A lecture on earthquakes, John Winthrop

Winthrop, JohnA lecture on earthquakes. Boston, New England: Edes & Gill, 1755. Call #XX QE533 .W79 1755. 

19 cm, [5]-38 pages, black, white, and green marble board covers, half binding with brown leather. Gold gilt book title and horizontal fillet embellishment along spine, single end pages, modest print embellishments on cover page. Black ink print, variation between Roman and italics typography, and single column text blocks throughout. 

Author John Winthrop (1714-1779) was a professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at his Alma Mater Harvard College. He was a highly regarded pioneer in mathematics and astronomy and was the great-great grandson and namesake of the founder of New England's Massachusetts Bay Colony. This text is an unmediated hardcopy of Winthrop's lecture on earthquakes from his reading in the chapel of Harvard College on November 26th, 1755 on the occasion of the great earthquake which shook New England the week before and the same earthquake that hit Lisbon, Portugal at the beginning of November that same year. This was an informational lecture and an attempt to explain earthquakes further through a scientific and natural philosophical approach.

A lecture on earthquakes

Black, green, and white marbled boards cover the text block with a half-binding in pressumably brown leather. 

A lecture on earthquakes

Standing at seven and a half inches tall (19cm), this spine was bound in brown leather detailed with a gilt book title and fillet horizontal emblishments. Book title reads 'Winthrop Lecture on Earthquakes 1755’. 

A prominent aspect of this books provenance are the multiple bookplates on the pastedown and free endpaper. The first is an armorial bookplate showing ownership, bought on August 30th, 1852, by a Thomas Waterman who was a member of the New England Historical and Genealogical society. Below the Waterman bookplate is a hand written price and annotation stating that the book was bought at auction on June 1895 for two dollars and twenty-five cents. On the front free endpaper is another armorial bookplate indicating ownership by Robert Charles Winthrop, a descendant of the author, who was an American Lawyer, a Speaker of the United States House of Representatives as the Whig Party representative from Massachusetts (1835-1840), and whose Alma Mater was Harvard University which would be the books next documented home. The final bookplate is a donor's bookplate donated to Harvard College Library however it does not say from whom. 

A lecture on earthquakes

In the appendix of the book is a publisher's erratum, a note of the correction in the published text, stating that 'The reader is desired to read centre for centure in p. 25 line 10 from the bottom; and to excuse any smaller mistakes.' Also, this erratum has a fist, an indication drawing attention to the text, to bring the error to the readers attention. 

A lecture on earthquakes

On the back free endpaper's inner margin is a large watermark. At least two inches in length this watermark depicts a rather intricate crown design. Unfortuntely, this particular watermark is unable to be attributed to its maker.

Page By: Kylie Glazier, a student of Professor Liam Brockey's during Fall term 2017 in the course of the History of the Book. 

A lecture on earthquakes, John Winthrop