« AnteriorContinuar »
THE Catalogues of the Library Company of Philadelphia, dow brought down to 1856, are contained in three volumes, of which the first and second, published in 1835, comprise the books in the library at that date, and the third—the present issue-contains the titles of all books added since that time, together with a general Index. This is exclusive of the Loganian Library, to which the members have access, and of which a catalogue in 450 pages, octavo, was published in 1837.
It is believed that the general Index hereto appended (p. 1681) obvi. ates most of the disadvantages of the supplementary character of the third volume, at the same time that it secures important ends not otherwise to be attained. Volume 3 is paged continuously with volumes 1 and 2, and the alphabetical Index contains a reference to all the leading words in the titles of the whole three volumes. Thus, not only the names of all authors, translators, and annotators are indexed, but also all subjects of biography, all works of fiction, and generally such important words in each title, that a book may be found even if the author's name is unknown to the seeker, or if the work is anonymous. So copious an Index cannot fail, practically, to add much to the value and utility of the collection.
As regards the classification of the body of the work, the method of the Catalogue of 1835, consisting of the five great divisions of Religion, Jurisprudence, Sciences and Arts, Belles Lettres and History, each subdivided into appropriate heads, and the whole preceded by Bibli. ography, has been followed in the present volume. Where necessary, the same work has been inserted under two or more heads. In copy. ing the titles, an endeavor has been made, on the one hand, to avoid the redundance which a title absolutely full would entail, and on the other, to make the transcription so complete that nothing really important might be omitted. Names of the authors of books published anonymously, and other explanatory additions to the title, are placed within parentheses ( ).
The well-selected books of the Library of Foreign Literature and Science, purchased in 1840, are included in the present volume. Valuable donations have been received from Horace Binney, Jos. R. Ingersoll, Isaac Lea, Jos. R. Chandler, James Lenox, Thomas Balch, and many others; which are duly noted in the body of this work ; but the Company has not, as in 1835, to congratulate itself on the incorporation of large private collections like those of Preston and Mackenzie. The great majority of the 18,000 volumes catalogued in this supplement were purchased with the annual payments of the members. In administering the fund thus produced, the Directors, while they have kept steadily in view the original and main object of the Association, to form a library for home reading, and while they have restricted their purchases in those departments—such as Law, Medicine, and Mechanics—to which special libraries in the city of Philadelphia are devoted, have yet been equally solicitous to avoid ephemeral productions of no real merit. The income of the Institution is not (as is frequently supposed) sufficient to warrant large outlay for rare and costly works; and yet, on taking a glance at the whole collection, many treasures will be found, among which it may not be uninteresting to mention a few of the most valuable and rare.
Of MANUSCRIPTS, the most ancient is an exemplar of the entire Bible on parchment, of the date of 1016. The most beautiful is an illuminated Psalter on fine vellum, and in perfect preservation; though written in Roman characters, it appears to be a specimen of German art of the early part of the 15th century. Two volumes of original letters of King James I.; two, of his official correspondence with the Irish Viceroyalty; an original diary of the Marquis of Clanricarde (1641–1643); and the unpublished autobiography of John Fitch, are noteworthy.
Of EARLY PRINTED BOOKS, there are several of the date of 1470, and others without date. The Loganian Library possesses a copy of Caxton's Golden Legend ; several works from the press of Wynkyn de Worde; a Vulgate Bible, printed at Rome by Sweynheym & Pannartz, in 1471-pronounced "fort rare" by Brunet-another from the press of Koburger, at Nuremberg, in 1475; an English version, printed by Grafton in 1539, and a Nouveau Testament printed by Barthelemy & Buyer at Lyons, about 1480. A noble edition of Perceforest—" de tous les romans de chevalerie le plus estimé"-in 6 vols. folio, Paris, 1531; an early German version, with numerous wood. cuts, of Reynard the Fox-Reynke Voss de olde, Rostock, 1549-and Copland's edition of Caxton's Recuile of the Histories of Troie, London, 1553—are rare and curious.
Of works relating to ANTIQUITIES, the following are the most remarkable: Lepsius', Rosselini's, Denon's, and Vyse's Egypt; Botta's
and Layard's folio plates of Nineveh; Kingsborough's and Lenoir's Mexico; eight folio volumes of plates on Herculaneum; Piranesi's works; n Vaticano; and Meyrick on Ancient Armor.
In the department of works relating to AMERICA, the two libraries may, without exaggeration, be said to be very rich. The sets of newspapers, from the first number of the first paper published in Philadelphia continuously to the present time, include a set of Bradford's American Mercury, from 1719 to 1745; the Pennsylvania Gazette (published successively by Samuel Keimer, Dr. Benjamin Franklin, and Hall & Sellers) complete, from 1728 to 1804; the Pennsylvania Journal, from 1747 to 1793; the Pennsylvania Packet (afterwards Poulson's Advertiser), under various names, from 1771 to the present time; the Federal and Philadelphia Gazette from 1788 to 1843; and the United States Gazette, now the North American, from 1791 to the present time. Others will be found on pp. 604 and 1344, and in the Loganian Catalogue, p. 293. After the newspapers, may be mentioned the inestimable collection of books, pamphlets, broadsides, and manuscripts collected by Pierre Du Simitiere, before, during, and after the Revolution, and purchased for the Company. They are catalogued on pp. 864, 866 to 869, 886 to 895, 1550 to 1554, and elsewhere. A portion of these pamphlets, and the larger part of the broadsides (on pp. 1550, &c.) are believed to be quite unique. Beschreiburg von Pennsylvania, Frankfort und Leipzig, 1704, by Pastorius, the personal friend of William Penn, and the founder of Germantown, is believed to be the only copy in the United States; with it, is bound up a German translation of Gabriel Thomas' Pennsylvania, and Faulkner's Curieuse Nachricht von Pennsylvania, 1702. H. J. Wynkelmann's Americanischen neuen Welt Beschreibung, Oldenburg, 1664, with wood-cuts, is a most curious and extremely rare publication. Other German works on America not often met with in this country are Gottfriedt's Historia Antipodum, Frankfurt, 1655, and Dapper's unbekannte neue Welt, Amsterdam, 1673; both have numerous fine plates and maps. Campanius' Kort Beskryfnnig om Provincien Nya Swerige callas Pennsylvania, Stockholm, 1702, with curious plates and maps, is one of the few copies known to exist; and Ovalle's Historica Relation del Reyno de Chile, with the map and all the plates, is of great rarity. Jones' present state of Vir. ginia, London, 1724—" one of the scarcest works relating to Virginia published in the 18th century"—is bound up with The present state of Virginia and the College, by Messieurs Hartwell, Blair, and Chilton, London, 1727, which appears to be still more scarce, as it is not mentioned either by Rich' or Lowndes, nor does it appear in the British Museum Catalogue of 1819. These, and other choice works on the American Colonies, have the initials of Peter Collinson on their title pages. Plantagenet's New Albion, Leah and Rachel, and other scarce books, were reprinted in Force's Historical Tracts, from originals in this Library. Aikin's Bible of 1782, published under the patronage of Congress, and Poor Richard's Almanac from 1733 to 1747, are very rare works. The Library's set of the Laws of Pennsylvania is complete from the beginning, and of the Journals of the Legislature nearly so. Indeed, but few works relating to Pennsylvania and Philadelphia are wanting, and of the local histories of other States the collection is good. The collection of the Public Documents of the General Government is respectable, and will shortly, it is hoped, be as complete as any other in the country.
Not the least interesting portion of the Library is that consisting of works in the languages of CONTINENTAL EUROPE. In the departments of Belles Lettres and History, the collection of French, Spanish, and Italian books embraces most of the standard authors. The edition of the French Classics, in 32 large quarto volumes, entitled Collection du Dauphin—a beautiful specimen of typography-and Landino's
rare et recherché” edition of Dante, Venetia, 1512, are worthy of notice. The German library is, by no means, so valuable, but it includes the "sämmtliche Werke" of Luther (89 vols.), Goethe, Schiller, Jean Paul, Zschokke, Heine, &c. The collection of Spanish authors (mostly in the Loganian Library) is the most complete, and was, and perhaps is, the finest public collection in the country. Many of the volumes are interesting either from their rarity or intrinsic worth. Among these may be mentioned El Conde Lucanor, by the Prince Don Juan Manuel (Sevilla, 1575), described by Ticknor as “one of the rarest books in the world;" an unmutilated edition of Celestina, the first Spanish dramatic work of note (1599); the Cronica del famoso cavallero del Cid (Burgos, 1593), and the Coronica de el Rey Don Alonzo (1604). It contains, also, the excellent reprint of the ancient Spanish Chronicles (1787), and Zurita's Anales de la Corona de Aragon, with the supplement of Argensola. Not to mention the better known names of Calderon, Lope de Vega and the other early dramatists, it may be said that all the modern authors of consequence, Feijoo, Father Isla, Moratin, Yriarte, Melendez Valdes, and many others, have been added to it. The Spanish writers on America are equally well represented.
In the large collection of ENGLISH works may be found complete sets of the Royal Philosophical Transactions, the Gentleman's Magazine, the Annual Register, Cobbett's and Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, Curtis' Botanical Magazine, and other periodicals, some continued for more than a century: the publications of the Record Commission in 77 vols. folio and 25 vols, octavo: a curious collection of 700 English pamphlets in 36 vols. quarto, published during the revolutionary
period from 1620 to 1720, which with Somers' Tracts, the Harleian Miscellany, and the Camden Society's publications, eminently deserve the attention of the student of English history: a series of the English Chroniclers from Bede downwards, in the original Latin, as well as in English: and Dansey's English Crusaders.
The above imperfect outline of certain features of the collection will serve, in some measure, to indicate the value of the Philadelphia and Loganian Libraries, as well to the public as to the members of the company; it being customary to permit persons who are not members, to consult works of reference in the rooms, without charge.
Unfortunately, this highly valuable collection is not in a fire-proof building; and the destruction of the Congress Library by fire, and other similar calamities, warn us not to presume too much on the impunity in this respect enjoyed for more than a century. Moreover, the accommodations in the present edifice will, in a few years, be exhausted, and further room will have to be provided. In view of these facts, the Directors have decided to make an appeal to the Stockholders and to the citizens of Philadelphia, for contributions to a BUILDING FUND, to be invested separately until it is sufficient for the erection of a perfectly fire-proof building, of dimensions suited to the wants of the Library. It is not doubted that this appeal will be generously and liberally responded to.