Sunday, 30 August 2015

Book Prices in the 18th Century

I have been challenged by SMU librarian Russell Martin's comments on book prices in the third appendix of A History of the Book in America: Volume 1: The Colonial Book in the Atlantic World, edited by Hugh Amory and David D. Hall (UNC Press, 2007). Martin argues that the difficulty of analyzing book prices has to do with the "complicated state of colonial currency," noting that "Each colony issuing paper money had its own monetary system that fluctuated in value in relation to pounds sterling and in accordance with inflationary and deflationary phases in the economic cycle" (p. 522). Another challenge are the different formats of books and the varying binding and paper options. These and other reasons are why Russell has deemed it almost impossible to evaluate the value of books over time in the eighteenth century.

According to Russell, the first major hurdle for evaluating the prices of eighteenth-century books pertains to colonial currency. In colonial America, each colony had its own paper currency, denominated in pounds, shillings, and pence. Like the British pound sterling, colonial pounds were worth twenty shillings (£1 = 20s.), with one shilling equaling twelve pence (1s.  = 12d.). Complicating matters is that each colony's currency varied substantially throughout the eighteenth century. Pennsylvania and Delaware money was worth about 60% of the British pound sterling. Currency in New York and New York varied in value from about 55% to 60% of the British sterling.

Undoubtedly, the most problematic paper money in this period was issued in Massachusetts. For the first fifty years of the century, money was referred to as "Old Tenor" that inflated dramatically, so that by the late 1740s the Massachusetts pound was worth about one-ninth the value of the British pound sterling. At this point in the middle of the century, the British Crown reset the legal value of the Massachusetts pound (referred to as Lawful Money) so that its value equaled about 75% of the British pound sterling, and so that six shillings equaled one Spanish dollar (the basis for the American dollar). I have found John J. McCusker's Money Exchange in Europe and America, 1600-1775: A Handbook to be the most helpful source for analyzing colonial currency

Using McCusker's handbook, I began looking more closely at the prices of Jonathan Edwards's books in the eighteenth century, with provenance records, bookseller's advertisements, proposals, and account books serving as my sources. At this point, I have tabulated the prices of nearly all the editions of Edwards's books for that period.

As one might expect, short, unbound pamphlets would have been offered at the cheapest prices. Edwards's first publication, a twenty-five page sermon entitled God Glorified in the Work of Redemption (1731), was sold in Boston by the publisher for 9d., worth 3d. in British currency at that time. As the century progressed, inflationary pressure affected the prices of colonial books and pamphlets. This can be seen in looking at the cost of some later pamphlets that were published. In 1744, for instance, John Wesley published a forty-eight page abridgement of Edwards's Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God from London for 4d. In 1744, four pence in British currency would have been worth about 24d. (or 2s.) in Massachusetts. Three years later in 1747, the same Boston bookseller who published Edwards's first sermon paid for the printing of a later discourse entitled, True Saints, When Absent from the Body, Are Present with the Lord. This was Edwards's funeral sermon for the missionary David Brainerd. The Boston bookseller who published this forty-page eulogy sold it to local customers for 3s., the same as 36d., but worth only 4d. in British sterling. These three examples highlight the runaway inflation of colonial Massachusetts's currency during the 1730s and 1740s.

A table for these three pamphlets, with prices in British pound sterling and Massachusetts Old Tenor currency would look like this:

Britain Massachusetts
1731 God Glorified in Redemption (3d.) 9d.
1744 Distinguishing Marks  4d. (24d.)
1747 True Saints (4d.) 36d.

Notice the stability of prices in British currency versus the escalating equivalent cost in  Massachusetts Old Tenor.

After the Crown reset the value of Massachusetts money so that it was worth about 75% of the value of the British pound sterling in 1750,  the costs of pamphlets in Massachusetts "Lawful Money" stabilized for much of the remaining years in the eighteenth century.  This can be seen in the publication of some later pamphlets. When Wesley issued a second edition of Edwards's Distinguishing Marks at London in 1755, he sold the forty-eight page abridgement at the same price as before, 4d. This price of four pence would have worth five pence in Lawful Money. Wesley wanted his abridgements to be affordable for his itinerant preachers and Methodist society members. I have seen several Methodist pamphlets printed on course, brown paper, with uncut edges, and many times appearing as though they were read to death. Such evidence helps to explain why the Anglican clergyman Charles De Coetlogon's thirty-six page1774  edition of Edwards's sermon The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners sold at London for a slightly higher price of 6d., which was worth about 7d. in Massachusetts Lawful Money at that time. When De Coetlogon issued a new edition of The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners in 1788, it sold for the same price of 6d., and in that same year, the Anglican minister edited a thirty-two page edition of Edwards's sermon The Eternity of Hell Torments, which also sold from London for 6d.

Even though Wesley's pamphlets might have been cheaper than others, most early evangelicals purposely disseminated inexpensive Christian literature. I can cite at least one example to illustrate this point. At the bottom of the title page for a fifty-five page 1780 Northampton, England edition of Edwards's sermon The Excellency of Christ, edited by the English Particular Baptist John Collett Ryland, the price is listed in square brackets as 4d. "or 3s. per dozen to those who give them away." The prices of the pamphlets edited by Wesley, De Coetlogon, and Ryland demonstrate that Edwards's shorter works sold for roughly the same prices in England throughout the eighteenth century.

Analyzing the prices of Edwards's larger works is a bit more tricky. Besides factoring in Massachusetts's inflationary currency before 1750, one must also consider a particular edition's binding (whether it was stitched, or bound in a particular kind of leather), the quality of the paper, pagination, and additional features included in the book. As a case study, let's look at some of the editions of Edwards's Treatise Concerning Religious Affections.

This book was first published at Boston in 1746 as a 358-page small quarto, and selling to subscribers for 28s. in Old Tenor, which would have been worth a little more than 4s. in British sterling at that time. In 1762, the London bookseller Thomas Field published a 288-page duodecimo abridgement of Religious Affections for 2s.6d. One can see that its smaller size necessitated that it should be priced at an equivalent cheaper rate. Several years after the first edition of Religious Affections was published in Boston, the New York bookseller Garrat Noel offered a 488-page octavo edition in 1768, "printed on a handsome type and neatly bound" for 8s. in New York currency, the same as 4s.4d. in British sterling. Notice at the end of Noel's advertisement that this edition boasts of having notes inserted and that the errors in the first edition had been corrected. This was one of the many marketing strategies that booksellers used to show the value of a new edition. In 1772, the London booksellers Charles and Edward Dilly published a 376-page octavo edition that was printed at Edinburgh, and advertised for 5s. Two years later in 1774, the London bookseller George Keith reissued Noel's 1768 edition, printing a new title page and falsely marketing this book as the "fourth edition" for 3s.6d. While we can't say for certain, what this London reissue seems to indicate is that Noel's book did not sell very well, and so perhaps Keith had the opportunity to buy the remainders and market his copies at a cheaper price in Britain.

In the last quarter of the eighteenth century, several American booksellers issued new editions of Religious Affections. In 1787, the New York bookseller Robert Hodge sponsored a 508-page octavo edition that was printed by Shepard Kollock at Elizabethtown, New Jersey. Subscribers could buy copies for 10s. and non-subscribers 12s. in New York currency (5s.6d./6s.6d. in British sterling). Notice in the advertisement to the left that Hodge's edition would contain a "Life of the Author" prefixed to the book. Although not mentioned in this advertisement, he also added an account of Esther Edwards Burr, some letters by her, as well as a biographical account of Edwards's wife Sarah Pierpont. Also worthy of notice, is the advertisement's appeal to become subscribers for this particular edition as a way of promoting the gospel message. All these features represent tactics by Hodge to increase the value of his edition.

Several years later in 1794, the Philadelphia bookseller Mathew Carey published a 350-page octavo edition of Religious Affections for $1 on coarse paper and $1.50 on fine paper (7s.6d. and 11s.3d. in equivalent British currency). In the same year as Carey's edition, several Boston booksellers collaborated to bring out a 406-page duodecimo for $1, which would have been worth 7s.6d. in Britain.

Tabulating the prices and years of publication for these editions of Religious Affections looks like this:

British Sterling MA Old Tenor MA Lawful Money NY Money PA Money
1746 (4s.3d.) 28s.

1762 2s.6d.

1768 (4s.4d.)

1772 5s.

1774 3s.6d.

1787 (5s.6d./6s.6d.)

1794 (7s.6d./11s.3d.)

1794 (7s.6d.)

In order to understand the relative value of the various editions of Religious Affections, one must examine multiple copies, studying the quality of paper and bindings, as well as the format and pagination. However, a cursory glance at this information will show that the Dilly brother's 1772 Edinburgh edition was more expensive than George Keith's 1774 London reissue. Also significant is that the Dilly edition contained about one hundred less pages. The 500-page 1787 Hodge edition appears to be attractively priced when compared with the later Philadelphia and Boston editions in 1794, which were not only priced higher, but also contained significantly less pages.

In my forthcoming book on Jonathan Edwards and Transatlantic Print Culture, I will be spending more time diagnosing why some of Edwards's books were priced higher than others, and why some titles sold out while others became poor sellers.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

New Insight into John Hancock's Furniture

In my previous post, I wrote about John Hancock's purchase of Daniel Henchman's furniture and several household items. I came across two articles that have been very helpful in understanding the history of certain pieces of furniture that Hancock bought from Henchman's estate.

In Nancy Goyne Evans's article, "The Genealogy of a Bookcase Desk," Winterthur Portfolio, 9 (1974), 213-22, she focuses on a walnut "bookcase desk" with plate-glass mirrors that was made by the Boston cabinetmaker Job Coit and his son Job Coit Jr., and is now in the possession of the Winterthur Museum. The father and son signed their names in pencil in 1738, the son on the bottom of the hooded drawer in the main compartment, and the father on one of the  hidden drawers. Evans writes, "Although no other signed Coit pieces are known, the Coit bookcase desk represents a high point in Boston cabinetmaking in the first half of the eighteenth century. Few patrons were in a financial position to order such a large and elaborate piece" (p. 215). The main compartment of the desk folds down so that it could be used as a writing surface. With the main compartment folded down, one would be able to see a series of five sets of double drawers inside (see Evans's article for images). Above these drawers are six open compartments with arched hoods.

In the American Antiquarian Society's microfilm copy of the Daniel Henchman Papers, there is a bill from the estate of Job Coit for cabinetry work that he performed for Daniel Henchman between the years 1734 and 1740, before his death in 1741. The bill lists work that Coit performed for Henchman, including the construction and repairing of three bedsteads. These are probably the same three large bedsteads listed among the items purchased by Hancock in 1770 for £27-10s. Also, included in Coit's estate bill to Henchman is "one Desk and book Case," valued at £50.
When I read Evans's article the first time, I expected to find this "bookcase desk" listed among the assets purchased by Hancock. Evans made it clear that the desk was made of walnut. If you look at the inventory of items owned by Henchman that Hancock purchased, there are some walnut pieces, but none that match the description or price of the Coit desk. The largest and most expensive furniture pieces are stated to be made of mahogany, including a desk and some tables. The walnut pieces listed among Henchman's assets are for chairs and a table. There is a walnut table in the list, but this could not be the Coit piece since it was valued at only £3. My initial conclusion was that the Coit desk had been bought by Hancock prior to 1770, which is why it does not appear on the bill of sale.

Another article, however, convinced me that the Coit piece might be included in the list of furniture that Hancock bought in 1770. In Mabel Swan's article, "The Furniture of His Excellency, John Hancock," The Magazine Antiques 31 (March 1737), 119-121, she discusses how Hancock's house was taken over by British troops during the War of Independence. During their occupation, British troops damaged some of Hancock's possessions. After the British left Boston, Captain Isaac Cazneau wrote to Hancock on April 4, 1776 with news of the condition of his house. In the letter, Cazneau referenced a "Great Settee," a "Back Gammon Table" that had been in the library, "China and Glass Ware," and "Looking Glasses Tables Chairs &c." (pp. 119-20).
Both Evans and Swan note that Hancock's household furniture were put up for auction after his death in 1793, and advertised in the October 23 issue of the Columbian Centinel in the same year. The Columbian Centinel  advertisement offered "A Variety of genteel Household Furniture consisting of elegant Mahogany Chairs, nail over seats stuffed and covered with satin hair, 2 Arm do to match, mahogany 4 post Bedsteads, fluted feet pillars, 2 Easy Chairs covered with Silk Damask, pier and other Looking Glasses, desk and Bookcase, mahogany sideboard, 4 capital Blue Silk Damask window Curtains, complete, 1 suit yellow do bed curtains with Squabs to answer, plated Candlesticks with a general assemblage of useful articles" (Evans, p.219; Swan, p. 120).

Studying the list of items that Hancock purchased in my previous post, one will notice the item "1 large Looking Glass" for £50. A looking glass, of course, refers to a mirror, and the piece that Coit designed for Henchman did in fact have large mirrored doors, even if the original glass was replaced in later years. The "large Looking Glass" purchased by Hancock for £50 also happens to be the value that Coit charged Henchman for its construction. Other than the three feather beds, pairs of sheets, and curtain suit, the looking glass is the most expensive piece of furniture on that list. There are other "looking glasses" listed among the goods owned by Henchman and purchased by Hancock, but these were for lesser values of £25 and £15.

I am now wondering if the walnut "bookcase desk" described in Evans's article could be the "large looking glass" listed among Henchman's assets that Hancock bought in 1770.

Monday, 24 August 2015

John Hancock's Purchase

Lydia Henchman Hancock by John Singleton Copley
Thomas Hancock by John Smibert, 1730

Every American has heard of John Hancock (1737-1793), merchant, statesman, and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Less people know of Hancock's uncle Thomas, from whom he inherited the bulk of an estate worth £70,000 at the time of his death in 1764. Even fewer people have heard of Daniel Henchman (1689-1761) whose daughter Lydia married Thomas Hancock in 1730.

Thomas Hancock and Daniel Henchman were merchants in Boston. Both sold general goods, but Henchman specialized in publishing and selling religious works. Henchman published several important works by Jonathan Edwards, including his first public sermon, God Glorified in the Work of Redemption (1731), the third edition of A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God (1738), which chronicled the revival that took place at Edwards's church in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1734-35, Edwards's funeral sermon for the New England missionary David Brainerd, True Saints, When Absent from the Body, Are Present with the Lord (1747), Edwards's call for coordinated transatlantic prayer for the continuation of the revivals, An Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God's People in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion (1748), and Edwards's biographical Life of David Brainerd (1749).

For the past several days, I have been slowly working my way through the American Antiquarian Society's microfilm rolls of the Daniel Henchman Papers. I have looked at these reels before, but I wanted to examine them more closely for information pertaining to Henchman's involvement in the publication of Edwards's works. After several hours of staring at the microfilm reader today, I came across a very interesting account bill, two images of which the good folks at the AAS have allowed me to post on the blog.

The images above show John Hancock buying Daniel Henchman's household items in August 1770 for a total of £623-15s. in Massachusetts Old Tenor currency, valued as £83-3s.-4d. in Lawful Money (Massachusetts currency revalued by the Crown after 1750). Henchman died in 1761, and so at first it might seem strange that Hancock would be buying these goods nine years later. However, this can make sense if we take into consideration a provision in Henchman's will (Suffolk County Probate Record Books, Massachusetts State Archives, Volume 58, 206-8), stipulating that his brother Samuel could live in his house after his death. Knowing that Samuel Henchman died in April 1770, it is reasonable to imagine Daniel's brother utilizing these household items until his death, at which time they were sold to Hancock.

I remember feeling very disappointed when I finally located Daniel Henchman's estate records at the Massachusetts State Archives, and saw that he ordered that no inventory should be taken of his holdings. I gathered that he was a wealthy man, owning at least two slaves (I came across two purchasing orders today in Reel 3 for "Negros" in 1758 and 1760, and also an order for a slave named Pompey, whom his brother Samuel bought in 1737), a mansion on Tremont Street, and some unnamed pieces of furniture. Imagine my delight today when I was able to see the kinds of household goods that he owned, giving me a greater picture of the kind of wealth that Henchman had.

Rubens, The Death of Achilles (1630-35)
If you can't see the detail in the two images above, allow me to list most of the goods that Hancock acquired (all valued in Old Tenor currency): 1 large mahogany desk (£36), 1 large mahogany table (£18), 1 large mahogany tea table (£9), 1 large mahogany small table (£11-10s.), 1 couch (£6-15s.), 6 black walnut framed leather bottom chairs (£27-10s.)... 1 large looking glass (£50)... 1 black walnut table (£3)... 1/2 dozen china plates (£6), 1 large china bowl (£3), 2 blue and white china dishes (£2), 1 set of ivory handle knives and forks (£9), metal dishes, plates, bowl, etc. (£25), 1 brass kettle (£9), 1 bell metal kettle (£4-10s.), 2 metal skillets (£4), 1 steel andiron (£3-10s.), 2 copper pots (£4), 2 pairs of steel shovels and tongs (£3), 3 feather beds (£150), 1 mahogany framed armchair (£9), 1/2 dozen maple framed green bottom chairs (£18), 1 roasting meat jack (£11), 8 prints of Peter Paul Ruben's Life of Achilles (£18), 3 large bedsteads (£27-10s.), 11 pairs brass candlesticks (£4), 12 pairs of sheets (£50), 5 pairs of pillow cases (£7-10s.), and 1 [suite?] of Red Harratan Curtains (£50).

Thursday, 20 August 2015

The Life of David Brainerd

Title page for The Life of Brainerd, signed on the flyleaf by Moses Peck
Today, I am reporting on the newest edition to my collection of antiquarian books, The Life of David Brainerd. This was Jonathan Edwards's most popular book, and has never gone out of print. It is a biography about a young New England missionary to Native Americans who died of tuberculosis at Edwards's house in Northampton, Massachusetts. Edwards's biography of Brainerd was first published at Boston in 1749 by the bookseller Daniel Henchman (1689-1761), who hired Samuel Kneeland (1697-1769) to do the composition and print work. The patriot printer Isaiah Thomas described Henchman as "the most eminent and enterprising bookseller that appeared in Boston, or, indeed, in all British America, before the year 1775." Henchman's daughter Lydia married Thomas Hancock, another bookseller and merchant in Boston, and the uncle of John Hancock.

Subscription list for The Life of Brainerd, showing Moses Peck's name
Henchman hired Kneeland as his printer on several occasions, but The Life of Brainerd represents their largest collaboration. The book was printed as an octavo of nearly 350 pages, and contains a subscription list of nearly 2,000 people after Edwards's preface. One of the subscribers on the list was Moses Peck (1717-1801), a silversmith and watchmaker who attended the Old South Church along with Henchman and Kneeland, pastored by the evangelical minister Joseph Sewall and Thomas Prince. Peck was friends with the revivalist Eleazar Wheelock (founder of Dartmouth College) and the Mohegan evangelical minister Samson Occom, and was very supportive of missionary work among Native Americans. My particular copy was signed by Peck at three different times on the flyleaf sheets, including the leaf opposite the title page, as shown in the first image above.

An extant proposal for The Life of Brainerd describes the condition of the sale to subscribers, offering a number of binding options. It could be bought "halfbound, with pasteboard and cover'd with blue or marble paper," for twenty-four shillings in Old Tenor Massachusetts currency, "common plain bound" in sheepskin for twenty-eight shillings, or plain bound in sheepskin and "sowed on bands" for thirty-two shillings. According to the proposal, half the impressions for this book would be printed on one kind of paper, and a second would be printed on a paper of an inferior grade that would reduce the costs listed above by two shillings.

In the colonial period, books could be bound in a variety of ways. One of the cheapest options was to use pasteboard, made by layering several poor quality sheets of paper together by pressure until a certain thickness had been achieved. Pasteboard was often covered with inexpensive blue or marbled paper to add some color to the boards. Mention in the proposal that the books with pasteboard and marbled paper would be "halfbound" meant that the spine and part of the boards would be overlaid with leather. The other options to subscribers were for full leather bindings in sheepskin. As the cheapest form of leather available in the colonies, sheepskin provided a sturdier and better option than books "in boards" alone, although still inferior to those bound with a more durable product like calfskin or goatskin.

Even though the proposal only presented the book to subscribers in these three options, I have located several records indicating that about seventy copies or so were bound in calfskin, and some with elaborate gilt work. The most prominent name featured on the subscription list, Governor Jonathan Belcher, for instance, ordered three copies at forty shillings and another three at 37s.6d. These expensive copies were assuredly bound with gilt work and at least three seems to have had a black label on the spine (one of the purchasing orders contains the description "black" next to the entry).

Moses Peck's book was clearly bound in sheepskin and with raised bands (see images above). This means that Peck paid either thirty-two or thirty shillings for his copy, depending on the kind of paper that the printer used for this particular copy (In the days ahead, I will be analyzing the paper used within the book). The tooling work on the boards of Peck's book is also very interesting to me. It mirrors other copies of The Life of Brainerd that I have seen at archives, such as the Library Company of Philadelphia. Based on my research, I think that either Henchman or someone in his shop did the binding work, and not Kneeland, who was hired solely to do the printing.

In my forthcoming book, I will be talking a lot about the publication of The Life of Brainerd. With nearly 2,000 subscribers, it surpassed the average print run for colonial books by at least 1,500 copies. An army of ministers and magistrates gathered subscriptions for the book, including Brainerd's Yale classmate Samuel Buell (debited for 141 copies) and friend Ebenezer Pemberton (71 copies).

In order to complete the composition and print work, Samuel Kneeland ordered at least ninety-four reams of paper. At twenty-two sheets in octavo per book, this number of reams would have been enough to complete the print work for roughly 2,000 copies. With the help of Professor Michael Winship at the University of Texas at Austin, my preliminary analysis is that at first Kneeland thought that he could print the book with eighty-eight reams of paper, forty-four reams for each of the two kinds of paper mentioned in the proposal. However, at some point, it appears that he notified Henchman that he would need at least an additional six reams to complete the job. The English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) contains a note signifying that a number of sheets were reprinted and inserted into the middle of the book. These sheets presumably came from the extra reams of paper that Kneeland ordered from Henchman. I will be studying the collation formula in my copy in order to figure out how many of the pages were reprinted and inserted into the book, and on what kind of paper. A quick look at some of the pages at the beginning of the book and in the middle of my copy, shows that this was a different kind of paper by comparison to most of the other pages. In the image below, if you look closely, you may be able to see small sections of light colored paper at the beginning and middle of the book.

In my forthcoming book, I will be including much more detailed information on the publication of The Life of Brainerd and other books by Jonathan Edwards.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Growing Collection of Antiquarian Books

My library of antiquarian books has been increasing exponentially in the past few years. I have been collecting a lot of books by Jonathan Edwards in order to study them for my writing project entitled, Jonathan Edwards and Transatlantic Print Culture.  I am particularly excited about a first edition of The Life of David Brainerd (1749) that will soon arrive in the mail from an antiquarian dealer. I have found an enormous amount of information on the publication of this particular edition, and can't wait to talk about some of the more interesting aspects of its printing in my upcoming talk at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School at 1:30pm on October 13.

The picture above is an image of some of the books by Edwards that I have purchased, assembled randomly on a nearby bookshelf--from left to right: A History of the Work of Redemption (Boston: Edward Draper and John Folsom, 1782), A History of the Work of Redemption (Edinburgh: William Gray, 1774), A History of the Work of Redemption (Worcester, MA: Isaiah Thomas, 1792), Practical Sermons (Edinburgh: Margaret Gray, 1788), Treatise Concerning Religious Affections (Boston: Samuel Kneeland and Timothy Green, 1746), Miscellaneous Observations on Important Subjects (Edinburgh: Margaret Gray, 1793), Remarks on Important Theological Controversies (Edinburgh: James Galbraith and Archibald Constable, 1796), The Life of Jonathan Edwards (Northampton: S. and E. Butler, 1804), A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God... To Which is Added, True Grace, Distinguished from the Experience of Devils  (Elizabethtown: Shepard Kollock, 1791), Twenty Sermons on Various Subjects (Edinburgh: Margaret Gray, 1789), Freedom of the Will (Wilmington: James Adams, 1790), The Life of David Brainerd (Edinburgh: William Gray, 1765), Joseph Bellamy's True Religion Delineated (Boston: Samuel Kneeland, 1750), Original Sin (Boston: Samuel Kneeland, 1758), A History of the Work of Redemption (New York: Printed by Thomas and James Swords for the Editor [Cornelius Davis], 1793), and Samuel Hopkins's two-volume System of Doctrines (Boston: Isaiah Thomas and Ebenezer Andrews, 1793).

One of the points that I will be making in Jonathan Edwards and Transatlantic Print Culture is that the way that Edwards's books were published mattered. Using the publication of Edwards's works as a focal point, I will argue that the format, bindings, quality of paper used, and cost per copy of eighteenth-century books can tell us a lot about early evangelical publishing. For instance, one can see from the image above that there is a notable size difference between the Draper and Folsom edition of A History of the Work of Redemption in 1782 (on the far left) and the first edition of A History of the Work of Redemption, published at Edinburgh by William Gray in 1774 (second from the left). The 1774 first edition of this book was published in an octavo format (8) of close to 400 pages. The Draper and Folsom edition in 1782, although also published as an octavo, is only about 300 pages in length. A quick study of the typography of the two editions will show that the Draper and Folsom edition was printed more compactly than the first edition by William Gray, with smaller type and less generous line spacing. Many Reprints, like the Draper and Folsom edition of A History of the Work of Redemption, were printed more compactly in order to cut costs and often to market it at a cheaper price. But some reprints were composed page-for-page and line-for-line with the first edition, which is why it is important to look at key bibliographical information, such as collation formulas, on the English Short Title Catalogue or other sources, to determine if you are dealing with a true reprint or a reissue of the same book with a false title page (claiming, for instance, that it is a new edition). The pagination, collation formula, and typography reveal that the Draper and Folsom reprint is a true edition (and not a reissue) in which the type had been reset. The fact that it was reprinted as a more condensed book, that this is the second time that A History of the Work of Redemption was published, and that it was produced at America in 1782 is important information. Knowing these details, and the difficulty that Americans had importing books from Britain during the War of Independence, provide clues for why Draper and Folsom reprinted this book. Further evidence from manuscript letters and bookseller's advertisements in the period suggest that there seems to have been a demand for A History of the Work of Redemption in America that could not be met by the Edinburgh first edition published in 1774. Although William Gray's daughter Margaret reported to the Scottish minister John Erskine that there were some 200 unsold copies of the Edinburgh edition as late as 1786, the interruption of communication and trade that took place in the War of Independence barred these copies from being shipped to America for sale. Noticing that there was no second edition, Draper and Folsom probably sought to capitalize on the combination of a strong demand in New England, that there would not be any competition coming from British imports, and that they could market a cheaper version of the book. While this is admittedly a speculative analysis, especially since I have yet to locate an advertised price for the Draper and Folsom reprint to compare it with the Edinburgh edition to substantiate my claim about the former being a cheaper version, it represents a plausible interpretation that can be made from studying the history of publications.

Another interesting difference between the Folsom and Draper reprint and the first edition published by William Gray is the way that the two books were bound. The Draper and Folsom reprint, in the image on the left below, is clearly smaller in size. My particular copy was bound on calfskin, with raised bands, gilt lines, and lettering on the spine. The larger copy of William Gray's edition of A History of the Work of Redemption to the right was bound on sheepskin, which was a poorer quality material than calfskin, but it displays a more advanced "tree" style marbling that would have been stained by the finisher with pearl ash and copperas. Since this first edition was published in 1774, it fits very well within the period when this style of binding was popular in Britain, from 1770 until the end of the eighteenth century.
Two editions of A History of the Work of Redemption--Draper and Folsom (Boston, 1782) and W. Gray (Edinburgh, 1774)

I bought Isaiah Thomas's 1792 Worcester edition of A History of the Work of Redemption (the third book from the left in the image at the top of this post) because there is an an interesting story behind the scenes that took place when this book was published. After Jonathan Edwards died in 1758, his son Jonathan Edwards, Jr. eventually began working with the Edinburgh minister John Erskine to publish some of his father's manuscript writings. The first book published in this collaboration was the 1774 Edinburgh edition of A History of the Work of Redemption, originally a sermon series delivered by Edwards in 1739. Edwards, Jr. transcribed his father's manuscript, and sent it to Scotland for Erskine to edit into a continuous book. While editing it in Edinburgh, Erskine secured the services of a local bookseller named William Gray to publish it in 1774. Although two other editions of A History of the Work of Redemption had come out between the time of the 1774 first edition and Thomas's 1792 edition (including the Draper and Folsom 1782 reprint), Edwards, Jr. threatened to sue Thomas for illegally printing his father's work without offering him any copyright money or royalties. I have designated a place in my introduction to talk about this episode, but the short story is that Thomas curtly replied to Edwards, Jr. that the American Copyright Act of 1790 did not apply to him since the original British copyright for this book lapsed in 1788, and that American booksellers and printers could not be prosecuted for publishing foreign books.

The fifth image from the left is of Edwards's Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, first published in 1746. I talk quite a bit about this edition in my book because some 1,300 subscriptions had been taken for it, and it was printed on especially white paper, which I suggest came from a captured Spanish vessel during the War of Austrian Succession (1740-48) that was brought to port in Philadelphia. The brief synopsis of why I think that the paper in this book came from this captured ship is that Benjamin Franklin reported receiving a large stock of paper from this ship, selling off large portions of his supply to members of the colonial Boston book trade. I have found that during the years 1743 to 1746, several Boston printers (including Samuel Kneeland) issued pamphlets and books on very nice white, watermarked paper that can be traced to the Iberian Peninsula. In the image below, you can see Samuel Kneeland's typical "Cambridge panel" style of binding on the boards, with blind tooling and corner floral designs. Many of the books that Kneeland printed showcase this style of blind tooling that had been popular in England, from the late seventeenth century to about the 1740s.

Skipping to the far right image of books on my shelf is the two-volume set of Samuel Hopkins's System of Doctrines, published by Isaiah Thomas and his partner Ebenezer Andrews in 1793. Once I finish my monograph on how Edwards's works were published in the 18th century, I plan on writing an article on the publication of Hopkins's monumental systematic theology of the New Divinity movement. There is a ton that I could say about this book, including the huge subscription list and section of "Free Blacks" who subscribed, the cost of its publication, and some of the strategies that Thomas and Andrews employed to save costs during its printing. I am also intrigued by Hopkins's statement in his Sketches of the Life of the Late Rev. Samuel Hopkins, edited by Stephen West in 1805, that he received $900 in copyright money from Thomas and Andrews.

Rather than talk about these details, I simply want to highlight a key feature in my two-volume set. One of the most interesting aspects of my copy of Hopkins's System of Doctrines is a bookplate pasted to the recto of the title page to the second volume, opposite the table of contents. The bookplate indicates that this particular two-volume set belonged at one time to John Folsom's circulating library in Boston at No. 30 Union Street. This is the same Folsom who reprinted A History of the Work of Redemption in 1782. The bookplate further gives the conditions for becoming a member of the circulating library, stating that patrons would pay two dollars per quarter, which would allow them to borrow two books at a time for no longer than one month. Non-members could also borrow books and pamphlets, but at a higher cost, and only for one week. Finally, there is a notable statement about the conditions of borrowing books, letting patrons know that "Any Book lost, abused, leaves folded down, written upon, or torn, must be paid for; and if it belong to a set, the whole must be taken and paid for, or reasonable compensation made, and for the loan of it, up to the time of payment." If you look at the image of the spine on my set in the image above, you will notice the gilded number 52 at the bottom of the first volume. My first guess was that this number indicates that it was the fifty-second book in Folsom's circulating library, and shelved chronologically next to the other books that belonged there. However, in John W. Folsom's Catalogue of Books for Sale and Circulation... (Boston, [1794?]), Hopkins's System of Doctrines is listed as number 119 (out of 1086). So, I need to do some more research on the binding and lettering of my copy of the volumes.

Stay tuned for more posts on Jonathan Edwards and Transatlantic Print Culture.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Bebbington Festschrift

My apologies for not posting in a very loooooong time. In my defense, I have been extremely busy. Last year I went through the arduous process of applying (successfully) for early promotion to associate professor, and also earned the additional title of UC Foundation professor. In the meantime, my family and I have been busy with the building of a house in the Chattanooga area. In nearly twenty years of marriage, my wife and I have never lived in one place longer than two years. Our hope is that we can finally break that cycle once our home is built.

Taking up most of my time lately has been my next book project entitled, Jonathan Edwards and Transatlantic Print Culture, which will be published with Oxford University Press, probably at some point in 2017. I have made a lot of progress on this book over the summer, thanks to the insight that I gained from my William Reese Fellowship at the University of Virginia's Rare Book School (RBS). For the first part of my fellowship, I took a RBS course in early July entitled "The History of the Book in America, c.1700-1830" with Jim Green, the librarian of the Library Company of Philadelphia (founded by Benjamin Franklin). For the second part of my fellowship, I traveled to Charlottesville, where I served on the RBS staff for a week in late July, assisting Professor Michael Winship of the University of Texas at Austin with his class on "Reading Publishers' Archives for the Study of the American Book." I owe a lot to Jim Green and Michael Winship for helping me with aspects of my research on the publications of Jonathan Edwards's works. Winship in particular, helped me decode the very confusing account book of the Boston bookseller Daniel Henchman, who published Edwards's The Life of Brainerd in 1749. I intend on blogging at some point in the near future on some of my research, but for now I will just say that I have uncovered an extraordinary amount of interesting details with regard to the publication of Edwards's books, including some very interesting people who played a crucial role behind the scenes in seeing his works printed. Most recently, I discovered that the English Baptist minister John Ryland, Jr. published two manuscript sermons by Edwards at the turn of the 19th century that until now have not been documented. I also am working with UTC's GIS manager in plotting the geographical locations of the people in America who subscribed for Freedom of the Will (1754), Original Sin (1758), and two later editions of The History of the Work of Redemption and Religious Affections. For those of you in the Chicago area this fall, please feel free to come to my talk at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School  on October 13, when I will share more about my research on Edwards's publications.

My second summer project is an essay on eighteenth-century evangelical Calvinists that will appear in the Oxford Handbook to Calvinism, edited by Bruce Gordon and Carl R. Trueman, in late 2016.

But enough about my projects, I wanted to alert people to the recently-published festschrift entitled, Pathways and Patterns in History: Essays on Baptists, Evangelicals, and the Modern World in Honour of David Bebbington. Published in the UK by Spurgeon's College and the Baptist Historical Society, the book contains essays by Mark Noll, Tim Larsen, Thomas Kidd, John Coffey, Ian Randall, Brian Stanley, John Wolffe, and several others (including me). To purchase your copy, click on the link above.