Although it ended with 1982 with its publications, it sure would be a challenge for someone to follow up what Roger started.

Comment by Philip Riviere on January 21, 2016 at 7:18pm


Most of us collectors are very familiar with and have a copy of Nathan's book. Along with Buxbaum's " Collectors Guide To The National Geographic Magazine" Nathan's book is a valuable resource we all use. E-Bay has copies of Nathan's book available from time to time.


Comment by Jefferey R. Parker on January 22, 2016 at 10:15am

Thank you Phillip for informing me on Buxbaums book. I shall get me a copy.

Comment by Scott T. Shier on January 26, 2016 at 12:07am

Welcome to the group Jeff, and thank-you for sharing this item and your thoughts. I echo Phil's remarks & feedback to you.

Meanwhile, yes I do own a copy of it. It is a most-excellent resource, in spite of it's vintage. May I also call attention to Don Smith (now deceased) . . . as he had compiled a lot of info. and printed his own guides between 1975 and 1996.

It is easy to board a run-away train and start amassing an NGS book collection for sure! I have many many myself, so I am sure our book collections have much overlap.

** and, that was very gracious of Mrs. Nathan to forward the book to you en gratis, so to speak.

~ Scott S.

Comment by Jefferey R. Parker on January 26, 2016 at 12:07pm

Being that I've been snow bound this week I've retreated from my work shop to my den and reviewed my collection.  Nathan's book has been extremely helpful in my searching  and Buxbaum's guide I have yet to obtain.  Scott, you had mentioned the works of Don Smith and the printing of his guide. Is it a published work and if so what title does it go by?  Nathan's book ends in 1982, does Buxbaums and/or Smiths guide cover more recent editions?


Comment by George Thomas Wilson on January 26, 2016 at 1:19pm


I believe the newest Buxbaum guide is dated 1971.

Don Smith's newest is 1996.  It appears hand typed and not as "professional" looking as Buxbaum's or Nathan's.

Another collector here at the 'Corner, Jeffry Persons, has one of Nathan's guides copyrighted 2000.  I've already had him look up a citation in it for a map I was researching.

I'm sure he'd answer any questions you have about it.

Tom Wilson

Comment by Scott T. Shier on January 26, 2016 at 1:40pm

Sadly, Buxbaum's last edition was c. 1971, inclusive of 1970 material from NGS, and then that's the cut-off. It would have been really awesome if he had been able to do like a 1989 edition, to cover everything through the Centennial year '88.

Buxbaum's actual editions were as thus:

Collecting National Geographic Magazines , 1935 (small quarto s/c, 3k print run) ;

The Collector's Guide to the National Geographic Magazine , 1956 (slim h/c book, 1k print run) ; 

The Collector's Guide to the National Geographic Magazine , 1962 (updated, more pages ed. h/c , 1,500 print run) ;

The Collector's Guide to the National Geographic Magazine , 1971 (enlarged size format, many more pages ; 2,100 print run + 50 special ltd. copies)

*the last 3 each had sturdy slipcases. 

Nathan had the 1982 hardcover w/ DJ ; he had an extensive updated database and files  that he was hoping to publish as an updated edition, but that never materialized. He passed in 2005. There is a master file copy of these .docs that Tom is referring to, above. 

Then, Don Smith:

National Geographic Magazine: For Collectors

Vol. 1, No. 1 - 1975

Vol. 1, No. 2 - 1978

Vol. 1, No. 3 - 1985 ; revised 1988

Vol. 1 , No. 4 - 1992

Vol. II, No. 1 1996 

These are like 30+-55 page booklets, sized and shape like an NGM. They have soft paper covers, and Mr. Smith did hand illustrations to embellish sections and title pages. The text is is copied from hand type-written pages ; these were not formal published books from a book publisher, that is.

I had a copy of the 1988 edition but sold it to another collector; I only have the 1996 ed. now. As for Buxbaum, I own the 1935 and 1971 editions, never owned the 1962 ed., and had gifted my 1956 copy to a friend some years back. 

I can add some pictures of this Don Smith item later (I had a photo & scan file but that was lost).

   ~ Scott

Comment by Scott T. Shier on January 26, 2016 at 1:41pm


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