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Bibliography and the Book Trades

Studies in the Print Culture of Early New England

Hugh Amory. Edited by David D. Hall

Publication Year: 2011

Hugh Amory (1930-2001) was at once the most rigorous and the most methodologically sophisticated historian of the book in early America. Gathered here are his essays, articles, and lectures on the subject, two of them printed for the first time. An introduction by David D. Hall sets this work in context and indicates its significance; Hall has also provided headnotes for each of the essays.

Amory used his training as a bibliographer to reexamine every major question about printing, bookmaking, and reading in early New England. Who owned Bibles, and in what formats? Did the colonial book trade consist of books imported from Europe or of local production? Can we go behind the iconic status of the Bay Psalm Book to recover its actual history? Was Michael Wigglesworth's Day of Doom really a bestseller? And why did an Indian gravesite contain a scrap of Psalm 98 in a medicine bundle buried with a young Pequot girl?

In answering these and other questions, Amory writes broadly about the social and economic history of printing, bookselling and book ownership. At the heart of his work is a determination to connect the materialities of printed books with the workings of the book trades and, in turn, with how printed books were put to use. This is a collection of great methodological importance for anyone interested in literature and history who wants to make those same connections.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Series: Material Texts


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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pp. 4-4

Copyright Page

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pp. 5-5

Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

Short Title List

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pp. vii-x

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pp. 1-10

The essays that are gathered together in Bibliography and the Book Trades describe the book culture of early New England and especially the artisans, merchants, and patrons who animated this culture, be it by arranging for books to be printed, imported, and distributed or by transforming copy into printed and (sometimes) bound books, broadsides, and ephemera. ...

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1. The Trout and the Milk: An Ethnobibliographical Essay

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pp. 11-33

"I subjoin a few sentences taken from his unpublished manuscripts," Ralph Waldo Emerson remarked in his homage to Henry David Thoreau, "not only as records of his thought and feeling, but for their power of description and literary excellence." The very first of these sentences is the source of the metaphors of the trout and the milk that Hugh appropriated ...

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2. "Gods Altar Needs not Our Pollishings": Revisiting the Bay Psalm Book

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pp. 34-57

Like the "The Trout and the Milk," this essay on the Bay Psalm Book is animated by Amory's unhappiness with some of the implications of the New Bibliography. Aiming his fire at the notion of an ideal or "iconic" text, he used the variations among six surviving first editions of the Bay Psalm Book to demonstrate that changes were constantly being introduced ...

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3. "A Bible and Other Books": Enumerating the Copies in Seventeenth-Century Essex County

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pp. 58-79

"Ubiquitous in the personal libraries of New Englanders, yet rare in their institutional libraries, and entirely absent from our national retrospective bibliography before 1775, the Bible occupies a problematic position in the history of the American book." The ironies of this sentence (ironies, however, that ignore the publication of German-language Bibles in the colonies) ...

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4. Under the Exchange: The Unprofitable Business of Michael Perry, a Seventeenth-Century Boston Bookseller

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pp. 80-104

The inventory of Michael Perry's bookstore that was taken after Perry's death in Boston in 1700 has been widely cited by historians. But until Amory studied it closely, no one had fully understood what this text tells us about trade practices at the end of the seventeenth century. ...

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5. Printing and Bookselling in New England, 1638-1713

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pp. 105-145

"Printing and Bookselling in New England, 1638-1713" draws on the three essays that precede it in this collection, incorporating their arguments and discoveries into a narrative that fits within the organization of The Colonial Book in the Atlantic World, where it was originally printed, somewhat abridged, as chapter three. ...

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6. A Boston Society Library: The Old South Church and Thomas Prince

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pp. 146-162

Published here for the first time, this essay describes the eighteenth-century antiquarian and bibliophile Thomas Prince (1687-1758) and how he acquired the books that became the "New England Library." One purpose of the essay is to clarify the difference between that collection and others which have often been confused with it, ...

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7. A Note on Statistics, or, what do Our Imprint Bibliographies Mean by "Book"?

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pp. 163-170

As The Colonial Book in the Atlantic World was being prepared, the question arose of how best to indicate the quantitative aspects of the book trade in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. We had at our disposal a recently created machine-readable catalogue, the North American Imprint Projects (NAIP, for short) located at the American Antiquarian Society. ...


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pp. 171-174

E-ISBN-13: 9780812203905
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812238372

Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Material Texts
Series Editor Byline: Series Editors: Roger Chartier, Joseph Farrell, Anthony Grafton, Leah Price, Peter Stallybrass, Michael F. Suarez, S.J. See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 859160880
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Bibliography and the Book Trades

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Subject Headings

  • Book industries and trade -- New England -- History -- 17th century.
  • Book industries and trade -- New England -- History -- 18th century.
  • Printing industry -- New England -- History -- 17th century.
  • Printing industry -- New England -- History -- 18th century.
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