Friday, 2 October 2015

More Cool Antiquarian Books!

Today, I am reporting on three antiquarian books that arrived in the mail within the last week. This will (most likely) be my last purchases for the foreseeable future since my personal and professional book budget is nearly depleted at this point.

Remarks on Important Theological Controversies (Edinburgh, 1796)--Signed by Jonathan Edwards, Jr. in 1797

Book #1: Remarks on Important Theological Controversies
Arguably, the coolest book that arrived by post a few days ago is a first edition of Remarks on Important Theological Controversies, published at Edinburgh in 1796. This is the last posthumous book by Edwards that his son Jonathan Edwards, Jr. transcribed and sent to John Erskine at Edinburgh to edit and publish. For this second volume of Jonathan Edwards Sr.'s "Miscellanies," Edwards, Jr. made arrangements once again to have the Edinburgh bookseller Margaret Gray publish this posthumous book. Through Erskine's influence, Margaret and her father William had been the leading publishers of Edwards's books in Scotland in the latter half of the century. William Gray's first Edwards publication was a 1765 edition of The Life of David Brainerd. Later, in 1774, he published the first edition of A History of the Work of Redemption, which represents the first posthumous work that Edwards, Jr. and Erskine collaborated in transcribing and editing.

After William Gray died in the mid-1780s, his daughter Margaret took over the family bookselling business and began publishing more of Edwards's writings at Edinburgh. The first book by Edwards that she published was Sermons on Various Important Subjects in 1785. This volume included all five sermons in Edwards's Discourses on Various Important Subjects, published at Boston in 1738, plus "God Glorified in the Work of Redemption,""Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," and his "Farewell Sermon." Margaret Gray later reprinted A History of the Work of Redemption in 1788 and 1793. She also published a series of never before printed Practical Sermons by Edwards in 1788. In 1789, she published Edwards's Twenty Sermons, which included the same set of fifteen Sermons on the Following Subjects that Edwards, Jr. transcribed and had printed at Hartford in 1780, plus "A Divine and Supernatural Light," "The Church's Marriage to Her Sons, and to Her God" "True Saints, When Absent from the Body, Are Present with the Lord," "God's Awful Judgement in the Breaking and Withering of the Strong Rods of a Community," and "True Grace Distinguished from the Experience of Devils." Her final book by Edwards was Miscellaneous Observations on Important Subjects, the first volume of edited Miscellanies, published in 1793.

When Margaret Gray died one year later, her apprentice James Galbraith partnered with an up-and-coming bookseller named Archibald Constable, who would go on to be Sir Walter Scott's chief publisher, to issue Remarks on Important Theological Controversies in 1796. Although Erskine hoped that Edwards, Jr. would transcribe a third volume of his father's Miscellanies to be published in Scotland, the son could not find the time to complete a third volume. Edwards, Jr. had recently relocated from New Haven to Colebrook, Connecticut to be a pastor of a church from 1795 until 1799. He then took a position as the president of Union College in Schenectady, New York before passing away in 1801. With all of these changes, it seems that he could not carve out some time to complete a third volume of father's Miscellanies.

The copy of Remarks on Important Theological Controversies that I recently purchased is not only valuable to me because it is the last book by Edwards that his son transcribed and published, but it also happens to be Edwards, Jr.'s personal copy! On the flyleaf page, you can see that Jonathan Edwards, Jr. signed his name in 1797 (before being passed on to Mary Edwards). The book was bound in calfskin, and on the back board, you can see that it showcases a "tree" style staining, whereby the finisher would use a mixture of pearl ash and copperas to create a tree shape pattern. This kind of elaborate binding style seems fitting for a presentation copy to the editor of this work.

Book #2: Religious Affections, Second Edition (Boston, 1768)
Religious Affections (New York, 1768)
Another book that I added to my collection this week is the second edition of Edwards's Treatise Concerning Religious Affections, reprinted at New York by James Parker for the bookseller Garrat Noel. I have been wanting a copy of this particular book because of the history behind this publication. The August 4, 1768 issue of The New-York Journal advertised Noel's second edition as "neatly bound" and on "handsome type" for eight shillings. I concur with this advertisement, that the book is attractively bound, especially for a colonial book. Later, this book was reissued by the London bookseller George Keith. Although Keith called his book the "fourth edition," there is no doubt that it is a reissue of Noel's second edition falsely advertised on the title page. I think that what happened in this case is that Noel's second edition did not sell well, and so he probably sold his remainder copies to Keith, who remarked them falsely as the "fourth edition" to unsuspecting Londoners.

Book #3: Religious Affections (Elizabethtown, 1787)
Religious Affections (1787) on mottled calfskin, made by sponging the boards with acid or dyes
This final book that arrived in the mail this week is also significant to my research on the history of Edwards's publications. This particular edition of Religious Affections was printed in Elizabethtown by Shepard Kollock for the New York bookseller Robert Hodge. I have posted about Hodge before, saying that he had such great success publishing a new edition of A History of the Work of Redemption in 1786, that he decided to sponsor a new edition of Religious Affections one year later. This edition of Religious Affections, however, was not as successful. Whereas 476 people subscribed for 736 copies of his edition of A History of the Work of Redemption, only 308 people subscribed for 462 copies of his edition of Religious Affections.

I am currently working with UTC's GIS manager Andy Carroll to plot four of Edwards's subscription lists, including those found in Hodge's editions of A History of the Work of Redemption and Religious Affections. I hope to share our work soon, but for now, I will end this post by showing you that my copy was formerly owned by the Newark minister Uzal Ogden, a subscriber for the book, who signed his name above the title page, and indicated that he paid the subscription price of ten shillings at the time that it was published in 1787.
Uzal Ogden signs his name in 1787 above the title page, and the price of 10s. that he paid
Ogden's name appears on the subscription page in the "O" section

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