Thursday, September 30, 2010

The State of Things

There look to be a whole slew of interesting auctions coming up in late October-early November, so I'll be working up a preview post for those this weekend (making this a preview-preview, I guess).

In the meantime, some updates:

I'm continuing to add to the Signers of the Declaration of Independence wiki as new source material is found; this week I've updated the North Carolina delegates based on copies of their wills, and I've gotten some good leads on ways to get the probate files for the six delegates who died in Philadelphia (and whose probate files seem to be stuck in some sort of bureaucratic morass). Hopefully those leads will pan out and I'll have some new information on those shortly. About eighty titles from the library of one of those delegates, Francis Hopkinson, are at the University of Pennsylvania library, and I've been in touch with librarians there about additional materials on his book collection that might be extant.

On Monday I went down to Providence to look at the estate inventory of Stephen Hopkins in the City Archives. That was quite the experience, but when all was said and done the inventory contains a short list of books, which I'll be adding to LT shortly (hopefully today or over the weekend).

While I was in Providence I took the opportunity and visited the John Carter Brown Library, where I got to hold in my hands Richard Mather's copy of the Bay Psalm Book (online here) and a (thus-far unidentified) partial book containing shorthand annotations (and lots of them) by Roger Williams. They've also got an Internet Archive scanning station set up there, and are scanning a range of their printed books and manuscripts (including collections of imprints related to Haiti, Argentina, and Peru). I really like how their scans look, with full color and the actual page edges showing (example).

And of course I couldn't leave the city without visiting a bookstore, so I went to Cellar Stories and browsed around there (for not nearly as long as I would have liked). I'll have to go again and plan to spend half a day in their stacks, I think.

All those things, combined with making plans for the upcoming research trip to Bermuda and being hip-deep in the wonderfulness that is the second volume of the History of the Book in America are why things have been fairly quiet around here. Stay tuned for auction previews and hopefully more Signers news shortly.

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