This was my book …

‘The Early Modern Book in England’ has been one of the LRBS courses this week. Seventeenth-century ownership has been one of the topics discussed. Senate House Library provided examples of books with well and less-well-known former owners. In the former category came a copy of Francis Mathew’s A Mediterranean Passage by Water from London to Bristol (1670) with the inscription of the antiquary and biographer John Aubrey (1627-1696). Having enjoyed its possession, Aubrey then passed it on: ‘for my worthy good friend Mr John Collins R.S.S.’. This was the mathematician and scientific administrator John Collins, who was elected fellow of the Royal Society in 1667. Not noted in the class because extending beyond the period set for discussion, but of interest to Senate House Library, is the additional inscription of Isaac Reed from 1772; Reed (1742-1807) was a literary editor and book collector whose friends included the Shakespearean scholars Richard Farmer and George Steevens.

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