When the Reverend Manasseh Cutler visited Philadelphia in 1787, he paid his respects to the institution which had “become the public library of the University

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At the Instance of Benjamin Franklin: A Brief History of The Library Company of Philadelphia On July 1, 1731, Benjamin Franklin and a number of his fellow members of the Junto drew up “Articles of Agreement” to found a library. The Junto was a discussion group of young men seeking social, economic, intellectual, and political advancement. When they foundered on a point of fact, they needed a printed authority to settle the divergence of opinion. In colonial Pennsylvania at the time there were not many books. Standard English reference works were expensive and difficult to obtain. Franklin and his friends were mostly mechanics of moderate means. None alone could have afforded a representative library, nor, indeed, many imported books. By pooling their resources in pragmatic Franklinian fashion, they could. The contribution of each created the book capital of all. Fifty subscribers invested forty shillings each and promised to pay ten shillings a year thereafter to buy books and maintain a shareholder’s library. Thus “the Mother of all American Subscription Libraries” was established. A seal was decided upon with the device: “Two Books open, Each encompass’d with Glory, or Beams of Light, between which water streaming from above into an Urn below, thence issues at many Vents into lesser Urns, and Motto, circumscribing the whole, Communiter Bona profundere Deum est.” This translates freely: “To pour forth benefits for the common good is divine.” The silversmith Philip Syng engraved the seal. The first list of desiderata to stock the shelves was sent to London on March 31, 1732, and by autumn that order, less a few books found to be unobtainable, arrived. James Logan, “the best Judge of Books in these parts,” had assisted in the choice, and it was a representative one. Were one to draw up a list of the works most commonly found in colonial American – and probably provincial English – libraries, the early selection of the Library Company could serve as a pattern. In the earlier ecclesiastical and collegiate libraries of British America the choice of books was superimposed from without for theological or educational purposes and reflected the formal learning of donor or teacher. In the Library Company the desire for the book stemmed from the prospective reader. Gifts in kind and in cash began to increase the book and financial resources of the library, as indeed they have continued to do to this day. In February, 1733, Librarian Louis Timothée, Secretary Joseph Breintnall, and Franklin presented a number of volumes, including A Collection of Several Pieces, by John Locke; Logic: or, the Art of Thinking, by the Port Royalists Arnauld and Nicole which Franklin in his autobiography said he had read at the age of sixteen; Plutarch’s Morals in the translation of Philemon Holland; Lewis Roberts’ Merchants Mappe of Commerce, and others. A bit later William Rawle added a set of Spenser’s Works to the collection and Francis Richardson gave several volumes, among them Francis Bacon’s Sylva Sylvarum. That same year the Proprietor Thomas Penn sent a print of an orrery to the infant institution “where it was fram’d & Tin Suggestion Box, ca. 1750

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hung up at our late annual Election of Officers, when the Presenter was frequently named with just Gratitude.” Much more Penn bounty was hoped for. In the spring of 1735 a florid address was delivered to John Penn, then in residence at Pennsbury, which concluded: “That Virtue, Learning & true Religion may increase and flourish, under the Encouragement and Protection of your honourable House, is our earnest and hearty Endeavour.” Penn acknowledged the Library Company’s thinly veiled request for patronage with thanks. More generous was the unsolicited gift of £34 sterling which arrived in the summer of 1738 from Walter Sydserfe, Scottish-born physician and planter of Antigua, who had heard of the establishment of the library from John Sober, one of its original directors. A good start had been made. By the time the library issued its earliest surviving printed catalogue of 1741, the general mix of its collection was established for over a century. Excluding gifts, historical works broadly defined accounted for approximately one-third of the total holdings. These included geographical books and accounts of voyages and travels, which latter category the Library Company emphasized until comparatively recently. Literature – plays and poems mostly – comprised a little more than twenty percent, approximately the same proportion as science. Theology accounted for only a tenth of the titles. This was in marked contrast to the earlier libraries of Harvard and Yale, but a harbinger of other popular libraries which were founded later. Such a diminution of printed religiosity was a characteristic difference between a theological seventeenth century in the British colonies and a Deistical eighteenth century. To conclude the selection, it should be noted that philosophy matched theology in numbers, and that economics and such social sciences, the arts, linguistics, and the indefinables accounted for the rest. Bought for many years through the agency of the Quaker mercer-naturalist of London, Peter Collinson, this was and long remained the basic weighting of book selection until the decline of the proprietary libraries in the last half of the nineteenth century. The Library Company flourished because it adopted a purchasing policy responsive to the needs of its intellectually alert, economically ambitious, but non-elite membership. Its successful example was quickly copied along the Atlantic seaboard from Salem to Charleston. It was Franklin’s opinion that “these Libraries have improved the general Conversation of Americans, made the common Tradesmen and Farmers as intelligent as most Gentlemen from other Countries, and perhaps have contributed in some Degree to the Stand so generally made throughout the Colonies in Defence of their Priviledges.” The Library soon became not only an increasing collection of books but also a full-fledged cabinet of curiosities in the Renaissance mode. Donors deposited in its rooms antique coins, fossils, fauna pickled in spirits, unusual geological specimens, tanned skins, and other oddities. In accordance with its role as an all-embracing cultural institution, the Library Company also participated in the increasingly popular scientific experimentation of its day. At first housed in a room in the librarian’s lodgings, the burgeoning accumulation became too much for private quarters. When John Penn sent an air-pump to the quasi-learned society, the directors had to take a major step to house it properly. The instrument arrived

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early in 1739. A handsome cabinet was commissioned for it. That glass-fronted case survives as the earliest extant example of American-made Palladian architectural furniture. Arrangements were promptly made to move the books, schatzkammer, and air-pump press into rooms on the second floor of the newly finished west wing of the State House (now Independence Hall). It was there that Franklin and his associates performed their first experiments in electricity. Exactly when Collinson sent over a hollow glass tube to the Philadelphians which introduced them to the intriguing phenomenon of static electricity is not known. There is a record of the arrival of a “Trunk of Books, Glass Tubes &c.” in the summer of 1742, but Franklin, reminiscing later, gave other dates for the beginning of the experiments. They must have been well under way by 1747 when “a compleat Electrical Apparatus” was received from Thomas Penn. Suitably settled, the library could turn its attention to making known its holdings. Although broadsheet catalogues of the Library Company’s books may have been issued in 1733 and 1735, no copy of either survives. An existing small octavo of fifty-six pages, printed by Franklin and issued in 1741, lists the 375 titles then in the library. As eighteenth-century catalogues go it was a good one, the first American library catalogue to give titles at some length as well as place and date of publication. Franklin wrote “A Short Account of the Library” to fill a final blank page. No waste, no want. Franklin noted that the library was open Saturday afternoons from four until eight o’clock. Members could borrow books freely and without charge. Nonmembers could borrow books by depositing their value as security “and paying a small Acknowledgment for the Reading.” In the early days this latter fee was apparently either never collected or discontinued; it does not appear as income in the first financial reports. With a catalogue available, the books shelved in the State House wing, regular orders of books sent to the volunteer agent Collinson, and annual shipments received from London, the Library Company again sought the patronage of the proprietors of Pennsylvania. What the directors really wanted was a handsome benefaction in books or cash. They did get a plot of land for a hoped-for building of their own, and on March 24, 1742, a charter from John, Thomas and Richard Penn, issued in their name by Governor George Thomas. By it, since the members had “at great expense, purchased a large and valuable collection of useful books, in order to erect a library for the advancement of knowledge and literature in the city of Philadelphia,” there was created “one body corporate and politic in deed.” The charter was printed in 1746, together with the by-laws and a supplementary catalogue. The first librarian, Louis Timothée, or Timothy as he became, left after a short tenure to become Franklin’s printing partner in Charleston. For a very brief period Franklin himself took on the bibliothecal responsibility. He was succeeded by the erstwhile shoe-maker and self-trained surveyor William Parsons, who served from 1734 to 1746. He was followed as librarian by Robert Greenway, who remained in office for seventeen years.

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The more important functionary of the institution was the secretary, at first the scrivener and amateur botanist Joseph Breintnall. He kept the minutes and wrote the letters ordering books to Collinson, who faithfully carried out the Library Company’s requests for over a quarter of a century. After Breintnall’s death in 1746 it was Franklin who performed the secretarial duties. Despite his mythical reputation as the careful methodical “Poor Richard,” he was careless about the Library Company’s records. When he went to England in 1757, first the schoolmaster Francis Alison and then young Francis Hopkinson served as secretary. When the latter took custody of the Library Company’s box which Franklin had left with his wife, he found that the notes of minutes taken on separate pieces of paper during the printer-politician’s years in office were scattered and imperfect. To create a permanent record Hopkinson copied into a book all the minutes of the Library Company from the beginning, although lacunae exist for some periods in the 1740s and 1750s. The books which flowed regularly across the Atlantic from the London book shops were in subject matter the same mix as in the first shipments. There were recent works of history and travel, some poems, plays and novels, and standard vademecums and popularizations in the field of practical arts and sciences. Franklin wrote that “in the Scheme of the Library I had provided only for English Books.” Likewise in his College of Philadelphia he provided only a good English education. Although Provost William Smith stressed a classical education more than Franklin had hoped, the members of the Library Company, with little Latin and less Greek, bought very few books not in English. Treasures-to-be came in 1755 and in 1758 in the boxes from Collinson in the form of his own copies of a score of seventeenth-century accounts of the newly established British colonies in America, among them such classics of colonization as Strachey’s Lawes, Mourt’s Relation and John Smith’s Generall Historie of Virginia. New catalogues were issued in 1757 and 1764. At the same time the museum aspect of the Library Company and its role as a scientific institution were not neglected. In 1752 a surprise gift of a collection of Roman coins came from Charles Gray, a Tory member of Parliament from Colchester, who later voted against the repeal of the Stamp Act. Two years later Charles Swaine deposited in the Library Company’s room some tools and Eskimo parkas which were the only tangible fruits of the abortive Philadelphia-financed expedition to seek a Northwest Passage. In the care of Francis Hopkinson, Benjamin West sent over the hand of a mummified Egyptian princess. The institution’s microscope and telescope were frequently requested for use by various scientific investigators. The latter at one time had to be sent to the London instrument-maker James Short to be repaired, and in 1769 it was used by Owen Biddle to observe the transit of Venus from Cape Henlopen. Among those who guided the destinies of the Library Company in the years before the Revolution were the silversmith Philip Syng, Dr. Thomas Cadwalader, the schoolmaster Francis Alison, the builder-architect Samuel Rhoads, secretary Richard Peters of the Governor’s Council, and a bit later the merchant-patriot Charles Thomson and John Dickinson, the “Pennsylvania Farmer.” On May 9, 1769, Sarah Wistar became the first woman to be voted a share.

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The library kept growing in part by absorbing some of its own progeny. The Union Library, founded in 1746, into which had been incorporated the much smaller Association Library and Amicable Library, was merged in 1769 into the Library Company. Duplicates – alas, any edition of the same title – were sold. The holdings and members of the two institutions were consolidated. A new printed catalogue with 2,033 entries was prepared and published in 1770. On this occasion the books were renumbered by size, beginning an accession series which is continued to this day. In 1772 the library having “become large & valuable, a Source of Instruction to Individuals and conducive of Reputation to the Public,” and much too crowded in its State House rooms, the directors petitioned the Pennsylvania Assembly for permission to build on the State House Square. The request was turned down. After much consideration and no alleviation of the space problem, agreement was reached with the Carpenters’ Company in 1773 to rent the second floor of their new hall off Chestnut Street near Fourth. “The Books (inclosed within Wire Lattices) are kept in one large Room,” Franklin then in London was informed, “and in another handsome Appartment the [scientific] Apparatus is deposited and the Directors meet.” It was a historic move. On September 5, 1774, the First Continental Congress met on the first floor of Carpenters’ Hall. John Adams reported that the site committee had taken “a View of the Room, and of the Chamber where is an excellent Library.” In anticipation of the meeting the Library Company had ordered that “the Librarian furnish the Gentlemen who are to meet in Congress in this City with the use of such Books as they may have occasion for during their sitting taking a Receipt for them.” The first day it met Congress recorded the credentials of the delegates. On the second day it formally expressed its thanks for the Library Company’s courtesy. The offer of the use of the collections was renewed when the Second Continental Congress met the following spring, and again when the delegates to the Constitutional Convention met in 1787. In fact, for a quarter century, from 1774 until the national capital was established in Washington, D.C., in 1800, the Library Company, long the most important book resource for colonial Philadelphians, served as the de facto Library of Congress before there was one de jure. Unfortunately, no circulation records for the period exist, so we can never know which delegate or congressman borrowed or consulted what work. But virtually every significant work on political theory, history, law, and statecraft (and much else besides) could be found on the Library Company’s shelves, as well as numerous tracts and polemical writings by American as well as European authors. And virtually all of those works that were influential in framing the minds of the Framers of the nation are still on the Library Company’s shelves. It was said, although the records of neither Congress nor the Library Company contain any information to corroborate the story, that the colossal bust of Liberty made by Giuseppe Ceracchi, which stood behind the chair of the Speaker of the House in the late 1790s, was given to the Library Company as a token of thanks when the government left the city.

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In 1775, at the time he had joined with Dr. Johnson in opposition to the actions of the colonies, the evangelical preacher John Wesley sent some books to the library – of a religious nature, not political polemics. In the months of growing turmoil the directors tried to continue normal procedures. Just when the news of Lexington and Concord reached Philadelphia, a supplement to the 1770 catalogue was delivered by Robert Aitken, who later also printed the “Bible of the Revolution.” Nonetheless, the affairs of the Library Company were overwhelmed by events. On July 9, 1776, only two directors showed up for a meeting and “no business was done.” At the end of the year it was announced that books had to be obtained from the librarian’s house, because the first floor of Carpenters’ Hall was being used as an infirmary for sick soldiers. The occupation of the city by the British also interrupted the routine; the directors did not meet between October 1777 and March 1778, but then things seem to have gone on smoothly. Just before the British left, the Tory bookseller of New York, James Rivington, sent the library “all the Books to be procured at present in this place.” Insofar as the Minutes reflect what was going on, the Library Company seemed insulated from the trials and successes of the new nation. During the war years, importation of books from abroad had ceased. With the peace in 1783 a flurry of orders went to London agents Joseph Woods and William Dilwyn. The seriousness of purpose of the library was reiterated when the directors told their correspondents that “tho we would wish to mix the Utile with the Dulce, we should not think it expedient to add to our present stock, anything in the novel way.” It was with presumably unspent book funds that the Library Company in 1785 made what has proved to be the most valuable purchase in its history. At the sale of the effects of the Swiss-born would-be historian of America, Pierre Eugene Du Simitière, the Library Company was the main buyer, securing most of his manuscript collections and almost all the volumes of broadsides, prints, and pamphlets offered at the auction. Du Simitière, with an eye to the future, had picked up ephemera from the streets. An unbelievably high percentage of the printed items he gathered is today unique, illuminating the Revolutionary era as only the informal productions of a period can. When the Reverend Manasseh Cutler visited Philadelphia in 1787, he paid his respects to the institution which had “become the public library of the University and City”: Every modern author of any note, I am told, is to be met with here, and large additions are annually made. The books appeared to be well arranged and in good order. . . . I was pleased with a kind of network doors to the book-shelves, which is made of a large wire sufficiently open to read the labels, but no book can be taken out unless the librarian unlocks the door. This is a necessary security from any persons taking books without the knowledge of the librarian. . . . From the Library we were conducted into the Cabinet, which is a large room on the opposite side of the entry, and over the room where the Mechanical models are deposited [by the American Philosophical Society]. Here we had the pleasure of viewing a most excellent collection of natural curiosities from all parts of the globe.

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of languages, a classicist who in the margins of his books crossed swords with greatest European editors, and a scientist who described the fertilization of corn by pollen, understood and used the new inventions of calculus, wrote on optics, and made astronomical observations, the Quaker virtuoso brought books to feed the wide-ranging appetite of his mind. By the time he died in 1751, Logan had gathered over 2,600 volumes, chiefly in Latin and Greek, which was the best collection of books in colonial America. In his later years he had decided to leave his books for the use of the public and established a library, an American Bodleian. He designed and commenced the building to house it on Sixth Street and wrote an elaborate codicil to his will setting up and, with the rents of a property in Bucks County, endowing the institution. The original trustees had included his son-in-law Isaac Norris, Jr., but as a result of a disagreement with him, Logan canceled the codicil. In spite of his intention to frame another instrument, illness prevented him from perfecting it. Nonetheless, after his death his heirs carried out the old man’s wishes. The Loganian Library was created in 1754 as a trust for the public with Logan’s sons, William and James, his son-in-law John Smith, Benjamin Franklin, Richard Peters, Israel Pemberton, Jr., and William Allen as trustees. A second deed of trust, almost identical with the earlier one, was dated March 25, 1760. A printed catalogue of the Bibliotheca Loganiana, prepared by Lewis Weiss, an educated German immigrant, was issued in 1760 in which year the library was opened. Although Franklin in his promotional tract for the establishment of a college in Philadelphia had described Logan’s library as a valuable book resource available to professors and students, use was seldom made of the scholarly works in the collection. In the eighteenth century there was furthermore little interest in the classics and advanced mathematical sciences on the part of merchants and artisans in Philadelphia. Moreover, two factors that made Logan’s library unique contributed tcreatureo its unpopularity; it included few English works of belles-lettres and, at the opposite pole, almost no polemical theology or politics. In 1758 Dr. William Logan, a physician of Bristol England, and the younger brother of James, died without issue and left much of his estate including his library to his nephew William Logan of Philadelphia. Dr. William Logan’s books included a high proportion of medical works, and in pre-Revolutionary days it may have been the largest and best – albeit somewhat old-fashioned – such collection in the colonies. When the American William Logan died in 1776, he left from his inheritance such books as did not duplicate titles in the Loganian Library to that institution and the duplicates to the Library Company. When the handsome Library Company building began to rise across the square from the Loganian Library, James Logan, Jr., the sole survivor of the original trustees, asked the General Assembly of Pennsylvania to vest the trust in the Library Company in order to make his father’s benefaction more useful. By an act of March 31, 1792, the books and assets of the Loganian Library were transferred into the custody of the far more active institution. An addition to its just completed building was quickly erected as an east wing.

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There were almost 4,000 volumes in the Loganian Library which, after it was moved into new quarters, were listed in a new catalogue published in 1795. The weightiness in pounds and in contents can be judged from the fact that almost one-quarter of the total number of volumes was in folio size. A succession of functionaries of brief incumbency, including John Todd, Jr., the first husband of Dolly Madison, handled the operation of the library until Zachariah Poulson, Jr. became the librarian in 1785. Poulson was a printer, newspaper publisher, and excellent keeper of books and records. He compiled and printed an indexed catalogue in 1789, kept admirable accounts of books borrowed, and set up “A Chronological Register” of shares which retrospectively listed the original and successive owners of each share from 1731 on. The register has been kept up and is still in use. Each librarian was held personally responsible for the integrity of the collection, and inventories were taken when one resigned or was replaced to determine how much should be charged him for loss during his incumbency. This amount was sometimes waived; it was frequently uncollectible. The number of shareholders had reached 100 in 1763 and remained at that level until the merger with the Union Library in 1769, when it jumped to 400. To pay for the Fifth Street building, 266 shares in 1789-1793 were sold or given to the carpenters, bricklayers, and others in partial payment for work done. The cost of a share was increased in 1793 from £20 fluctuating Pennsylvania money to $40 in good Hamiltonian currency, and the annual dues were set at $2. Thereafter growth was gradual, the membership rising to over 800 in the 1820s. Both members and nonmembers paid a fee for taking out books, but anyone was permitted to read in the library without charge. Penalties were levied for keeping books out overlong. Poulson, who was responsible for getting the operational affairs of the institution on a workmanlike basis, served as librarian for over two decades. On December 3, 1801, in appreciation of the director’s commendation of his services up to that time, he gave the library ten folio, thirty-seven quarto, and four octavo volumes of miscellaneous pamphlets, chiefly of the seventeenth century. These added over 1,000 titles to the Library Company’s holdings. The number in itself was important, but it was far outweighed by the comparatively recent discovery that all these volumes once belonged to Benjamin Franklin. Poulson’s gift represents almost half of the 2,150 titles on the Library Company’s shelves that once belonged to Franklin. The library’s role in the life of Philadelphia was maintained. It was, and remained until late in the nineteenth century, “the City Library” or the “the Philadelphia Library.” Men of prominence were its members. Nine signers of the Declaration of Independence – Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Rush, Francis Hopkinson, Robert Morris, George Clymer, John Morton, James Wilson, Thomas McKean, and George Ross – owned shares, and some of them served as directors. At the turn of the century those most active in the management of the Library Company were Richard Wells, Benjamin R. Morgan, William Rawle, Joseph Parker Norris, Robert Waln, and Samuel M. Fox, all of whom were leaders or participants in the civic and philanthropic activities of the city. They saw that

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the finances of the library were properly managed and that orders for books were sent regularly to London agents and, after the semiannual shipments were carefully checked, paid for. Local booksellers and publishers were also patronized, but it was the important works from abroad – novels by Sir Walter Scott and Charlotte Smith, poetry by Lord Byron, accounts of Napoleon and his wars and descriptions of travels into the still “new worlds” of Africa and Asia – for which the Library Company was justly renowned. Philadelphia printers borrowed the English importations and used and abused them to such an extent that a by-law was passed in 1805 declaring that printers would be sued if they took the Library Company’s books apart in the course of reprinting the work. The same problem recurred in the second half of the twentieth century. In addition to gifts of their own works by member-authors such as Charles Brockden Brown, a number of interesting accessions flowed into the library. In 1788, as secretary of the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery, Tench Coxe, later Hamilton’s assistant in the Treasury Department, placed in the Library Company a handful of antislavery pamphlets sent the Society from England and France, remarking that he knew of no depository “so proper” for such material. The directors were surprised in March 1799, to receive as a gift from a stranger, Henry Cox of Ireland, a black box containing a number of books, manuscripts, and printed records. They had come down to him from his grandfather, Sir Richard Cox, Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1703-1707, who had appropriated them. When William Hepworth Dixon, a British historian, saw the manuscripts in Philadelphia in 1866, he recognized them as part of the official Irish archives and suggested that they were of such paramount importance that they should be returned to Great Britain. The directors agreed and formally offered to Lord Romilly, Master of the Rolls, several of the manuscripts containing correspondence between James I and the Privy Council of Ireland, orders of the Council, and the diary and letterbook of the Marquis of Clanricarde, Lord Deputy of Ireland. The offer was gratefully accepted. In return the Library Company was given several series of British government publications of an antiquarian nature. Of greater import, however, was the discovery thirty years later of the “Mayflower Compact,” which was generously sent back to Massachusetts by Queen Victoria’s officials. The Times noted: “The precedent of the Library Company of Philadelphia . . . has unquestionably played a considerable part in determining the action of the Consistory Court.” Inexplicably, the directors did not return a number of other valuable documents from the same source, including James I’s original instructions of 1614 to his Lord Deputy of Ireland, Sir Arthur Chichester, and some dozens of unique Irish seventeenth-century broadsides. A far larger gift came as the bequest in 1803 of the Reverend Dr. Samuel Preston, rector of Chevening in Kent. It is not known exactly why he chose the Library Company to be the recipient of his book bounty. In 1783 Preston, an ardent Whig, had written to the directors congratulating them on the exploits of their fellow countrymen and wishing the Library Company well in the days to come, and in 1784 he sent the Library Company a copy of the two-volume folio Hebrew Old Testament prepared by the erudite Benjamin Kennicott because, he said, of the “high regard I have ever entertained for the People of

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America, particularly those of the Province of Pennsylvania.” Preston may have met Franklin during the latter’s visit to Chevening in August 1774. Nicholas Biddle later related that the American artist Benjamin West, who painted Preston’s portrait in 1797, “induced Preston to give his valuable library to Phila.” In any event, the Preston bequest consisted of over 2,500 volumes, the lifetime accumulation of a well-to-do, cultured gentleman cleric with an appropriate proportion of theological works, but rich in handsome and expensive works of geography, history, and the fine arts. When the books arrived in America, Congress refused to remit the duties, which were begrudgingly paid. The next major accession of the library was in 1828 upon the death of the Philadelphia merchant William Mackenzie. Little is known of the man except that he was wealthy, generous, and a true bibliophile. Mackenzie was the first American to collect books for the sake of their rarity, their age, or their beauty, gathering them together from every part of Europe and America. He was, in short, America’s first rare book collector, who acquired such “collectors’ items” as Jacobus de Voragine’s Golden Legende printed by Caxton in 1438, Jenson’s 1476 Italian Pliny on vellum, and many French books, from romances of chivalry to Oudry’s rococo masterpiece La Fontaine’s Fables Choisies (Paris, 1755-1759). In addition to rarities, among them dozens of pamphlets of the period of the Revolution and other extremely valuable pieces of Americana, Mackenzie purchased the books of his day as they were published, and he bought heavily when important libraries were dispersed locally. As a result he was a major customer of the bookseller Nicholas Gouin Dufief in 1801-1803 when the collections of Benjamin Franklin and of William Byrd of Westover were broken up and sold piecemeal. By his will Mackenzie left all his books before 1700 to the Loganian Library (which since 1792 had been consolidated with the Library Company) as well as another 800 volumes which the Loganian trustees could select from his French and Latin works. These amounted to 1,519 volumes; an additional 3,566 volumes were purchased on most favorable terms by the Loganian trustees from Mackenzie’s executors. At the same time the Library Company acquired 1,966 volumes, mostly books in English. Thus Mackenzie’s entire collection of over 7,000 books found its way into the Library Company. In 1832 two other large libraries were added to the book resources of the Library Company. After the death of Zaccheus Collins, an amateur naturalist and longtime director of the library, the administrator of his estate offered his books for sale. For $1,200 the collection, rich in works of botany and other fields of natural history, was purchased for the Loganian Library. Collins’s books complemented the Library Company’s already significant holdings in the field of natural history, for the Library Company was founded just as the Linnean revolution was inspiring the first systematic classification of new American species of plants and animals. Many of the early naturalists were associated with the Library Company – John Bartram, James Logan, Peter Collinson, Joseph Breintnall – and many other members at least dabbled in this exciting new field. One of the first books placed on the shelves of the library was Philip Miller’s Gardener’s Dictionary, the gift of Peter Collinson. Mark Catesby’s Natural History of Carolina, the first great color plate book of American natural history, was snapped up when a new edition was published in 1771.

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