Library of 19th Century Science
H.M.S. Challenger Library

This digital library is prepared
and maintained by Dr. David C. Bossard.

Last Update 12 June 2008. All books posted on this site are now available as searchable PDF pages.

June 12, 2008

All of the books posted on are now available in two forms:

(1) Linked jpeg page images.
       These are the best choice for general browsing with most web browsers.
(2) Searchable pdf page images.
       These require a web browser that can view pdf pages, or alternatively
        download the pages for viewing with Acrobat Reader.
On-line search of the web site is planned but not yet available. However commercial search engines such as google will search the pdf pages; or,  you may purchase DVD copies and search them locally. The google search entry "" restricts search to this website.

The Library of 19th Century Science contains a number of books and reports written (mostly) in the 19th century. The books are available for direct viewing.

Fair Use.
You are encouraged to browse the listings and use this site as a library resource for your personal use. This includes downloading a single copy of a complete report for personal use. All materials are copyrighted, and all rights are reserved.

You may purchase your own DVD copy of the reports from the illustrated catalog, or make a modest contribution to help fund this work, which is done entirely by unpaid, voluntary help.

The illustrated catalog is perhaps the easiest way to get an overall view of the Challenger reports. It lists the contents with a small illustration, and includes a link to view the individual reports. Other means of access to the reports are listed below.

H.M.S. Challenger Library

H.M.S. Challenger
H.M.S. Challenger

The H.M.S. Challenger Expedition, conducted between 1873 and 1876 was the first and perhaps the most thoroughly documented expeditions devoted to the investigation of ocean physics and biology. All of the 80-odd Zoology and Botany reports published by the Expedition have been digitized and are available here for browsing.  The reports include some 30,000 pages of text and many thousands of illustrations.

Direct Access to the reports is through the Linked Index. An Illustrated Index is also provided, and can be accessed through the H.M.S. Challenger Library Entry Portal. but it is very large (over 30 Mb) because it includes many sample plates from the reports.

The Catalog of the H.M.S. Challenger Library also includes a complete list of the individual reports and collections available for purchase on CD or DVD.

The Challenger Medal, prepared by Glenn M. Stein, F.R.G.S. describes the medal awarded in 1895 to participants in the Challenger Voyage of Exploration.

Report on Deep Sea Deposits (1891) has been added to the library. This is Section III of the Challenger Reports.

You may search the H.M.S. Challenger Library here: (there may be a delay of up to several weeks to search newly posted items).

only search the H.M.S. Challenger Library

Featured Reports
Note: Links are viewable by most browsers

To inaugurate this web site, I am featuring Sclater's Report on the Birds, published in 1881.  This report is remarkable for its color plates.

Plate X

Ptilopus johannis, Male and Female,
from Plate X.

The Corals.  The following Challenger reports are devoted to the corals:

Zoology  7 VII: Report on Certain HYDROID, ALCYONARIAN, and MADREPORIAN CORALS.  By Professor H. N. Moseley, M.A., F.R.S., F.Z.S., F.L.S.
   Bound in Volume 2,1881. 248 pages with 32 plates.

plate 1
Hydrocorallinæ Stylasteridæ
Original -- Natural Size

Madreporaria -- Caryophyllia
Original -- Natural Size

Zoology  46 XLVI: Report on the REEF CORALS. By John J. Quelch, B.Sc. (Lond.).
   Bound in Volume 16,1886. 203 pages with 12 plates.

plate 1
Plate I. Stylophora, Pocillopora, Oculina
Original -- Natural Size

Plate VIII. Montipora, Rhodaræa
Original -- Natural Size

Zoology  64  LXIV: Report on the ALCYONARIA. By Professor E. Perceval Wright, M. A., M. D., Sec. M.R.I.A., and Professor Th. Studer, M.D.
   Bound in Volume 31,1889. 314+72 pages with 49 plates and 5 woodcuts.

plate 3
Plate III. Dasygorgia cupressa, n. sp.
Original -- Natural Size
Twigs -- Enlarged

Plate XXXVIB. Spongodes
Original -- Natural Size
Details -- Enlarged

Zoology  80  LXXX: Report on the ANTIPATHARIA. By George Brook, F.L.S.,  F.R.S.E.
   Bound in Volume 32,1889. 222+13 pages with 15 plates and 9 woodcuts.

plate 1
Plate I.  Antipathella, n. sp.
Original  -- Reduced 30% to 60%,

Plate III. Tylopathes, Aphanipathes
Original -- reduced 30-80%.
Details -- Enlarged

Zoology  81  LXXXI: Report on the ALCYONARIA (Supplement). By Professor Th.  Studer, M.D.
   Bound in Volume 32,1889. 31 pages with 6 plates.

plate 1
Plate I.  Siphonogorgia.
Original  -- Colony - Natural Size
Polyps - Enlarged.

Plate IV. Echinogorgia, Eunicea
Original -- (upper) Natural Size
Details -- Enlarged.

Contributions to the HMSC Library

This web site has been developed and is maintained by volunteers.

It is intended as a free library resource for individuals to browse and download.

As web usage shows the value of these postings, we plan to add more material for download.
You can "vote" by using the materials offered here and by making suggestions for inclusion
in the library.

If you desire particular items that are not currently available for download,
please contact the webmaster.

If you have access to a particular report or book related to the HMSC expedition, please let us

You can help us, and expand the materials available for download  by your purchases,
or by making a contribution to the HMSC Library.

If you have questions or suggestions please email Dr. Bossard through the webmaster.

Notice: This web site and all of the digitized documents available from this site are copyrighted by Dr. David C. Bossard. All Rights reserved. It is permissible to view and download single copies of the reports for personal use.

Last Update 12 June 2008.