Thursday, March 19, 2009

Provenance via Auction Catalog

In my ever-expanding quest to find more Libraries of Early America (because I can't be content with the forty-six currently on my list to enter, apparently) I started poking through some old bound auction catalogs yesterday and making a list of the lots which list previous owners. I found a surprising number of books from the collection of George Read (1733-1798), a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and one of Delaware's first senators under the Constitution. The names of early Virginia poet Robert Bolling also appeared fairly often, as did Virginia historian William Stith. I even came across one book owned by the explorer John Ledyard.

I'm not sure how often I'll get a chance to go through more auction volumes, but as I do I'll continue to take notes and will probably mention any major finds. And if you stumble across any in your hunts, please feel free to shoot them my way (any Americans collecting prior to 1825).

This morning it's back to Countway to start a transcription of John Jeffries' library catalog so I can get his collection up and running fairly soon (the LEA's first balloonist!).

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