A "Holzbibliothek" is a "wooden library." A library of wooden books. Literally.

HolzbuchIn the late 18th century, Carl Schildbach was manager of a German estate famous for its ornamental park.  He had no formal academic or scientific training, but at the request of his employer began compiling a reference collection of the natural history of each type of tree and shrub in the estate, eventually totalling 546 items...
“The format… was that of a box or casket, the raw materials for which were provided by the specimen itself, made up in the form of a book – varying in size from folio to duodecimo – with the ‘front cover’ forming a sliding lid…

For the left side of the ‘volume’ mature wood was selected and for the right side sapwood, while the fore-edge was made from heartwood; the top surface incorporated cross-sections from branches of various ages while the bottom surface showed a section through the trunk…

While the box itself served to illustrate the characteristics of the timber, the interior was reserved for an exposition of the whole natural history of the plant… a complete seedling is included to one side, with its roots, seminal capsule and first pair of leaves.  In the centre of the box the tip of a branch displays buds and leaves in various stages of development…blossoms are shown varying from full blooms to faded flowers, while fruits are similarly represented at every stage in their development… Examples of associated parasites and lichens are included…”

The empress Catherine tried to purchase Schildbach’s collection, but he deeded it to his master, Landgrave Wilhelm IX; it now resides in the Naturalienkabinett in Kassel, where it is still used as reference material.  Schildbach inspired several imitators, including Candid Huber, a Benedictine monk, whose collection survives in the Bavarian Burgmuseum.  Peter the Great eventually acquired a collection for his Kunstkamera in St. Petersburg, and another resides in the Musee National des Techniques of the Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers in Paris.

The cited text above is excerpted from Chapter IV (“Museums and the Natural World”) in Curiosity and Enlightenment: Collectors and Collections from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century, by Arthur MacGregor (Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, 2007) - a comprehensive history of cabinets of curiosities, museums, and specialized collections.

Small-format photos of Schildbach’s collection are available at the webpage of the Naturkundemuseum in the Ottoneum at Kassel.  The embedded photo is from a similar Holzbuch in a collection at the Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe.  Other examples may be seen here and here.  The creation of such "wooden books" seems to have been primarily a European endeavor; a related project by Romeyn B. Hough collecting North American woods in book form (using thin sections of wood attached to cardboard within a conventional book binding) was produced at the turn of the last century.

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This is great. If more work like this had been done in the U.S. we may have made improvements on the growth of our lumber, fruit and nut supply. This likely would have given us more crops and more resistant trees.
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