The history collections have traditionally been strong and remain so today. All aspects of this broad and multi-faceted discipline are represented in the rare book collections. Particular emphasis is given to American and English political, legal, social and economic history from the sixteenth century onward. There are, however, a number of important books and tracts on French political theory and statecraft. A fine collection of "Mazarinades" the prose and verse tracts issued against Cardinal Mazarin, are present. The Americana collections constitute a major resource, with travel and exploration of the North American continent being most prevalent. Works that represent travel in America prior to the American Revolution include Pierre Francois Xavier de Charlevoix's Histoire et Description Generale de la Nouvelle France (1744), John Lawson's The History of Carolina (1714), and Peter Kalm's Travels into North America (1770-1771). Post-revolutionary works include Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia (1794), Francois Jean, Marquis de Chastellux's Voyage . . .dans l'Amerique Septentrionale dans les Annees 1780, 1781, & 1782 (1786), and John Filson's The Discovery, Settlement. . .of Kentucke (1784). Nineteenth-century works include Zebulon Pike's An Account of Expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi (1810), and Charles Dickens' American Notes (1842).
Delawareana focuses on every facet of the State of Delaware, including its settlement in 1638 by the Swedes and its significance as the first state to sign the United States Constitution. The collections contain manuscripts, family histories, catalogs, maps, prints, broadsides, and a host of other materials that document the history of this region.
Alice D. Schreyer
Head, Special Collections
Nathaniel H. Puffer
Assistant Director of Libraries
for Collection Development
New Englands Prospect. London: John Bellamie, 1635.
First published in 1634, this is the earliest topographical account of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Written by a resident during the years 1629 to 1633, it contained the first detailed map of the southern part of New England. Wood described the country, its people and settlements in the first part of his work and limited the second part to observations on the Indians. New Englands Prospect was well written, and it proved popular enough to be reprinted several times.
Leviathan, or the Matter, Forme, & Power of a Common-Wealth, Ecclesiasticall and Civill. London: Andrew Crooke, 1651.
Leviathan provoked an immediate storm of controversy - one that was to long outlive its provocateur by its refutation of Aristotle's doctrine of the essential "sociability" of man and by its contradiction of the individualist tendencies of both the Renaissance and the Reformation. The philosophies espoused in Leviathan have never been wholly embraced by either the political left or right, yet the powerful influence they exerted on the philosophies of Spinoza, Leibniz, Bentham, and Mill is undeniable.
By the time of the publication of Leviathan, Hobbes was already a famous and somewhat controversial personality. His translation of Thucydides (1629) and his publications, De Cive (1642), Human Nature (1650), and De Corpore Politico (1650) had gained him wide notoriety and respect, as well as a considerable number of opponents, especially for his much criticized De Cive. Hobbes made the acquaintance of and corresponded with a number of noted personalities of his time, including Galileo and Descartes. He was tutor to Charles II and patronized by the powerful Cavendish family. Despite being well connected, however, he provoked the enmity of both the English court and the French clergy, and continued to gain detractors among both his countrymen and abroad. His works were censored and condemned, some finding their way onto the Index of prohibited books.
Leviathan was instantly attacked by republicans, royalists and clergy alike. After the appearance of the first edition, the Licensers forbade any further printing. Of course, banning a book is the surest way of creating a greater demand than the supply can fill. With many censored works, spurious editions begin to circulate to meet the demand. And so with Hobbes' Leviathan, there are three editions bearing the imprint "Printed for Andrew Crooke at the Green Dragon in St. Paul's Church-yard, 1651." The true first edition can be identified by the woodcut ornament on the printed title page, which shows a winged head flanked by pots of flowers within a device of scrolls and tassels.
The copy exhibited is a first edition that once belonged to Sir Philip Warwick, a political writer and contemporary of Hobbes. Sir Philip's signature appears on either side of the winged head ornament, with commentary written in the same hand in the lower margin.
Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates
An Account of Two Voyages to New-England. London: Printed for Giles Widdows, 1674.
Josselyn's observations are based on a residence in New England in 1638-39 and 1663-71, and his work is among the earliest on the natural history of the region. An extensive and quite accurate catalog of the fauna and flora of the region makes up much of the text.
Little is known of Josselyn's background, but the evidence within An Account of Two Voyages and his earlier work New England Rarities (1672) indicates that he was well educated and may very well have been trained as a surgeon and physician. His observations on the state of medicine have been highly valued.
An Enquiry into the Causes of the Alienation of the Delaware and Shawanese Indians. London: J. Wilkie, 1759.
Orphaned while en route to America from his native Ireland, Thomson landed in New Castle, Delaware, in 1739. He attended the academy of Dr. Francis Alison at New London, Pennsylvania. It was this same academy that moved to Newark, Delaware, and eventually became the University of Delaware.
Thomson earned a reputation for integrity and fairness among the Indians and was even adopted by the Delaware Tribe. It was from these experiences that this important frontier narrative came Thomson became very active in Pennsylvania politics and was chosen secretary of the Continental Congress in 1774, a post which he held until 1789.
Gift in memory of Albert N. Raub, President of Delaware College 1888-1896
Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies. Philadelphia: David Hall and William Sellers, 1768.
In a series of carefully composed letters originally published anonymously in the Pennsylvania Chronicle beginning December 3, 1767, colonial American statesman, John Dickinson, outlined his grievances toward the British regulation of American freedoms. These letters created a great sensation throughout the colonies, and were immediately reprinted in pamphlets and newspapers in America. John Dickinson's Letters from a Farmer became the most popular, influential, and widely read Political statement of the American revolutionary period until the publication of Thomas Paine's Common Sense in 1776.
John Dickinson had close ties to both Pennsylvania and Delaware, and throughout his career he served in political office alternately in both states. Letters from a Farmer, written in the idealized persona of an industrious, peace-loving, and frugal American gentleman farmer, represents the two sides of Dickinson's personality: Dickinson the libertarian, American patriot; and Dickinson the conservative, propertied British subject.
Exhibited here is the first edition in book form, which came out in March, 1768. By June four other editions were published in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. London and Dublin editions appeared by the end of the year, and many new editions in the colonies were published in 1769. Also housed in the Special Collections of the University of Delaware Library is the second book appearance of Letters from a Farmer, published by Mein and Fleming of Boston in the same month as the first Philadelphia edition.
Common Sense. Boston: Edes & Gill and T. & J. Fleet, 1776.
Paine's famous treatise is an eloquent piece of propagandizing demagoguery, written not for the minds of political diplomacy, but for the hearts of an enraged public tired of listening to reason. Paine, seeing and feeling the frustrations of an America kept from power by a British political system based on privilege and peerage, seized on the image of America as an archetypal New World capable of breaking the cycle and starting anew. "The cause of America," Paine wrote, "is in a great measure the cause of mankind." Common Sense did more to fan the flames of rebellion than any other piece of writing during the American revolutionary era.
Common Sense was published anonymously by Robert Bell in Philadelphia in January of 1776, just over a year after Thomas Paine's arrival in America and six months before the Declaration of Independence. Its powerful influence and popularity are staggering. By the end of the year, over twenty different editions had appeared in both America and Britain, and sales easily topped 100,000 copies that year. The Declaration of Independence shows the influence of Paine, and the Legislature of Pennsylvania awarded the author five hundred pounds for his contribution to the cause of American liberty. The copy exhibited is one of the numerous editions published in 1776, this one reprinted by Edes & Gill and Fleet.
The North American Atlas. London: William Faden, 1776.
William Faden was an English cartographer and map publisher who produced some remarkably fine engraved maps. He was associated with the important map publisher, Thomas Jefferys, whom Faden succeeded in business after Jefferys' death in 1771, becoming Geographer to His Majesty and the Prince of Wales. It was in Faden's workshop that the first sheets of the maps of the Ordnance Survey were engraved at the end of the eighteenth century. Faden's catalog of 1822 lists over 350 publications, including maps, globes, city and military plans and atlases. His most valuable publication is his North American Atlas. It was not Faden's practice to publish atlases with a printed title page or table of contents, although the latter was usually added in manuscript. Instead his atlases were made up of collections of maps, both his own and others, to suit the collector's requirements.
This copy of the North American Atlas has a handwritten list of contents and a printed title page, dated 1776, although the maps date from 1770 to 1780. The Atlas contains thirty-nine colored maps, several of which are Revolutionary battle plans, some showing troop movements.
Wilmington: Printed by Jacob A. Killen, [1787?]. Broadside.
Joshua Gilpin, the son of Thomas Gilpin, a wealthy Quaker merchant in Philadelphia, established the first paper mill in Delaware in 1787. A converted snuff mill, it was located on the Brandywine Creek a few miles north of Wilmington. The first public notice of the mill was an appeal for rags by Joshua Gilpin & Company which appeared in the Delaware Courant on May 12, 1787. The first paper was manufactured in June 1787. It is uncertain whether the broadside described above was printed before or after the advertisement in the Delaware Courant, but it certainly appeared before June 1787.
The broadside is unrecorded in all bibliographies of eighteenth-century American printing, and this appears to be the only known copy.
Travels Through North & South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida. London: James and Johnson, 1791.
William Bartram was an accomplished naturalist and talented artist. He traveled widely, particularly in the southeastern United States. Florida was a land that held particular enchantment for him and he spent a considerable time there between the years 1765 and 1777. Travels, however, is an account of his second trip to the southeast, made during the years 1773-77.
Bartram accurately recorded the activities of Indians, described the flora and fauna in their natural habitats and gathered plant specimens to send to colleagues in Europe. He listed 215 species of birds, with notes on their migratory and breeding habits, the most complete list of its kind to be done. Travels is a moving and wonderful narrative. It was an immediate success and had a much wider audience in England and America than was to be anticipated.
Memoires de la Vie Privee de Benjamin Franklin, ecrits par lui-meme. Paris: Buisson, 1791. The Private Life of the Late Benjamin Franklin . Originally Written by Himself, and Now Translated from the French. London: J. Parsons, 1793.
The memoirs of Benjamin Franklin are among the most widely read of all American autobiographies. The memoir was originally begun in 1771 as a letter to Franklin's illegitimate son, William, the last royal governor of New Jersey. The remainder was composed much later in Franklin's life and published after his death. Despite the long and complicated history of the autobiography's composition and publication, it remains a fine example of Franklin's expository writing and one of the most influential works in American literature.
When Franklin died on April 17, 1790, his grandson, William Temple Franklin, became his literary executor. Temple Franklin had ambitious plans for the publication of his grandfather's manuscripts, but his "official" version did not appear until 1818. Early in 1791, however, a French translation of the first part of Franklin's memoirs appeared in Paris, representing the first printed edition of Franklin's autobiography. How the French publisher, Buisson, obtained a copy of the manuscript is still a matter of conjecture. Although Temple Franklin was not pleased, two translations from the French were printed in London in 1793.
It was not until 1868 that John Bigelow, former American Minister to France, published an edition which included all four of the parts, rigorously based on the original Franklin manuscripts which Bigelow had purchased.
The copies exhibited here are the first French edition of 1791 and the first English edition of 1793. The English edition is here bound with a biography of Rev. Richard Price, a very close friend of Franklin's.
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects. Boston: Printed by Peter Edes for Thomas and Andrews, 1792.
Long before the women's movement or women's suffrage, there was Mary Wollstonecraft's Rights of Woman. Wollstonecraft was a progressive thinker and an outspoken advocate of the equality of the sexes. Like many pioneers struggling against outdated but dearly held conventions, she suffered much harsh criticism and never lived to see her ideals come to fruition. Always independent, Wollstonecraft had started and operated a school, and then worked as a governess before settling down to a literary career. In 1787, she became literary advisor to the publisher John Johnson of London. During this time she also wrote children's stories, a novel and some translations, and in 1792 Johnson published her now famous Vindication of the Rights of Woman.
Wollstonecraft's tract, written in simple and direct language, is a declaration of the rights of women to equality of education and civil opportunities, from which "they are unjustly denied a share." This stand provoked a bitter outcry, from which she escaped by going to France to observe the Revolution, and where she remained throughout the Reign of Terror. Later, she met and married the political philosopher, William Godwin, but died soon after giving birth to their daughter, Mary, who later married the poet Shelley and became famous as the author of Frankenstein.
The copy exhibited is the second American edition, published in the same year as Johnson's London edition and the first American edition, which was printed in Philadelphia by William Gibbons.
The Farmer's Almanac. Boston, 1792- .
The Farmer's Almanac, today called The Old Farmer's Almanac, was certainly not the first, or only, or favorite American almanac, but on a national scale it was and remains the best known of all almanacs. The first number of The Farmer's Almanac, for the year 1793, appeared late in 1792, and publication has continued every year without a break to the present day. The Almanac consists of all kinds of practical, useful, trivial, and sometimes nonsensical information, including the "Farmer's Calendar," weather forecasts, planting, gestation and reproductive tables, fish and game laws, anecdotes, poems, recipes, and other curious bits, all appropriately adorned with woodcuts.
The first issue of 1793 sold 3,000 copies, the following year's was increased to 9,000 copies, and by the time of Thomas' death nearly a quarter of a million copies were being sold annually. Thomas harvested a tremendous fortune from the publication of his annual, and after his death two nephews continued the operation, changing the name to Old Farmer's Almanac in 1848. The Almanac remained a family business until 1904 and is still offering advice to farmers and everyone else almost 200 years later.
The issues exhibited are numbers one through ten, spanning the years 1793 to 1802. The change in the title-page ornament in 1797 reflects the change in printer from Joseph Belknap to Manning & Loring, and the change in copyright ownership from Thomas to John West, a bookseller in Boston.
The History of Printing in America with a Biography of Printers, and an Account of Newspapers. Worcester, Massachusetts: Isaiah Thomas, 1810. 2 volumes.
Isaiah Thomas was the leading publisher of his time and one of its leading citizens. He began his career as a printer's apprentice and established his publishing enterprise in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1775, when the British occupation of Boston finally drove him from that city. He was active in the War of Independence both as a minuteman at Lexington and Concord and as a patriot printer.
More than 400 titles printed in thousands of copies and many editions were published by Isaiah Thomas. The quality of his work caused fellow printer and patriot, Benjamin Franklin, to call him the "Baskerville of America." The works that Thomas published included religious, educational and historical books as well as many children's books.
In 1802, Thomas retired to devote himself to scholarship and the writing of this famous treatise on printing in America, which was printed by August 14, 1810. The book was based upon Thomas' personal research and knowledge of printers and their craft in eighteenth-century America. It is the most significant early work on the subject and is still recognized as the authority on printing in this country between 1640 and 1800.
Part of the edition was issued in printed boards and did not include the portrait frontispiece. At some later date the remainder of the edition was bought by W. Gowans in sheets, which Gowans then had bound and reissued for sale, probably sometime after Thomas' death. The portrait of the author done by Marchant was taken from a painting by Greenwood executed in 1818, and was probably printed sometime between 1825 and 1837 by Pendleton's Lithography in Boston.
The copy exhibited has the name of Roberts Vaux on the title page of each volume and was a part of his library. Roberts Vaux was a prominent Philadelphian of the early nineteenth century, active in penal reform and the temperance movement. He also assisted in the organization of the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Franklin Institute, the Athenaeum and the Historical Society of Philadelphia.
Also exhibited is a letter from Isaiah Thomas to the Reverend Dr. Lothrop dated April 15, 1793. This communication concerns Thomas' publication of a sermon written by Lothrop, and is particularly revealing of the relationship between Thomas the printer and publisher and his clients.
Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates
History of the Expeditions Under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark . . . to the Pacific Ocean. Philadelphia: Bradford and Inskeep, 1814. 2 volumes.
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark made their historic journey from May 1804--five months after President Jefferson's decision to purchase the Louisiana territory from France--to September 1806, literally opening the West to American exploration and settlement. The first official account of the journey did not appear in print until eight years after the expedition's return to St. Louis.
Captain Lewis was supposed to have edited the journals for publication, but he met with an untimely death, probably by murder, while traveling through Tennessee in 1809. The task then fell to Clark, who asked the Philadelphia lawyer Nicholas Biddle, to complete the job. Biddle agreed, but soon passed the work on to Paul Allen, a Philadelphia journalist. The journals were finally edited and made ready for publication in 1812, but were not published until February 20, 1814. Originally, an edition of 2,000 was to be printed, but when missing copies were tallied and defective copies weeded out, only 1,417 remained. These sold at six dollars a copy. The Biddle-Allen revision of the Lewis and Clark journals left intact the raw quality of diaries written in the wilderness, retaining their sense of danger and high adventure.
Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates
Leavenworth City, K[ansas] T[erritory]: L. J. Eastin, 1859.
Lucian Johnston Eastin (1814-1874), editor of the Kansas Weekly Herald, issued this guide as an advertising promotion for Leavenworth City. Aimed primarily at the gold prospector, this eight page publication in newspaper format contains a Map of the Gold Mines and Three Prominent Routes Leading Thereto,a Table of Distances for the three routes from point to point, gold news, descriptions of the country and its climate, information about camping grounds, wood and water, details and cost of a miner's outfit (all of which can be acquired, of course, at Leavenworth City), and a history of the city itself.
According to the advertising, at least 20,000 copies were subscribed for. They were sold for ten cents per hundred copies, plus postage. Eastin claimed that, "it is the cheapest work ever published. The map alone is worth the money." The map was devised by Major F. Hawn and O. B. Gunn, and engraved by Connor and Hussey of St Louis. This copy of the Guide is uncut, and is one of only two known surviving copies (the other is in the Western History Department of the Denvcr Public Library). The text has been reprinted in facsimile from the Denver copy by Dr. Nolic Mumey of Denver, with notes by LeRoy R. Hafen.
A Proclamation, known as the "Emancipation Proclamation." [Philadelphia: Frederick Leypoldt, ca. June 6,1864]. Broadside.
On January 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln granted freedom to all slaves in states then in rebellion, with the exception of Tennessee, southern Louisiana, and parts of Virginia. As stated in the body of the text, the proclamation was a war measure based on the president's prerogatives as commander- in-chief in times of armed rebellion. Despite its intent as a war tactic and the exclusion of various states and parts of states, the president's proclamation nevertheless stands as a milestone in the ending of all slavery in the United States and as an expression of the freedom embodied in the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
Although personally opposed to the institution of slavery, Lincoln had resisted any direct action against it for fear of encouraging the border states to secede, his first priority in the conflict being the maintenance of the Union rather than the abolition of slavery. By the summer of 1862, however, the president could no longer ignore emancipation as a tactical maneuver against rebellion, and decided to act. Lincoln wrote the first draft of the preliminary proclamation in June 1862, but did not publish it until after the pivotal Battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862). This document, known as the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, was issued to the public on September nnouncing the intention to free slaves within the period of 100 days.
During the evening of December 31, 1862, President Lincoln began the final draft of the Proclamation and completed it on the morning of January 1, 1863, signing it later that evening. Lincoln was later to remark that this signing was the central act of his administration and the greatest event of the nineteenth century.
There were nine of official editions of the Proclamation printed, all in January of 1863. Numerous unofficial editions were printed afterward. The copy exhibited is the autographed edition of the much discussed Leland-Boker project. Two editions, which differ significantly from each other typographically, were printed in Philadelphia for George H. Boker and Charles Godfrey Leland by the printing firm of Frederick Leypoldt on or about May 20 for the first edition and June 6, 1864, for the second (autographed) edition. Twenty-four copies of the first edition and forty-eight of the second edition were printed.
The edition exhibited is signed by President Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward, and is attested to by the signature of Jno. G. Nicolay, "Priv. Sec. to the President." This was one of the forty-eight copies printed for Leland and Boker for sale as fundraisers at the Great Central Sanitary Fair in Philadelphia, June 7-29, 1864, with remaining copies either presented to libraries or sold at another benefit in Boston later in the year. This copy was printed on fine Whatman paper and bears the watermark "J Whatman 1861" on the lower lefthand side. Only about a score are known to exist today.
Gift of the Wilmington Institute Free Library
submitting the Thirteenth Amendment to the States. Printed document signed, completed in manuscript, dated February 1, 1865, 1 page.
The Emancipation Proclamation of January, 1863, declared free only those slaves in the rebellious states of the Confederacy. By the end of the war, no provision or law existed concerning the freedom of slaves owned by those who had been loyal to the Union. The legal status of the institution of slavery was by no means resolved, and it was generally recognized that an amendment to the Constitution was necessary to clarify the legality of what was a reality in practice. Various proposals for constitutional amendments had been offered in Congress even before the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. The final form of the resolution that was to become the Thirteenth Amendment was based almost word for word on the slavery prohibition embodied in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. This resolution, as submitted by Lyman Trumbull of Illinois, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was passed in the Senate on April 8, 1864, by a vote of 38 to 6. When the resolution reached the House on June 15, 1865, it failed to secure the requisite two-thirds vote, but after the re-election of President Lincoln in November of that year, it passed the House on January 31, 1865, by the narrow vote of 119 to 56 (8 representatives abstaining). The amendment was eventually ratified by three-fourths of the states, including eight that had formerly belonged to the Confederacy, and was declared adopted on December 6, 1865.
This copy of the resolution is signed by President Lincoln, Vice-President Hannibal Hamlin, and Speaker of the House, Schuyler Colfax, and is attested to by the signatures of John W. Forney, Secretary of the Senate, and Edward McPherson, Clark of the House. This copy is one of at least four known copies, and other signed copies may be in existence. The University's copy is probably unique in that the name of Hamlin is above that of Colfax, which comes first on other copies. The copy was reportedly discovered in a New Hampshire farm house attic in 1928 and was sold by Goodspeed's Bookshop in Boston to the Lincoln collector, Frank Tallman.
Gift of the Wilmington Institute Free Library