In the invitation for subscriptions to this work which was issued in 1903, it was stated that the work would comprise four or five volumes of text in quarto and a two volume atlas in folio. The hope was. also expressed that the work would be completed before the close of 1905.
When Dr. Sven Hedin in October of the same year departed on a new journey of investigation to Central Asia he had finished his own portion of the work and taken the necessary steps in preparation for the publication of the remaining parts. A number of circumstances for which he is not responsible have, however, delayed the publication and occasioned some changes. The undersigned, to whom Dr. Hedin entrusted the responsibility of overseeing the publication of the work, deem it proper that they should furnish an explanation in regard to the above mentioned changes.
It was said in the prospectus that the maps would consist of about one hundred leaves and that they would be prepared by Captain, now Major, H. Byström, of the Swedish General Staff. Since it was seen that he could not execute the extended work alone, Dr. Hedin entrusted a part of it to Lieutenant O. Kjellström. Of the 97 leaves of the Atlas 6o are executed by the former, io by the latter, and 14 by both together, while 13 leaves are facsimiles of the author's own original drawings. The whole route of Dr. Hedin is shown by an Index Map, presenting the outlines of the various special leaves.
As concerns the text, Dr. Hedin supposed that his contributions to it would be contained in two volumes. They have now grown into four volumes, containing altogether 292 specially printed maps, profiles and drawings, as well as 1588 smaller illustrations in the text.
Of the remaining scientific departments it was arranged that the meteorology should be executed by Dr. N. Ekholm, the astronomy by Professor P. G. Rosén, the geology by Dr. H. Bäckström and Professor G. De Geer, the botany by Professor G. Lagerheim, the zoology by Professor W. Leche, and the Chinese inscriptions by Mr. Karl Himly. In these arrangements the following changes have been found necessary. Dr. K. G. Olsson has attended to the astronomical observations instead of Professor Rosén; since the geological collections were found to be of interest chiefly in petrographic connections the work has been carried out by Dr. Bäckstöm alone; after closer examination it was found that the botanical collections ware not of sufficient significance to necessitate special scientific treatment, for which reason the botanical section has been altogether excluded; finally, the treatment of the Chinese archeological collections has, after Mr. Himly's death, been entrusted to Professor A. Conrady of Leipsic. He has, however, on account of protracted illness not been able to complete his portion of the work. The publishers, who concluded that the completion of the whole work could no longer be postponed, are in hopes that Professor Conrady will be able to communicate the results of his investigations in the future, in which case his work would be published as a special section and distributed gratis to purchasers of the work. It may be considered that the album of Asiatic race types, executed according to Dr. Hedin's drawings, is a compensation for the section which has been omitted, although the publication of the album was not included in the original plan.
It is known to the undersigned thàt Dr. Hedin intended, at the conclusion of the work, to express his thankfulness to all those who have made contributions to it or advanced it in one way or another. Since he is still absent, far from his fatherland, and we cannot communicate with him in order to receive from his own hand a statement of his wishes, we have concluded to give expression for him of his thankfulness, and this in the first place to the Swedish Government and Riksdag, which by generous contributions made possible the publication of this work.
Stockholm, October, 1907.
E. W. Dahlgren. Axel Lagrelius.