- Inscribed Copies 4
William Dillingham. Vita Laurentii Chadertoni S.T.P. & Collegii Emmanuelis apud Cantabrigienses magistri primi. Cantabrigiae: Typis academicis. Prostant venales apud Tho. Dawson, Bibliop. Cantab. necnon Sam. Smith & Benj. Walford, 1700.
copy of Vita Laurentii Chadertoni was
a gift from the publishers to the writer and printer Samuel Richardson
(1689-1761), author of Pamela and Clarissa.
unlikely that Richardson received this book in the year it was published, as he
was just eleven years old at the time. However, from 1744 until his death,
Richardson printed the Philosophical
transactions of the Royal Society. The volumes were produced for the
Society’s printers Samuel Smith and Benjamin Walford, who were involved in the
publication of Dillingham’s work on the life of the English Puritan divine
Laurence Chaderton (ca. 1536-1640).
John Walker. A critical pronouncing dictionary and expositor of the English language: to which are prefixed the principles of English pronunciation, interspersed with observations, etymological, critical and grammatical, to which is added a key to the classical pronunciation of Greek, Latin and scripture proper names. London: Allan Bell & Co., 1834.
front free endpaper and title page of this copy of Walker’s Dictionary are signed ‘Marian Evans’,
who is perhaps better known by her pen-name ‘George Eliot’.
(1819-1880) would have been just fifteen years old when she signed this book,
if the ownership inscription coincides with the publication date. In 1834, she
was enrolled in Miss Franklin’s school in Coventry, where she excelled at the
piano, in French, and at English composition, perhaps with the aid of Walker’s Dictionary.
Joseph Addison and Richard Steele (editors). The spectator. London: Printed for J. and R. Tonson and S. Draper, 1749. Eight volumes; Vol. 1 displayed.
late 1920s, A.H. Reed purchased for 26 shillings from a London antiquarian
bookseller an eight-volume 1749 set of The
spectator “with contemporary signature on title Vol. 1 Sam Johnson.” Reed
wrote in 1955 that “anyone who is familiar with Dr Johnson’s handwriting and
signature will have no hesitation in recognising his autograph, not in one but
in two volumes.”
seeking scholarly confirmation, Reed sent a photo-stat of the title page to the
Johnsonian scholar J.D. Fleeman in 1968. Fleeman (1932-1994) replied with
‘delight and enthusiasm’ at Reed’s ownership of Johnson’s copy of The spectator, confirmed its
authenticity, and later listed the book in his A preliminary handlist of copies of books associated with Dr. Samuel
Johnson (Oxford, 1984).
scholarship today is divided as to whether the title-pages of the Reed
Collections copies of the first and sixth volumes of The spectator are indeed signed by the great eighteenth-century
literary figure Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-1784).