Tag Archives: rare books

A 17th century Recording Clerk’s library: Richard Richardson’s books

As part of the ongoing work to improve access to the Library’s printed books and pamphlets we have now added the Richardson Collection to our online catalogue. Unlike the other early books catalogued as part of the project, these books … Continue reading

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Sole survivor? A Dutch broadside by an early 18th century woman Friend

A few weeks ago we were enthralled to discover that the Library holds what is possibly the sole surviving copy of an early 18th century broadside by a little known woman Friend, Margaret Langdale (1684?-1742). It’s an undated exhortation in … Continue reading

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The Hawkins Collection: an early Quaker library, its provenance and some puzzles

We’ve recently finished cataloguing the contents of the Hawkins Collection – a remarkable private library bequeathed by Richard Hawkins (1649?-1735) to Westminster Monthly Meeting. The collection consists of 86 bound volumes containing over 1,200 individual publications – books, pamphlets and … Continue reading

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William Penn’s “Excellent priviledge” (1687) on display in the British Library’s Magna Carta exhibition

Tract Volume 563 is a miscellaneous collection of pamphlets dating from the 1670s to the early 20th century, unassumingly bound in blue cloth. But among its contents is a pamphlet that includes the first printing of Magna Carta in America, … Continue reading

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Horses – bits and bots: the writings of Bracy Clark, F.L.S.

It’s the Chinese Year of the Horse – not much Quaker material there you might well think. If you were researching horses and equine veterinary practice, our Library would hardly be your first port of call. You might – perhaps … Continue reading

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The Macaroni Jester – an antidote to melancholy

To mark April Fool’s Day, we’re not going to spin a yarn about Quakers and kilts or how George Fox invented porridge while in jail. Instead, here’s part of the true tale of an 18th century joke book recently added … Continue reading

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Goodbye to Volume H!

Some of the Library’s rarest printed items are ephemeral publications, pamphlets, broadsides and single sheet circulars, ranging from the 17th century to the present day. Their survival is unusual, and owes much to the way they have been stored, often … Continue reading

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Christmas pudding: a strange disorderly jumble and mishmash

For what excess of Riot, Uncleanness, Prophaneness, Intemperancies in Meat and Drinks, Words and Works, with all kinds of Superfluity of Naughtiness do the greatest number of People not commit in these days (which yet they call Holy) … Entertaining … Continue reading

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What could you borrow from an 18th-century Quaker meeting library?

“The perusal of valuable books, besides enlarging the mind, and promoting our temporal comfort and advantage, may be the means of spreading before us a pleasing view of the beauty and excellence of religion” A catalogue of the books, belonging … Continue reading

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Milan to Madagascar: a best seller’s back story

In 2003 the Library received a gift of a copy of De imitatione Christi (The Imitation of Christ) by Thomas à Kempis, published at Milan in 1488. We were a little awed at first. Described within the world of Quakerism … Continue reading

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