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Helena or Helen in (Calypte) Mellisuga helenae ... in Spanish

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Old Monday 26th August 2013, 11:16   #1
Calalp
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Helena or Helen in (Calypte) Mellisuga helenae ... in Spanish

Here´s a real rarity in the Book World: Lembeye, J. Aves de la Isla de Cuba 1850. The first ornithological book of Cuba ...

It contains the type description of the smallest bird in the World: Bee Hummingbird (Calypte) Mellisuga helenae a k a "Helena's Calypte" or (in French); "Colibri d'Elena", "Colibri d'Helen", "Colibri d'Hélène". Lembeye himself called it " 'Zunzuncito' Orthorhynchus Helenæ".

Most sources claim that the name commemorates Helen Booth, wife of Charles Booth, but I (maybe over-cautious) want to be "on the safe side" ... Beolens/Watkins (2003) states that she was the wife of Gundlach!? I can see both names (below), but what does the text say itself?:

Quote:
”Agregamos á las especies conocidas una tercera muy parecida al Orthorhynchus Anna de Lesson, del que difiere por su menor tamaño y tintes azulosos del dorso. El Sr. D. Juan Gundlach, que hace mas de ocho años forma parte de la familia del Sr. D. Cárlos Booth, estimado coma la mas preciosa de sus adquisiciones esta nueva especie, la consagró en sus memorias á la señora esposa de este predilecto amigo, y con la generosidad que le distingue me autoriza para enriquecer con ella mi publication.”
Whithout knowing Spanish I don´t understand a word! But I guess the truth is hidden in those sentences. Does anyone, knowing Spanish, feel like having a go at translating it into English. I would like to quote the most important lines.

And please don´t hesitate to remark on any errors that I´ve made in my transcription!

Attached is the whole Lembeye article, maybe there is something else hidden in the text that reveals the woman behind this helenae?
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Old Monday 26th August 2013, 11:31   #2
Daniel Philippe
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The official French name was recently changed from "Colibri d'Helen" to "Colibri d'Elena" ...

... but I did not try to know why
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Old Monday 26th August 2013, 14:17   #3
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Google translate says: We added a third known species very similar to Orthorhynchus Anna Lesson, from which it differs by the smaller size of the back and bluish dye. Mr. D. Juan Gundlach, who for more than eight years as part of the family of Mr. D. Charles Booth, estimated eat the most precious of their acquisitions this new species, in his memoirs devoted to Mrs. wife of this beloved friend, and with the generosity that distinguishes it allows me to enrich her ​​my publication.
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Old Monday 26th August 2013, 14:35   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Philippe View Post
The official French name was recently changed from "Colibri d'Helen" to "Colibri d'Elena" ...

... but I did not try to know why
But I did ... and I think that I now (just a few hours later!) can answer why:

(Calypte) Mellisuga helenae was apparently named after:
Quote:
" Doña Elena de Faz, wife of Don Carlos Booth, ..."
That´s according to Gundlach himself, who discovered the bird!
And I think he ought to be quite trustworthy ...

See attached pdf: Gundlach, J. 1891. Notes on some Species of Birds of the Island of Cuba. The Auk 8 (2): 187-191.

Anyone in opposition?

PS. I´m still interested in any attempt on translation of the Lembeye text.
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Last edited by Calalp : Monday 26th August 2013 at 14:49.
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Old Tuesday 27th August 2013, 11:50   #5
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Which Helen?

”Agregamos á las especies conocidas una tercera muy parecida al Orthorhynchus Anna de Lesson, del que difiere por su menor tamaño y tintes azulosos del dorso. El Sr. D. Juan Gundlach, que hace mas de ocho años forma parte de la familia del Sr. D. Cárlos Booth, estimado coma la mas preciosa de sus adquisiciones esta nueva especie, la consagró en sus memorias á la señora esposa de este predilecto amigo, y con la generosidad que le distingue me autoriza para enriquecer con ella mi publication.”

We can add to the known species a third, very similar to Lesson's Orthorhynchus anna, from which it differs in its smaller size and the azure tones of its back. John Gundlach, who was part of the household of Charles Booth for more than eight years, considered this new species the most valuable of those he had obtained, and he dedicated it in his notes to the wife of his dear friend, and then, with his characteristic generosity, permitted me to include the species in my own publication.
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Old Tuesday 27th August 2013, 11:52   #6
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Beolens/Watkins

You are right to always double-check anything in that book; it's very useful, but not invariably cautious.
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Old Tuesday 27th August 2013, 13:45   #7
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Thumbs up Elena de Faz!

Rick,
Thank you for the translation. Now it all make sence!

A few short remarks ... I´m not used to the habit of translating personal names (in Sweden we normaly only do that, in dictionaries, mostly on historical royal persons or persons from parts of the world that doesn´t use the same Alphabet or letters than we do):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Wright View Post
”... El Sr. D. Juan Gundlach, que hace mas de ocho años forma parte de la familia del Sr. D. Cárlos Booth, ...”

"... John Gundlach, who was part of the household of Charles Booth for more than eight years ..."
Juan Gundlach = the German-born ornithologist: Johann (birth name Johannes) Christoph Gundlach (1810–1896), among (english-speaking?) friends known as "John" ... who, after arriving in Cuba (in january 1839) usually is refered to as "Juan Cristóbal Gundlach".

... and I think "Don Carlos Booth" was cuban (maybe of US or British Heritage? I do knot know). He is, in any case, refered to as "... the Cuban, Carlos Booth who had completed his studies at London and Cassel, ..." in an article (attached) by Juan Vilaró, Professor of Natural History, Havanna University in Popular Science Monthly 1987. He ought to know ... or?

... and just for the fun of it, Gundlach stayed on, even longer with the Booth family: in total 16 years! It wasn´t until 1855 he got a place of his own.

I guess Elena deserved her Hummingbird!
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Last edited by Calalp : Tuesday 27th August 2013 at 14:40.
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Old Wednesday 28th August 2013, 12:49   #8
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Exclamation The unknown Elena de Faz

There maybe, maybe (!?) might be something more to find about the obscure "Elena de Faz" on this link (Google Books):

http://books.google.se/books?id=XJM4...Bw&redir_esc=y

Only accessible as "Snippet view" for me, but it is usually different for North American readers of Google Books.

And there is apparently another book (no access at all), published by Sociedad Cubana de Historia Natural "Felipe Poey." called: El zunzuncito: Pájaro mosca cubano, by Rodiles (1960) that is said to contain the sentence: "...y el específico helenae, por él escogido, como homenaje a la señora Elena de Faz, esposa de su mejor amigo.".

But if it has anything else about whom she was I do not know.

Also Juan Cristóbal Gundlach: apuntes biográficos by Rosa María González (1990) might have someting to add ...

Please let me know if anyone find someting additional on her. Otherwise I think I´m at "the end of the road" with species.
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