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Creation Dates

1522 - 1760






Other names

Index Rerum

Textbooks, school copy booksThere are 5 items

  • Erasmus (Desiderius), c. 1466-1536

    Basel, Johann Froben, 1522 (August)
    First authorised edition of Erasmus’ early pedagogical work “On the Writing of letters”, begun some thirty years previously, complemented by his collection of aphorisms or “Parallels” gathered out of Plutarch’s Moralia, Seneca, Lucian, Xenophon, Demosthenes, Aristotle, Pliny, and Theophrastus. Numerous later editions were printed of both schoolbooks; however the texts printed here are the basis of modern critical editions.
  • Cassander (Georgius), 1513-1566

    Paris, Guillaume Richard, 1543
    The earliest known edition of this popular textbook, dividing rhetoric into three parts: invention, disposition, and elocution (omitting pronunciation and memory), each introduced in a series of questions and answers explicated by examples, followed by some precepts of composition. Three other copies can be traced ● Grenoble, Bibliothèque municipale, F 3492 CGA ● New Haven, Yale University, 2001.635 ● Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, 8° 20461-5.
  • Palatino (Giovanni Battista), c. 1510-c. 1575

    Rome, Girolama Cartolari, 1543 (2 October)
    Second edition of Palatino’s enormously popular calligraphy book, noted for its examples of cursive chancery scripts, mercantile hands, and national hands, but including non-western scripts (Hebrew, Chaldean, Arabic, Greek, Egyptian, Syrian, Indian, Cyrillic, etc.), a rebus, and cipher alphabets, as well as “Lettera Mancina” (right-to-left handwriting, of the kind practised by Leonardo). Only four other copies of the edition can be located ● Bergamo, Biblioteca civica “Angelo Mai” ● Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum ● Rome, Biblioteca nazionale Centrale Vittorio Emanuele II ● Turin, Biblioteca Reale. The present copy was bound at Augsburg about 1560 in a style inspired by Italian models. On the upper cover, displayed within a double-ruled-lozenge, is a stamp (height 19 mm) of the civic insignia of Augsburg, the “Stadtpyr” or “Zirbelnuss” (pine cone) set on a column base.
  • Iciar (Juan de), c. 1522-after 1572

    Saragossa, Pedro Bernúz, 1550 (23 July)
    The Arte subtilissima is the revised second edition of the first calligraphy and handwriting manual published in Spain. The woodblocks of the first edition (1548) are re-employed, except for three; twenty-four “Tablas mas estudiadas y mas esmeradas que antes” are added, and these enlarge the book by two gatherings (sixteen leaves). One of the new blocks is dated 1547, seven are dated 1550, and sixteen are undated. J.P.R. Lyell’s complaint that Iciar’s writing books were “thumbed out of existence” is validated by modern bibliographical tools: ten copies of the 1548 first edition, some just fragments, are recorded in public collections worldwide. Our 1550 second edition is less rare, but equally difficult to find complete and in good condition: twelve copies are recorded public collections, of which at least four are incomplete.
  • American Mathematical Textbooks 1760-1850


    A substantial collection of American textbooks of arithmetic, algebra, and geometry, including representative selections of primers combining lessons in spelling, reading, and writing with arithmetic, designated for use in schools, academies, and lyceums; textbooks of natural philosophy, astronomy, and mathematical geography specified for use in colleges; and ready-reckoners and other books of tables intended for tradesmen. Although textbooks for all levels of instruction are offered, the collection is strongest in those prepared for use in elementary and secondary schools. The reform of mathematical education through the introduction of “Pestalozzian” or child-centred methods of instruction is thus amply documented.

    The collection was built using as a guide Louis C. Karpinski’s magisterial Bibliography of mathematical works printed in America through 1850 (Ann Arbor 1940, with three supplements published 1941-1954). Karpinski investigated the holdings of more than one hundred libraries and found that nine had purposefully collected in this field. According to his tabulated analysis, our collection would have occupied sixth rank, nearly approximating the holdings of Columbia University, exceeding those of Boston Public Library and New York Public Library.

    We offer 269 different works, plus 192 subsequent editions, for a total of 511 printed books, and in addition five manuscript ciphering and exercise books. Thirty-three eighteenth-century books are offered, fifty-five printed 1801-1810, sixty-five printed 1811-1820, ninety-five printed 1821-1830, 129 printed 1831-1840, 124 printed 1841-1850, and ten printed post-1850. Forty-one books in the collection are editions not recorded by Karpinski. Twenty-six books represent editions not yet recorded in the American Bibliography 1801-1819 (New York 1958-1966) and Checklist of American Imprints 1820-1844 (New York, Metuchen & London 1964-1993), the principal bibliographical tools available for the study of nineteenth-century American books. Another seventeen books in the collection have imprints different to those stated in the Checklist.

    With few exceptions, the books are offered in original condition and in original bindings, and the collection is thus of interest also to historians of the book. Textbooks published in the period before 1820 commonly were offered in three styles of binding: scaleboard (a shingle of wood, backed with leather, finished with either blue paper or marbled paper on covers), leather-backed boards covered by marbled paper, and full leather. In this collection, twenty books are in scaleboard bindings, forty-five in paper boards finished with marbled paper, and 259 in full-leather, the most expensive (and durable) binding. About 1820, a type of publishers’ binding with printed covers became popular. Eighty-nine books are in such bindings, the earliest published in 1815, and several of these binding contribute valuable bibliographical evidence. A few books still retain coverings in cloth and paper fashioned by pupils to protect them from wear.

    As a rule, textbooks have been inscribed, drawn-on, or otherwise marked, more consistently than most books, by readers who are not usually purchasers. Few owners failed to write at least their names on the endleaves; many pupils added incantations against borrowers and thieves of books, sentimental verses of affection to other students, comments upon their classmates and teachers, drawings, rubbings of coins, pen trails and scrolls. Textbooks preserved in libraries are routinely rebound and this evidence of ownership discarded, to the detriment of scholarship.

    For example, forty books in this collection have ownership inscriptions by girls. When mathematics became inserted in the elementary curriculum, it was taught to boys and girls alike, however girls did not progress to study algebra and geometry. Ownership entries in books in this collection suggests that the moment of transition, when the stereotype of the non-mathematical feminine mind eroded sufficiently for algebra and geometry to be taught to girls, occurred about 1840. This early date contradicts suppositions about the elementary curriculum made recently by several historians.