The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

The Thomas Shepards and Their Books [Part 3]

Just a brief update on some of the latest discoveries in our research on the Thomas Shepard books (see Part 1 and Part 2 for earlier posts):

More than 100 extant copies of books (at ten different libraries) once belonging to the Shepards have now been identified, as Steve Ferguson notes in a post from Princeton, and each day we've discovered a few more. I've created an online version of the Shepard Library, which you can now browse here (just click on "Your Library" for the whole collection, or on each instution to see the books they now hold). Please note: as of 28 January this catalog is not yet complete - the largest portion of books, at Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, still need to be added. But we're getting there!

One neat find from our collections here at MHS was a note (at left) in Thomas Shepard III's copy of John Danforth's An almanack or register of coelestial configurations &c. for the year of our Lord God 1679 (Cambridge: Samuel Green, 1679), which is among our holdings. Shepard kept notes in the interleaved almanac (mostly in shorthand), including one in which he describes receiving books from the estate of his friend and ministerial colleague Daniel Russell, who died of smallpox on 4 January 1678/9. In his will, Russell left Shepard a choice of books from his library, and Shepard reports choosing fourteen titles. Two of these, we were delighted to find, are now held at Princeton, and each contains an inscription by Shepard noting that it came from Russell's library. You can see catalog records for the fourteen books here.



permalink | Published: Thursday, 28 January, 2010, 11:28 AM