The settlers of New England and the Mid-Atlantic states brought many practices with them from New England. One of them was reading: a particular kind of reading, intensive, engaged, and carried out with pen in hand. Lawyers, fur traders and alchemists worked their way through difficult and demanding books, many of them in Latin, and recorded what they thought of them on blank pages and in margins. This lecture will examine some of these readers—notably the members of the Winthrop family, many of whose books are held at the New York Society Library, and James Logan of Philadelphia—and their books.
Anthony Grafton is the Henry Putnam University Professor of History at Princeton University. Professor Grafton’s special interests lie in the cultural history of Renaissance Europe, the history of books and readers, the history of scholarship and education in the West from Antiquity to the 19th century, and the history of science from Antiquity to the Renaissance. Professor Grafton is the author of ten books and the coauthor, editor, coeditor, or translator of nine others. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1989), the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (1993), the Balzan Prize for History of Humanities (2002), and the Mellon Foundation’s Distinguished Achievement Award (2003), and is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the British Academy. Professor Grafton’s current project is a large-scale study of the science of chronology in 16th- and 17th-century Europe: how scholars attempted to assign dates to past events, reconstruct ancient calendars, and reconcile the Bible with competing accounts of the past.
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Co-sponsored with The New York Society Library