Book Id: 51634 Birds of the Maltese archipelago + autograph letter signed. David Bannerman, J. A. Vella-Gaffiero.

Birds of the Maltese archipelago + autograph letter signed

Publisher Information: Valletta, Malta: Museums Dept. 1976.

Bannerman, David A. (1886-1979). (1) Autograph letter signed to an unidentified correspondent. 4pp. on 2 sheets. N.p., n.d. [ca. 1976]. 211 x 148 mm. Small ink smear on last page. Laid into:

(2) Bannerman and Joseph A. Vella-Gaffiero. Birds of the Maltese archipelago. Foreword by Dom Mintoff. xix, [3], 550pp. 22 plates, folding map, text illustrations. Valletta [Malta]: Museums Department, 1976. 230 x 155 mm. Original cloth, dust-jacket (slightly worn and soiled). Together 2 items. Very good to fine.

An excellent letter from the noted British ornithologist, author of numerous definitive works on the birds of Europe, Africa and the Atlantic islands. The letter is laid into the above-listed First Edition copy of Bannerman’s Birds of the Maltese Archipelago, a work that contains the first full description of the hundreds of different species of birds recorded in the Maltese islands and stresses the crucial role the Maltese archipelago plays in bird migration between Europe and Africa.

Bannerman’s letter bears no salutation but is complete, as the second leaf is numbered “2”; it was undoubtedly written to the recipient of this copy. The letter contains intriguing details about the book’s publication and reception:

"You may be interested in the photograph inside the cover of this volume [not present], which was sent to me by Francis Mallia, Director of Malta’s museums. It shows Dom Mintoff [Prime Minister of Malta] reading the inscription which I wrote when he was presented with a copy of my book . . .

"The foreword by Mintoff (the first he has ever written I am told) may also interest you. As a Vice-President of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (England), I had stressed in these pages the importance of more government protection for the migratory birds which pass through Malta en route to Africa to winter and receive abominable treatment at the hands of ignorant Maltese farmers. Mintoff has expressed his views—and my opinion—very forcefully in his foreword. This book which I was invited to write by some resident members of the Malta Ornithological Society for which they had raised a substantial sum to pay for the publication, among themselves, was finally take over as an official Museums Dept. publication & the entire cost of publication authorized by Dr. Cossar & Mintoff on behalf of Government . . .

"The Secretary of the M.O.S. opposed the publication as he was secretly writing a book himself which he never divulged to me & which you all have. It’s quite good in its way, but the jealousy displayed by the authors Saltana [sic] & Co. did them no credit. They even got a member to raise in their parliament why a “foreigner” (!) had been permitted to write a book on Malta’s birds . . ."

Dom Mintoff (1916-2012) was Prime Minister of Malta from 1971 to 1984. “Saltana” refers to Maltese ornithologist Joe Sultana (1939-2018), author of Guide to the Birds of Malta (1975).

Book Id: 51634

Price: $475.00