This installment of the University of Idaho Library Special Collections and Archives Cover to Cover blog series features one of the most unique books in our rare books collection: American Woods by Romeyn Beck Hough. This 14 volume set is a collection of more than 1000 paper-thin wood samples representing more than 350 varieties of North American trees.
In addition to the specimens, Hough also provided information about the characteristics, growth habits, medicinal properties and commercial possibilities of the tree. Hough had originally planned a 15 volume set for the work but died in 1923 having only completed 13 volumes. His daughter, using Hough’s own field notes and wood samples, published a final 14th volume in 1928.