One of the unsung treasures of the Krug Rare Books Room is a set of volumes that contain 1,054 paper thin wood samples of 354 species of North American trees. Romeyn Beck Hough began publishing The American Woods: exhibited by actual specimens and with copious explanatory text in 1888, and he completed 13 volumes before his death. His daughter Marjorie Galloway Hough published the fourteenth and final volume in 1928.
Some trees common at the time are now rare, making this set an extremely valuable scientific record. Hough invented and patented a specialized slicer to obtain the samples with the unlikely title of "Wooden Card for Business and Other Purposes." Obviously one important purpose was to obtain samples for his amazing record of North American trees!
If you are interested in viewing this unique set of books, call the Art, Music and Recreation Department at 414-286-3071 to arrange a visit.
Patricia DeFrain, Rare Books Librarian @ MPL Central