My M.S. thesis is on the evolution of wing pattern in basal moths, an subject that interested many researchers approximately 100 years ago. So for my literature review, I had to read various books and articles from the early 20th century.
The good news is that much of this literature is now freely available through websites such as Biodiversity Heritage Library, the Internet Archive, and Google Books. The bad news is that the quality of the PDFs can be quite low – the result of old, damaged paper being scanned, and/or low dpi of digital files. In order to make old literature easier to read, for myself and for others, I ran existing PDFs through FineReader, corrected them using Scrivener, and then produced PDFs in Microsoft Word.
At present, I have one PDF that is ready for download: the text of Maria von Linden’s Le dessin des ailes des lépidoptères: recherches sur son évolution dans l’ontogenèse et la phylogenèse des espèces son origine et sa valeur systématique, published in 1902. You can download the PDF by clicking on this link. It includes everything but the plates, which can be downloaded in their original form at this link. (In the United States of America – where I work, and where this site is hosted – Le dessin des ailes des lépidoptères is in the public domain. You can download the original version of this PDF at Biodiversity Heritage Library here.)
Here is the complete citation:
von Linden, M. 1902. “Le Dessin Des Ailes Des Lépidoptères: Recherches Sur Son Évolution Dans L’ontogenèse et La Phylogenèse Des Espèces Son Origine et Sa Valeur Systématique.” Annales Des Sciences Naturelles, Zoologie 8:(14): 1–196.
This document has a white background and generous line spacing, making it very easy to read. The page numbers of this document match the page numbers of the original publication, allowing for accurate citation of individual pages and easy comparison with the original. Because the file size of this document is much smaller than that of the original PDF, it can be easily shared and downloaded even at slow connection speeds.
This publication will be of interest to individuals who study the evolution of insect wing pattern, the history of evolutionary biology, and the history of women in science. You can read a bit more about von Linden’s work at this link.