Among the riches of The Research Libraries is an enormous collection of pre-1920 illustrated zoologies from Europe and the Americas. Not generally well known, these impressive holdings are comparable to those in specialized natural history libraries. However, they do not comprise a discrete collection, but are distributed among various units of the Library, chiefly the department previously known as the Science and Technology Research Center (now part of the Science, Industry and Business Library), the George Arents Collection of Books in Parts, the Rare Books Division, the Stuart Collection, and the General Research Division.
Illustrated zoologies are both scientific documents and repositories of examples of reproductive printmaking before photomechanical processes became the primary method of producing book illustrations. These woodcuts and wood engravings, metal plate engravings, and lithographs constitute an enormous body of art. With the exception of the colorful prints of artists such as John James Audubon, Mark Catesby, and John Gould, this art is familiar mostly to specialists. Gross's bibliography was devoted to a selection of 201 of the most important and interesting titles, representing only a very small percentage of the Library's total holdings in natural history.
Historiae naturalis de quadrupetibus libri is a work of John Jonston (in Polish, Jan Jonston; in Latin, Joannes Jonstonus; Szamotuły, 15 September 1603 – 1675, Legnica), a Polish scholar and physician, descended from Scottish nobility. Historiae naturalis de quadrupedibus libri, cum aeneis figuris, Johannes Jonstonus,... concinnavit was published by J. J. Schipperi, Amsterdam in 1657