The Soroban Circa 1600
The 1/4 abacus appeared in Japan about 1630.
The 1/4 abacus appeared in Japan about 1630.
Kūnyú Wànguó Quántú (坤輿萬國全圖: "A Map of the Myriad Countries of the World") is the first European-style World map in Chinese. 5 ft (1.52 m) high and 12 ft (3.66 m) wide, it was printed from six large woodblocks and intended to be mounted on a folding screen.
The map was drawn by Jesuit missionary, sinologist and polymath Matteo Ricci.
"Drawing of the map followed a first primitive map by Ricci, printed in 1584, named Yudi Shanhai Quantu (舆地山海全图). made in Zhaoqing, in 1584 by the Jesuit priest, Matteo Ricci. Ricci was one of the first Western scholars to live in China, master of Chinese script and the Classical Chinese language. Ricci created smaller versions of the map at the request of the governor of Zhaoqing at the time, Wang Pan, who wanted the document to serve as a resource for explorers and scholars.
"Later, Ricci was the first Westerner to enter Peking, bringing atlases of Europe and the West that were unknown to his hosts. The Chinese had maps of the East that were equally unfamiliar to Western scholars. In 1602, at the request of the Wanli Emperor, Ricci collaborated with Mandarin Zhong Wentao, technical translator Li Zhizao. and other Chinese scholars in what is now Beijing to create what was his third and largest world map.
"In this map, European geographic knowledge, new to the Chinese, was combined with Chinese information to create the first map known to combine Chinese and European cartography. Among other things, this map revealed the existence of America to the Chinese. Ford W. Bell said: 'This was a great collaboration between East and West. It really is a very clear example of how trade was a driving force behind the spread of civilization.'
"Several prints of the map were made in 1602. Only seven original copies of the map are known to exist and only two are in good condition. Known copies are in the Vatican Apostolic Library Collection I; Vatican Apostolic Library Collection II; Japan Kyoto University Collection; collection of Japan Miyagi Prefecture Library; Collection of the Library of the Japanese Cabinet; a private collection in Paris, France and one recently sold in London (formerly in a private collection in Japan). No examples of the map are known to exist in China, where Ricci was revered and buried.
"Ferdinand Verbiest would later develop a similar but improved map, the Kunyu Quantu in 1674" (Wikipedia article on Impossible Black Tulip, accessed 01-13-2010).
In December 2009 The James Ford Bell Trust announced that in October 2009 it had acquired for the James Ford Bell Library at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, one of the two "good" copies of the Kūnyú Wànguó Quántú from Bernard J. Shapero, a noted London dealer in rare books and maps in London, for $1 million. This was the second most expensive map purchase in history after the Library of Congress purchase of the Waldseemüller World Map. The James Ford Bell copy previously was in a private collection in Japan.
The first public exhibition of the map was held at the Library of Congress in January 2010.
In 1602 Southern-Netherlandish (Belgian) philologist and humanist Joose Lips or Josse Lips, best-known through the Latinization of his name, Justus Lipsius, published a pamphlet of 34pp. entitled De bibliothecis syntagma in Antwerp at the Plantin-Moretus Press. "Based primarily on the writings of classical Greek and Roman authors, it surveyed the libraries of antiquity by describing their locations, buildings, storage methods, and, to a small extent, their contents" (Walker, Justus Lipsius and the Historiography of Libraries," Libraries & Culture XXVI  49-65.)
During 1602 and 1604 French astronomer and geographer Guillaume de Castelfranc, called Le Nautonier, published in Paris Mecometrie de l’eymant, c’est a dire la maniere de mesurer les longitudes par le moyen de l’eymant. Par laquelle est enseigné, un tres certain moyen, au paravant inconnu, de trouver les longitudes geographiques de tous lieux,--aussi facilement comme la latitude. Davantage, y est monstree la declinaison de la guideymant, pour tous lieux. Oeuvre nécessaire aux admiraux, cosmographes, astrologues, geographes, pilotes, geometriens, ingenieux, mestres des mines, architectes, et quadraniers. De linvention de Guillaume de Nautonier sieur de Castelfranc en Languedoc ..., imprimé à Venes ches l'autheur par Raimond Colomies, imprimeur en l'Université de Tolose, & par Antoine de Courteneufve.
There must have been an unusually large international demand for this work on navigation as in 1603 editions appeared in Latin, Castilian, English and Dutch. The first part was dedicated to Henri IV of France, the second to James I of England , and the third to Maximilien de Béthune, Duke of Sully and Grand master of artillery, and superintendent of fortifications. The work was used in 1603 by Samuel de Champlain for his cartographic work in New France
From the standpoint of information graphics de Castelfranc's book was significant for containing the first world map that showed isogonic lines, or lines of geomagnetism. This information was used in work on finding longitude by means of magnetic variation. The tables give the world distribution of the variation, by latitude, along each of the meridians.
Friend, Valero-Mora, and Ibáñez Ulargui, "The First (Known Statistical Graph: Michael Florent van Langen and the 'Secret of Longitude." 2010. http://www.datavis.ca/papers/langren-TAS09154.pdf, accessed 01-08-2013.
Shirley, Mapping of the World, 240.
The Bodleian Library at Oxford opened to the "public" with a collection of 2000 books assembled by Thomas Bodley to replace the library that had been donated to the Divinity School by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (brother of Henry V), but which had been dispersed in the 16th century.
Depending on how the concept of "public library" is defined, the Bodleian is probably the first public library in England, and one of the first "public" libraries in Europe.
German astronomer Christoph Scheiner invented the pantograph. This was probably the first copying device. Scheiner did not publish an account of this invention until 25 years later, when he issued Pantographice in Rome, 1631.
Believing that nature should be studied through direct observation, and not through the filter of Aristotelian philosophy, scientist, naturalist and son of the first Duke of Acquasparta, Federico Cesi, together with Dutch scientist Johannes van Heeck (Eck), and Count Anastasio De Filiis, and Italian scientist and Latin translator, Francesco Stelluti founded the Accademia dei Lincei (the "Academy of the Lynx-Eyed") in Rome.
"The four men chose the name 'Lincei' (lynx) from Giambattista della Porta's book 'Magia Naturalis', which had an illustration of the fabled cat on the cover and the words '. . . with lynx like eyes, examining those things which manifest themselves, so that having observed them, he may zealously use them'. Accademia dei Lincei's symbols were both a lynx and an eagle; animals with keen sight. The academy's motto, chosen by Cesi, was: 'Take care of small things if you want to obtain the greatest results' (minima cura si maxima vis). When Cesi visited Naples, he met the polymath della Porta. Della Porta encouraged Cesi to continue with his endeavours. Giambattista della Porta joined Cesi's academy in 1610.
"Galileo was inducted to the exclusive academy on December 25, 1611, and became its intellectual center. Galileo clearly felt honoured by his association with the academy for he adopted Galileo Galilei Linceo as his signature. The academy published his works and supported him throughout his disputes with the Roman Catholic Church. Among the academy's early publications in the fields of astronomy, physics and botany were the study of sunspots and the famous Saggiatore of Galileo, and the Tesoro Messicano (Mexican Treasury) describing the flora, fauna and drugs of the New World, which took decades of labor, down to 1651. With this publication, the first, most famous phase of the Lincei was concluded. Cesi's own intense activity was cut short by his sudden death in 1630 at forty-five.
"The Linceans produced an important collection of micrographs, or drawings made with the help of the newly invented microscope. After Cesi's death, the Accademia dei Lincei closed and the drawings were collected by Cassiano dal Pozzo, a Roman antiquarian, whose heirs sold them. The majority of the collection was procured by George III of the United Kingdom in 1763. The drawings were discovered in Windsor Castle in 1986 by art historian David Freedberg. They are being published as part of The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo" (Wikipedia article on Accademia dei Lincei, accessed 11-27-2010).
Johann Carolus, who previously earned his living by producing hand-written news sheets for wealthy subscribers, acquired a printing press and published the first European newspaper called Relation, in Strasbourg.
The earliest extant examples of Relation are dated 1609. In that year Heinrich Julius, duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, founded Avisa Relation oder Zeitung.
In 1599 Galileo Galilei developed his geometric and military compass into a general-purpose mechanical analog calculator, later known in English as the sector. As an instruction manual for purchasers of the compass, and to establish his priority for the invention, in 1606 Galileo published from his own house in Padua,printed by Peitro Marinelli, Le Operazioni del Compasso Geometrico et Militare in an edition of only sixty copies. To avoid having the compass pirated, Galileo had no illustrations of the device included in the pamphlet, which may be considered the first "computer manual."
During the seventeenth century the sector became one of the most widely used mechanical calculators for scientific purposes.
You may view a digital copy of Galileo's Compasso at this link.
Franciscan Fray Juan Bautista published A Jesu Christo S.N. ofrece este Sermonario en lengua mexicana in Mexico, En casa de Diego Lopez Davalos. This was the second collection of sermons published Nahuatl (Aztec) prefaced with a two-page list of previously published works by Bautista. The listing of books was the first bibliography published in the Western Hemisphere.
"On signature **iii (recto and verso) is a list of 'las obras que hasta agora ha impresso el auctor' ('the works that until now the author has had published'). The list is not in chronological order nor is it alphabetical by title; nonetheless it is a bibliography and supplies us with information now known only because of its inclusion here. Of the 17 items listed, several have failed to survive in any known copy, including the second part of this sermonario: at the time of publication of part one 'de la sequnda parte esta ya impresso gran pedaço' ('of the second part a large piece is already printed')" (Szewczyk & Buffington, 39 Books and Broadsides Printed In America Before the Bay Psalm Book  no. 19).
Galileo published from Venice at the press of Tomaso Baglioni Difesa di Galileo Galilei ... contro alle calumnie & imposture di Baldessar Capra. This booklet published the transcript of the trial resulting from the lawsuit that Galileo successfully brought against Baldessar Capra for copying the proportional and military compass that Galileo had invented. It was among the first, if not the very first, record of litigation over an invention, and most certainly the first litigation in the history of computing.
Printer Hieronymus Hornschuch published at Leipzig the first editor's and printer's manual, Orthotypographia, which "while dealing mainly with the signs and symbols of correction, included short sections on schemes of imposition and type-specimens" (P.Gaskell, G.Barber and G.Warrilow, 'An Annotated List of Printers' Manuals to 1850', Journal of the Printing Historical Society, no. 4  11-31, G1).
Prior to this date no printer had published instructions any technical aspect of the printing trade—a trade which had to be learned through a presumably secretive process of apprenticeship.
Reference: Orthotypographia, by Hieronymus Hornschuch A Facsimile with a Parallel Translation of the Earliest Printers Manual, First Published at Leipzig in 1608, edited by Philip Gaskell and Patricia Bradford. Cambridge: Cambridge University Library, 1972.
The Venetian government issued prepaid letter sheets— the first offically sold prepaid postal stationery.
At the top of the sheets the letters "AQ" (a contraction of acque) were printed, as the pre-paid sheets were intended to generate revenue for the repair and upkeep of the waterworks in the city by the Collegio alle Acque. Below the large letters "AQ" and the lion of Venice was a statement of the statute by which the system operated with a surcharge of 4 soldi on the cost of posting a letter. Each sheet had an identification number printed at the top left, and the name of the revenue officer by whom they were issued. The system remained in operation until the end of 1797. (Samuel Gedge Ltd., Rare Books Catalogue V  97.)
A value of these sheets was that the user could assume that the letter would definitely be delivered. Most private postal services operating at the time charged the recipient for the delivery with the result that mail was often refused.
"Crude telescopes and spyglasses may have been created much earlier, but Lippershey is believed to be the first to apply for a patent for his design (beating Jacob Metius by a few weeks), and making it available for general use in 1608. He failed to receive a patent but was handsomely rewarded by the Dutch government for copies of his design. The 'Dutch perspective glass', the telescope that Lippershey invented, could only magnify thrice.
"The first known mention of Lippershey's application for a patent for his invention appeared at the end of a diplomatic report on an embassy to Holland from the Kingdom of Siam sent by the Siamese king Ekathotsarot: Ambassades du Roy de Siam envoyé à l'Excellence du Prince Maurice, arrive a La Haye, le 10. septembr. 1608 ('Embassy of the King of Siam sent to his Excellence Prince Maurice, September 10, 1608'). The diplomatic report was soon distributed across Europe, leading to the experiments by other scientists such as the Italian Paolo Sarpi, who received the report in November, or the English Thomas Harriot in 1609, and Galileo Galilei who soon improved the device.
"One story behind the creation of the telescope states that two children were playing with lenses in his shop. The children discovered that images were clearer when seen through two lenses, one in front of the other. Lippershey was inspired by this and created a device very similar to today's telescope" (Wikipedia article on Hans Lippershey, accessed 03-27-2009).
While Sarpi and Harriot experimented with Lippershey's telescope prior or contemporaneously with Galileo, neither wrote or published on the subject.
The Companie of Stationers in London published Robert Triplet's Writing Tables with a Kalendar for XXXIII Yeeres.
In May 2011 it was my pleasure to see the unique recorded copy of this ephemeral publication at an exhibit on diaries at the Morgan Library & Museum. Their exhibition note card read as follows:
"This rare copy of a renaissance portable calendar—a precursor to the pocket diary—includes blank pages that were specially treated with a coating of gesso and glue. Notes could be made on the go with a simple silverpoint stylus (no clunky pen and ink required!) and later wiped away. On the printed page shown, instructions are provided for erasing and rewriting: 'Take a little peece of spunge on a Linnecloath, being cleane without any soyle: wet it in water' and 'wipe that you have written very lightly and it will out, and within one quarter of a hower you may write in the same place againe.' "
ESTC System No. 006200615; ESTC Citation No. S95932. STC (2nd ed) 26050.8.
ESTC System No. 006200616 cites a unique recorded copy of one presumably earlier, but undated edition of this, at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, for which the estimated date is 1602.
Curiously, when I wrote this note in May 2011 the ESTC missed the point of the gesso and glued blank pages describing them in both records as "Includes chalked and sized pieces of board the size of the book’s leaves, apparently intended to offer a firm surface upon which to write. Not included in pagination or signatures."
The volume contained 152 previously unpublished sonnets, and two (numbers 138 and 144) that had previously been published in a 1599 miscellany entitled The Passionate Pilgrim. This earlier collection, falsely attributed in its entirety to Shakespeare, had been published by William Jaggard, who would later, in 1623, publish the so-called "First Folio" of Shakespeare's plays.
Thorpe's "apparent disregard for Shakespeare's permission earned him a poor reputation, although modern author Katherine Duncan-Jones has argued that he was not such a 'scoundrel' as he was portrayed, and the amiable and admirable [Edward] Blount would certainly not associate with him if he were a scoundrel. It has even been suggested that Shakespeare did sell his manuscript to Thorpe, because of his acquaintance with [Ben] Jonson as an actor in Sejanus, who may have recommended Thorpe to him as a good publisher. The dedication, which is addressed to a mysterious Mr. W.H., may have been written either by Shakespeare himself or by Thorpe. Popular belief, however, is that Shakespeare is the author of the dedication, but the identity of Mr. W.H. is not known. Thorpe was probably responsible for the arrangement of the sonnets, with 1-17 being the "procreation sonnets", 18-126 being love sonnets to the Fair Youth (for the most part), and 127-154 being written on a variety of subjects, including politics, sex, and the Dark Lady. Critics have failed to agree whether or not his arrangement was the most apt, but most detect a logical coherence in the order, which is generally retained today: (Wikipedia article on Thomas Thorpe, accessed 05-21-2009).
Cardinal Federico Borromeo founded the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan. Depending on how "public library" is defined, the Ambrosiana was possibly the the second public library in Europe, after the Bodleian at Oxford. However, the Ambrosiana was preceded in Italy by the library at the Domincan convent of San Marco (1444) and the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (1571), both of which were characterized as "public" libraries when they were founded. Thus, there may be some uncertainly as to which library was actually the first "public" library in Europe.
To build up the Ambrosiana's collections Cardinal Borromeo's agents scoured Western Europe, and even Greece and Syria for books and manuscripts. In 1606 they acquired the complete manuscripts of the Benedictine monastery of Bobbio, founded in 614, and the library of the Paduan Vincenzo Pinelli, whose more than 800 manuscripts filled 70 cases when they were sent to Milan, and included the famous extremely early illuminated miniatures of the Iliad, the Ilias Ambrosiana.
"During Cardinal Borromeo's sojourns in Rome, 1585–95 and 1597–1601, he envisioned developing this library in Milan as one open to scholars and that would serve as a bulwark of Catholic scholarship against the treatises issuing from Protestant presses. To house the cardinal's 15,000 manuscripts and twice that many printed books, Construction began in 1603 under designs and direction of Lelio Buzzi and Francesco Maria Richini. When its first reading room, the Sala Fredericiana, opened to the public, December 8, 1609, it was, after the Bodleian Library in Oxford, the second public library in Europe. One innovation was that its books were housed in cases ranged along the walls, rather than chained to reading tables, a practice seen still today in the Laurentian Library of Florence. A printing press was attached to the library, and a school for instruction in the classical languages.
"Cardinal Borromeo gave his collection of paintings and drawings to the library too. Shortly after the cardinal's death his library acquired twelve manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci, including the Codex Atlanticus. . . ." (Wikipedia article on the Biblioteca Ambroisiana).
The first book printed in the Arab world was a bilingual Psalter in small folio of 260 pages which was printed in the Maronite Monastery of St. Anthony at Qozhaya in Northern Lebanon.
"Besides the title-page, the little book contains an introduction by Sarkis al Rizzi, the Maronite Archibshop of Damascus, 151 psalms (the 150 canonical ones and one apocryphal), the ten Biblical odes (tasabih), the imprimatur by the Archbishop of Ihdin to whose diocese Quzhayya belonged, and a concluding colophon. The psalms are arranged in two columns, on the right is the text in Syriac and on the left in Arabic, but written in Syriac letters, the so-called Karshuni script. As the Arabic version is longer than the Syriac one the wish to keep both texts parallel caused the use of two different fonts; larger ones for Syriac and smaller ones for Arabic. Both sets of types are elegant and harmonious and are cast after a calligraphic model of high quality.
". . . . The lowest panel [of the title page] - again in Arabic (Karshuni) - gives information in the form of a colophon, on the place of printing, the printers, and the year of printing: 'In the venerated hermitage which is situated in the valley of Quzhayya on the blessed Mount Lebanon by the master Pasquale Eli and the humble Yusuf, the son of 'Amima from Karmsadda, called deacon, in the year 1610' " (Lehrstuhl für Türkische Sprache, Geschichte und Kultur Universität Bamberg, The Beginnings of Printing in the Near and Middle East: Jews, Christians and Muslims  no. 3.)
This was the first book printed in the Middle East. No other books followed from the press at Qozhaya (Quzhayya), and almost a century elapsed before the first book was printed in Arabic in the Middle East (1706).
News services in England continued to distribute hand-written news manuscripts, rather than printed news sheets, to subscribers.
Bookshelves constructed in the Arts End of Duke Humfrey's Library in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, designed for smaller books to be shelved upright rather than folios laid flat, were installed at this time. They are among the earliest surviving bookshelves of this type.
Wormald & Wright, The English Library before 1700 (1958) 237, and frontispiece.
Bookseller and publisher Andries Cloucq published a series of four large prints depicting the main buildings and halls of Leiden University: the anatomy theatre, the library, the botanical garden and the fencing school. The prints were engraved by Willem van Swanenburg after drawings by the Leiden artist Jan Cornelis van't Woudt (Woudanus).
Most relevant to From Cave Paintings to the Internet is the famous print of the interior of the library, of which the Wikipedia reproduces a hand-colored copy from a version published in Stedboeck der Nederlanden (Amsterdam: Willem Blaeu, 1649).
As Clark writes in The Care of Books (1902) 164:
"The bookcases were evidently contrived with the view of getting the largest number possible into the room. Each contained a single row of books, chained to a bar in front of the shelf; and, also for the purpose of saving the space usually occupied by a seat, readers were obliged to consult them standing. There are eleven bookcases on each sie of the room, each containing from 40 to 48 volumes. At the end of the room are two cupboards, probably for manuscripts; and to the right of the spectator is a third press marked Legatum Josephi Scaligeri. He died in January, 1609. Further, as an illustration of the usual appliances for study found in libraries at this period, and often mentioned in catalogues and account-books, I should draw attention to the globes and maps."
In March 1610 Galileo Galilei published Sidereus Nuncius, or Starry Messenger, in Venice in an edition of 550 copies. The Sidereus Nuncius described and illustrated with copperplate engravings the first astronomical observations made through a telescope. Its images provided revolutionary new information about the universe.
After learning in 1609 that a Dutchman, Hans Lippershey, had invented an instrument that made faraway objects appear closer, Galileo applied himself to discovering the principle behind this instrument and by the end of 1609 had built a telescope of about thirty power. This he probably first turned to the heavens in October 1609, with astronishing and revolutionary results. In contradiction to the doctrines of Aristotle and Ptolemy, which taught that the celestrial sphere and its planets and stars were perfect and unchanging, Galileo's telescope showed the surface of the moon was rough and mountainous, and the Milky way was composed of thickly clustered stars. In addition the telescope revealed for the first time four of Jupiter's satellites, as well as stars not visible to the naked eye.
"He sent a copy of the book, along with the telescope he had been using, to the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo II de’ Medici. Dr. [Owen] Gingerich said the pamphlet amounted to 'a job application' to the Medici family for whom, in one of history’s first examples of branding, Galileo named the four satellites of Jupiter. 'Other planets were gods or goddesses,' said Paolo Galluzzi, director of the Florence institute. 'The only humans with position in sky were Medicis.' The ploy worked, Cosimo II hired Galileo as his astronomer, elevating him from a poorly paid professor at the University of Padua to a celebrity, making the equivalent of $300,000, a year, Dr. Galluzzi said. Galileo returned the favor by giving Cosimo another telescope, clad in red leather and stamped with decorations" (Dennis Overbye, "A Telescope to the Past as Galileo Visits the U.S.", The New York Times, March 27, 2009.)
Sidereus Nuncius contained only the bare facts of Galileo's observations without any overt reference to the controversial Copernican theory, yet it aroused sensation among the European learned community, for it provided the first hard evidence that the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic view of the universe contained inaccuracies.
It is thought that Galileo built dozens of telescopes, of which two survive, both in the Institute for the History of Science (Museo Galileo) in Florence, Italy. One covered in decorated leather, which Galileo sent to Grand Duke Cosimo II de' Medici, retains only one of its original lenses, but the other, covered only in varnished paper, contains its original functioning optics, and has its focal length labeled in Galileo's handwriting on the outside of its tube. This telescope was loaned to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia for an exhibition from April to September 2009. (The online article in The New York Times includes a video showing the original telescope being unpacked in Philadelphia.)
Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 855.
The working library of Hereford Cathedral in England originated in the eleventh century. The chained library at the cathedral, containing 229 medieval manuscripts, remains the largest historic chained library in the world, with all its rods, chains and locks intact. It has been preserved in the form in which it was maintained from 1611 to 1841.
Anselme Faust wrote Cunst der boeckbinders handwerck. Arfice des relieurs de livres. This manuscript in two parts, bound back to back, containing the text written in both Fremish and French, is the earliest European manual on bookbinding. It is preserved in the Plantin Moretus Museum, Antwerp.
Pollard, Early Bookbinding Manuals (1984) no. 38.
Filed under: Bookbinding
Intended for use in Jesuit schools, Aguilon’s work was primarily a synthesis of classical and modern writings on optics; however, it also contained the first discussion of the stereographic process (which Aguilon named), one of the earliest presentations of the red-yellow-blue color system, an original theory of binocular vision and the first published description of Aguilon’s horopter.
“The horopter is the invention, or rather discovery, of Aguilon; he coined the term and showed how important the horopter is in explaining vision with two eyes; he even demonstrated the horopter in a simple device constructed by him and pictured by Rubens. . . . The theory of Aguilon on the horopter is a large step in the right direction, calling a halt to all previous deficient theories” (Ziggelaar, François Aguilon, 115; see also 53-133).
Aguilar’s theory of binocular vision was eventually superseded (despite claims to the contrary, he apparently knew nothing about Kepler’s ideas on the retina); nevertheless his ideas had some influence on the theorists of vision from Huygens to Newton to Helmholtz.
Production of Aguilon’s book fell to the Plantin-Moretus printing house, whose controllers were sympathetic to the Jesuits in Antwerp. The illustrations and allegorical title were prepared by painter, collector, and humanist scholar Peter Paul Rubens, a friend of Balthasar Moretus and himself deeply interested in the world of books.
“The designs for the frontispiece and six vignettes reveal Rubens’ knowledge of the actual text. . . . Rubens combined successfully Aguilonius’ references to ancient mythology and allegory into a coherent programme that also includes a connection with the science of optics, for all the various elements on the frontispiece have a direct relationship with the concept of vision” (Held, Rubens and the Book  52).
Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 25.
Scottish mathematician, physicist, astronomer & astrologer, and also the 8th Laird of Merchistoun John Napier published in Edinburgh his Mirifici logarithmorum canonis descriptio, announcing his invention of logarithms, with the goal of increasing calculating speed and reducing drudgery.
Scotish mathematician John Napier published Rabdologiae in Edinburgh describing two calculating devices: “Napier’s bones,” and the Multiplicationis promptuarium, or the lightning calculator.
"He [Napier] wrote that the multiplication and division of great numbers is troublesome, involving tedious expenditure of time, and subject to "slippery errors." His tables reduced these difficulties to simple addition and subtraction, and won immediate recognition. A set of Napier’s bones are usually made of boxwood or ivory and often contained in a box or case that would fit in a pocket. A set usually contains 10 rods, plus extras representing squares and cubes.
"Use. Addition is accomplished by reading the appropriate bones along the diagonal. To obtain a product of 224 x 44, the rods 2, 2, and 4 are put alongside each other, and the result is read off by combining the numbers in the fourth row -- 0/8, 0/8, 1/6 -- for the correct answer 896. This is repeated and the two products added together to give 9856. The bones are sometimes associated with an abacus to provide a store in the multiplication process" (Gordon Bell's website, accessed 10-12-2011).
In 1617 Dutch Jesuit priest, Neo-Latin poet and writer Herman Hugo (Hermannus Hugo) issued De prima scribendi origine et universae rei literariae antiquitate in Antwerp at the press of Plantin-Moretus. This was the first book entirely devoted to the history and nature of writing.
Hudson, Writing and European Thought 1600-1830 (1995) 33-34.
Physician and writer Pietro Caneparius published De atramentis in Venice. This is "the earliest known work which gives details of the formulation of typographic inks" (Printing and the Mind of Man. Catalogue of the Exhibition at the British Museum and at Earls Court, London  no. 122).
A folio broadside, of which a unique copy is preserved in the Society of Antiquaries of London, may be the earliest record of the prices of bookbinding agreed by the binders of London and Westminster. It is entitled A generall note of the prises for binding of all sorts bookes.
Pollard, Early Bookbinding Manuals (1984) no. 111.
A painting by Pieter Breughel the Younger, of which one copy dated 1621 entitled the Village Lawyer is in the Museum voor Schone Kunster, Ghent, Belgium, and another copy dated 1620-40, and entitled Paying the Tax is in the Armand Hammer collection at the Fisher Museum of Art, University of Southern California, perhaps caricatures the way paper accounting or legal records were maintained at the time. Records are shown in piles of bundles on tables, in bundles on shelves, in what appears to be sacks of bundles hanging on walls, in sheets of paper bundled together that may be tacked up on walls, and in piles on the floor. In short the methods of organizing and storing information appear sloppy, inefficient, and possibly chaotic.
Corante: or, Newes from Italy, Germany, Hungarie, Spaine and France was published by the printer Nathaniel Butter in London. The earliest of the seven surviving copies is dated September 24, 1621, but it is thought that this single page news sheet began publication earlier in 1621.
Corante was the first private newspaper published in English. As a result of a 1586 edict from the Star Chamber, it carried no news about England.
English scholar and vicar Robert Burton published at Oxford The Anatomy of Melancholy, What it is: With all the Kinds, Causes, Symptomes, Prognostickes, and Several Cures of it. In Three Maine Partitions with their several Sections, Members, and Subsections. Philosophically, Medicinally, Historically, Opened and Cut Up.
This work remains as much a classic of English literature and a profound study of the human condition as it remains a classic of psychiatric literature.
"He wrote The Anatomy of Melancholy largely to write himself out of being a lifelong sufferer from depression. As he described his condition in the preface 'Democritus Junior to the Reader,'
" 'for I had gravidum cor, foetum caput [a heavy heart, hatchling in my head], a kind of imposthume in my head, which I was very desirous to be unladen of.'
"Therefore, the treatise itself was intended as treatment. Again, from the preface:
" 'I write of melancholy, by being busy to avoid melancholy. There is no greater cause of melancholy than idleness, no better cure than business.'
"However, this sentence may also be interpreted ironically, as Burton is citing a well-known adage of the time. Indeed, the entire preface is quite satirical in nature — at one point Burton pretends to warn melancholy people to avoid his book for fear of exacerbating their symptoms:
" 'Yet one caution let me give by the way to my present or future reader, who is actually melancholy, that he read not the symptoms or prognostics in the following tract, lest by applying that which he reads to himself, aggravating, appropriating things generally spoken to his own person (as melancholy men for the most part do), he trouble or hurt himself, and get in conclusion more harm than good.'
"The parenthetical aside is delightfully tongue-in-cheek. The work, published under the pseudonym Democritus Junior in 1621, was quite popular. In the words of Thomas Warton:
'the author's variety of learning, his quotations from rare and curious books, his pedantry sparkling with rude wit and shapeless elegance ... have rendered it a repertory of amusement and information'.
"Later authors sometimes drew from the work without acknowledgment (such accusations were leveled at Laurence Sterne's book Tristram Shandy). Samuel Johnson considered it one of his favorite books. (He said of it that it 'was the only book that ever took him out of bed two hours sooner than he wished to rise'.) [Boswell, Life of Johnson]" (Wikipedia article on The Anatomy of Melancholy, accessed 12-26-2009).
From the medical standpoint the work has been characterized as the first psychiatric encyclopedia, since Burton cited nearly 500 medical authors in the course of classifying the myriad causes, forms and symptoms of depression, and describing its various cures. The work is also a literary tour-de-force in the tradition of Renaissance paradoxical literature.
Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man (1967) no. 120. Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 381.
Burton put the work through five expanded editions during his lifetime. The third edition of 1638 contained an elaborate engraved title containing ten vignette illustrations.
Though many books in the Bibliotheca Palatina of Heidelberg were "torn or dispersed into private hands" when troops under Maximilian I of Bavaria sacked Heidelberg during the Thirty Years War, Maximilian decided to confiscate the remaining manuscripts as war booty and presented them to Pope Gregory XV as "a sign of his loyalty and esteem." 196 cases containing about 3500 manuscripts were transported across the Alps to Rome on 200 mules under the supervision of scholar Leo Allatius.
In 1623 these books were incorporated into the Vatican Library with a Latin bookplate which may be translated as "I am from the library captured in Heidelberg and sent as spoils of war to Pope Gregory XV by Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria, etc., . . . A.D. 1623."
Nathaniel Butter of London published the first edition of a periodical variously called News from Most Parts of Christendom or Weekly News from Italy, Germany, Hungaria, Bohemia, the Palatinate, France and the Low Countries. "From its miscellaneous contents and periodicity of production, it is regarded as the true forerunner of the English newspaper." Because the Stuart regime discouraged domestic reporting, it contained no news about England.
Physician Gaspard Bauhin published in Basel Pinax theatri botanici. . . sive index in Theophrasti Dioscoridis Plinii et botanicorum qui a secula scripserunt opera. Bauhin's work began the system of "natural" plant classification based upon general morphology, and established the first scientific system of nomenclature. Bauhin discarded the alphabetical and other arbitrary systems used by earlier writers, insisting that any useful method of classification must be based on natural affinities. He grouped plants according to their genera, then, drawing from his own observations and the works of earlier authors, gave each species within a genus a descriptive name. He thus introduced an orderly system of binomial nomenclature, which—although the concept did not originate with him— marked a significant improvement over earlier schemes.
Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 139.
Nathaniel Butter and Nicholas Bourne published in London Certain News of the Present Week, or the Weekly News. This was the first regularly printed English newspaper with numbered issues.
Astronomer Johannes Kepler published Chilias Logarithmorum (1624) from Marburg and Supplementum (1625), creating his logarithmic tables by a new geometrical procedure, the form thus differing from the logarithms of both Napier and Briggs.
The "Museo Cartaceo" ("Paper Museum"), a collection of more than 7,000 watercolors, drawings and prints assembled by the Roman patron and collector Cassiano dal Pozzo and his youngest brother Carlo Antonio, represents one of the most significant attempts made before the age of photography to embrace the widest range of human knowledge in visual form. Documenting ancient art and architecture, botany, geology, ornithology and zoology, the collection is a significant tool for understanding the cultural and intellectual concerns of a period during which the foundations of our own scientific methods were laid down.
"The Paper Museum reflects the taste and intellectual breadth of Cassiano dal Pozzo, one of the most learned and enthusiastic of all seventeenth-century Roman collectors. As secretary to Cardinal Francesco Barberini, patron of artists such as Poussin, and a friend of Galileo, Cassiano crossed the boundaries of artistic, scientific and political disciplines to create his unique visual encyclopaedia. His patronage extended to both the well-known and the lesser-known artists of his day, and his close connections with leading European scientists, scholars and philosophers kept him informed of the latest archaeological and scientific discoveries. His younger brother Carlo Antonio came to share his interests and played a significant role in augmenting and arranging the collection.
"Through his association with Federico Cesi, Prince of Acquasparta (1585–1630), and his membership of the Accademia dei Lincei (the first modern scientific society, founded by Cesi), Cassiano assembled visual evidence of scientifically – and for the first time microscopically – observed natural phenomena, thus establishing a firm basis for scientific classification. Fruit, flora, fungi, fauna, minerals and fossils – all were meticulously recorded, whether commonplace or exotic. He applied the same rigour and systematic methodology to his antiquarian studies: classical and early medieval monuments and artefacts were painstakingly drawn and classified to form a unique survey of ancient architecture, religion, custom, dress and spectacle" (http://warburg.sas.ac.uk/pozzo/prospectus.pdf, accessed 0-03-2010).
The "Paper Museum" was sold by Cassiano’s heirs to the Albani Pope Clement XI , who resold it to his connoisseur nephew Cardinal Alessandro Albani in the early eighteenth century. It remained in the Albani collection until a substantial portion was acquired by George III, also a scientific amateur, in 1762 for his library at Buckingham House. In 1834, the collection was transferred to the Royal Library created by William IV at Windsor Castle, where it forms part of the Royal Collection. Other portions are at the British Library, the British Museum, the botanical gardens at Kew (mycological specimens) , the library of Sir John Soane's Museum. Portions not purchased for George III are preserved at the Institut de France and various other public and private collections.
Since the 1990s a project has been underway to publish the drawings and prints in the ‘Museo Cartaceo’ in a series of thirty-six volumes, arranged by subject matter following the method of classification employed by Cassiano himself. The series is entitled The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo ~ A Catalogue Raisonné.
Naude's book, written while he served as librarian for Henri de Mesme, Président à Mortier in the Parliament of Paris and councillor to Louis XIII, contained an early mention of the goal of creating a public universal library:
"And therefore I shall ever think it extremely necessary, to collect for this purpose all sorts of books, (under such precautions, yet, as I shall establish) seeing a Library which is erected for the public benefit, ought to be universal; but which it can never be, unlesse it comprehend all the principal authors, that have written upon the great diversity of particular subjects, and chiefly upon all the arts and sciences; [. . .] For certainly there is nothing which renders a Library more recommendable, then when every man findes in it that which he is in search of . . . ."
When Naudé wrote only three "public" libraries existed in Europe: the Bodleian Library opened at Oxford in 1602, the Bibliotheca Ambrosiana founded in Milan by Cardinal Federigo in 1609, and the Bibliotheca Angelica, opened for public service in Rome, also in 1609.
Naudé's work was first translated into English by John Evelyn, and published as Instructions Concerning Erecting of a Library in 1651.
Clarke, Gabriel Naudé 1600-1653 (1970).
In 1627 De lactibus sive lacteis venis by the Italian physician and anatomist Gasparo (Gaspare) Aselli was posthumously published in Milan at the press of Giambattista Bidelli through the efforts of Nicolas Fabry de Peiresc. The work contained a beautiful engraved title page and a portrait of Aselli by the Milanese painter and engraver Cesare Bassano. The four folding chiaroscuro woodcuts in this work printed in black, red and two shades of brown were the first color-printed illustrations in a medical or anatomical work. They are unsigned and authorship of these has not been established.
While performing vivisection on a dog that had recently fed, Aselli noticed a network of vessels in the mesentery and along the peritoneal surface of the intestine. The vessels released a whitish fluid similar to milk when incised, so Aselli called them lacteas, sive albas venas. He made a systematic study of these vessels in different species of animals, noting the chronological relationship between their engorgement and the animal's last meal, and erroneously conjectured that the vessels led to the liver; it was not until Jean Pecquet's discovery of the thoracic duct and its continuity with the lacteal vessels that the process of absorption was clearly established.
Norman, Morton's Medical Bibliography 5th ed (1991) No. 1094. Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) No. 76. Choulant, History and Bibliography of Anatomic Illustration (1920) 240-241
In 1628 Adriaan Vlacq, a bookseller, publisher, and human computer, computed and issued the first complete set of modern logarithms in Gouda through Petrus Rammaseyn printers. Four years earlier, in 1624, English mathematician Henry Briggs had published Arithmetica logarithma sive logarithmorum chiliades triginta, pro numeris naturali serie crescentibus ab unitate 20,000 et a 90,000 ad 100,000 changing the original logarithms invented by John Napier into common (base 10) logarithms. In 1626 Dutch surveyer and teacher of mathematics Ezechiel de Decker contracted with Vlacq for the publication of several translations of books by John Napier, Edmund Gunter and Henry Briggs. A first book was published in 1626, with several translations done by Vlacq. A second book was made of the logarithms of the first 10000 numbers from Briggs' Arithmetica logarithmica published in 1624. The logarithms were shortened to 10 places. In 1627, De Decker's Het Tweede deel van de Nieuwe telkonst was published, containing the logarithms of all numbers from 1 to 100000, to 10 places, much of which had been computed by Vlacq. Only very few copies of this book are known and its publication was apparently stopped or delayed.This Tweede deel of 1627 was the first complete table of decimal logarithms.
In 1628 Vlacq republished the 10 decimal place logarithm tables as Arithmetica logarithma sive logarithmorum chiliades tentum, pro numeris naturali serie crescentibus ab unitate ad 100000. He appears to have had a connection with the Gouda firm of Petrus Rammaseyn and it is this firm that published the work, this time under Vlacq's name. A French translation, Arithmetique logarithmetique, ou, La construction et usage d'une table contenant les logarithms de tous les nombres depuis l'unité jusque 100000 by Vlacq was also published by Petrus Rammaseyn at almost the same time.
Wlliam Harvey's Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus was published in Frankfurt in 1628. In this work Harvey presented the discovery and experimental proof of the circulation of the blood. Since antiquity, ideas about the physiology and pathology of most parts of the body had been based to an important degree on assumptions made about the function of the heart and blood vessels. In fundamentally changing the conception of these functions, Harvey pointed the way to reform of all of physiology and medicine.
Why Harvey chose a European publisher for his book has long provoked speculation— the most plausible conjecture is that Harvey wanted his book published on the Continent so that it would more easily gain international distribution and acceptance. His choice of the Frankfurt publisher William Fitzer seems to have arisen from his long acquaintance with Robert Fludd, whose books were then being published by Fitzer.
The physical distance between Harvey and his publisher seems to have precluded Harvey from correcting proofs, as he was compelled to issue an errata leaf with no less than 126 corrections. Since very few copies of De motu cordis include this errata leaf, it has been argued that it was probably added after a large portion of the edition had already been sold. Even so, Harvey's errata list must have been compiled with some haste, as the Latin text edited by Akenside for the College of Physicians in 1766 contains 246 emendations. Fitzer had Harvey's book printed on paper of poor quality, which has deteriorated in virtually all surviving copies. The first edition must have been relatively small since only about 68 copies have survived, nearly all in institutions.
Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine, (1991) no. 1006.
In a letter to theologian, philosopher, and mathematician Marin Mersenne, philosopher, mathematician and physicist René Descartes proposed an artificial universal language, with equivalent ideas in different tongues sharing one symbol:
"Et si quelqu’un avait bien expliqué quelles sont les idées simples qui sont en l’imagination des hommes, desquelles se compose tout ce qu’ils pensent, et que cela fût reçu par tout le monde, j’oserais espérer ensuite une langue universelle, fort aisée à apprendre, à prononcer et à écrire."
"The notion of a universal language was based upon the idea of precisely cataloging the elements of the human imagination. The great advantage of such a language would be that it would represent everything 'distinctement.' Yet, the great problem faced by someone who wanted to create such a language was the nature of the human imagination itself. Although separate from the mind and reason, which were the foundations of Cartesian thought, the imagination nevertheless played an important role for Descartes. As he wrote elsewhere in the Meditations, the imagination not only conceptualized external things but also considers them, 'as being present by the power and internal application of my mind.' Imagination, in other words, produced the illusion of presence, figures appearing so that can the person can 'look upon them as present with the eyes of my mind.' As a result, Descartes remains highly suspicious of the imagination because it can produce appearances that have no corresponding reality. Descartes concluded his letter to Mersenne by dismissing hopes for a universal language or a real character as only being possible in a 'terrestrial paradise' or 'fairyland' because of the confused nature of signification and the variation of human understanding.
"Mais n’espérez pas de la voir jamais en usage; cela présuppose de grands changements en l’ordre des choses, et il faudrait que tout le Monde ne fût qu’un paradis terrestre, ce qui n’est bon à proposer que dans le pays des romans.
"A universal language that would work at the level of the imagination, describing the actual 'things' of the external world, could only produce uniform results in the perfection of Eden or the ideal of fiction. One should, instead, stick with the institution of geometry as a method of rationalizing nature, a divine language grounded upon the cogito’s transmission of being. Descartes ultimately remains skeptical about any possibility of using alternative language games aside from mathematics in the project of rationalizing the world" (Batchelor, The Republic of Codes: Cryptographic Theory and Scientific Networks in the Seventeenth Century  http://www.stanford.edu/dept/HPS/writingscience/Cryptography.html, accessed 01-22-2010).
In 1630 Italian scientist Francesco Stelluti published Persio tradotto in verso schiolto e dichiarato . . . in Rome at the press of Giacomo Mascardi. This translation of the works of the Latin poet Persius (Aulus Persius Flaccus), Stelluti dedicated to Cardinal Francesco Barberini in an attempt to gain the Cardinal's patronage for the Accademia dei Lincei, one of the first scientific societies, of which Stelluti was a co-founder. Stelluti’s edition of Persius was intended for the most part as a means for advertising the Accademia’s activities. “Whenever he possibly could, Stelluti took a word or phrase in Persius—almost any word or phrase—and used it as an excuse to refer to one or another aspect of the natural historical researches of the Linceans. The most insignificant reference in the elegies sparked long and short excursuses on the Linceans’ work” (Freedburg, p. 187)
Stelluti's book was also the first book to contain images of organisms as viewed through the microscope. The book’s striking full-page image of a magnified bee (p. 52), showing minute details of the antennae, legs, sting, head and tongue, “still has the capacity to arouse the wonder of modern experts” (Freedburg, p. 189). On page 127 is a smaller illustration of a magnified grain weevil, including a detail of the tip of the insect’s snout and mandibles.
An obscure reference in Persius’s first satire to what may have been the ancient town of Eretum gave Stelluti his pretext for including the bee images, since the former Eretum was then presumably Monterotondo, seat of the Barberini country estate, and the Barberini family had adopted the bee as its emblem. Stelluti’s weevil image was likewise prompted by a mention of that insect in another of Persius’s poems.
Stelluti’s bee image is similar, but not identical to, an earlier image showing magnified views of a bee, that Stelluti published as a broadsheet in 1625 under the title Apiarium; this broadsheet is extremely rare, with only two or three copies recorded. The Apiarium was intended to form part of a projected encyclopedia by Stelluti’s fellow Lincean Federico Cesi, but this project was never realized. In 1624 Cesi had been sent a microscope by Galileo, another Lincean, and it was most likely this instrument that Cesi and Stelluti used to prepare their pioneering images of insects under magnification.
Ford, Images of Science: A History of Scientific Illustration, pp. 172-173, 179-180. Freedburg, The Eye of the Lynx: Galileo, His Friends, and the Beginnings of Modern Natural History (2003).
French physician, philanthropist and journalist, Théophraste Renaudot, with the support of Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu, Cardinal-Duc de Richelieu (Cardinal Richlieu), published the first issue of La Gazette, the first weekly magazine in France.
"Before the advent of the printed Gazette, reports on current events usually circulated as hand-written papers (nouvelles à la main). La Gazette quickly became the center of France for the dissemination of news, and thus an excellent means for controlling the flow of information in a highly centralized state. Cardinal Richelieu and Louis XIII were frequent contributors."
"La Gazette had for objective to inform its readers on events from the noble court and abroad. It was mostly focused on political and diplomatic affairs. In 1762, its name became Gazette de France, with the sub title Organe officiel du Government royal (Official organ of the royal Government). In 1787, Charles-Joseph Panckouke already proprietary of the Mercure de France and the Moniteur universel — that he had just founded — rented the magazine.
"La Gazette remained silent about the birth of the revolution, and didn't even mention the storming of the Bastille on the 14th of July in 1789, limiting itself to government acts. For the satisfaction of his customers, Charles-Joseph Panckouke published a supplement, Le Gazettin (little Gazette), that gave its readers summaries of debates at the National Constituent Assembly. In 1791, the ministry of foreign affairs, who owned La Gazette, took it back. Nicolas Fallet was named director and it became a tribune for the Girondists. He was succeeded by Sébastien Roch Nicolas Chamfort. La Gazette became a daily magazine in 1792, 1 May. Following the execution of Louis XVI in 1793, 21 January, it was renamed Gazette nationale de France (National Gazette of France)" (Wikipedia article on La Gazette, accessed 07-31-2009).
English priest and mathematician William Oughtred invented the circular form of slide rule. He published Circles of Proportion and the Horizontal Instrument in London in 1632 describing slide rules and sundials.
Bishop Baldassare Bonifacio published De archivis liber singularis in Venice. This pamphlet appears to be the first separate publication on archives. It contains brief information on the history and importance of archives, and very little about archive administration. Bonifacio's pamphlet was translated into English with commentary by Lester K. Born in "Baldassare Bonfiacio and his Essay De Archivis", The American Archivist IV (1941) 221-37.
Filed under: Archives
In 1633 The Temple. Sacred Poems, and Private Enjaculations by Welsh-born English poet, orator, and Anglican priest George Herbert was posthumously issued from Cambridge. On his deathbed, Herbert had sent the manuscript of The Temple to Nicholas Ferrar, of Little Gidding. telling him to publish the poems if he thought they might "turn to the advantage of any dejected poor soul"; otherwise, to burn them. Ferrar decided to publish them. This book contained some of the earliest printed examples of concrete poetry, or shaped poetry or "pattern poems." On p. 18 of the 1638 edition Herbert's poem, "The Altar," is arranged on the page in the shape of an altar. On pp. 34-35 of the same edition his poem "Easter-wings" is spread over two pages in the shape of two sets of outstretched wings.
French physician, philanthropist and journalist Théophraste Renaudot organized a series of weekly public conferences on diverse subjects, including science, called Conférences du Bureau d'Adresse. These were published by the Bureau d'Adresse as Questions traitées ès Conferences du Bureau d'Adresse (5 volumes, 1633-1641).
In 1630 Renaudot founded the Bureau d'Adresse in Paris.
"The Bureau was basically an employment agency combined with an outpatient clinic. Whoever registered there (for 0 to 3 sous, according to his means) received free medical treatment and help in finding jobs, cheap clothing, lodging, and furniture. The Bureau also granted its clients small-scale credits on security and helped them in their dealings with government offices and the law. It kept a card index of people looking for service or offering help. It also kept a current price index. Gradually it branched out into an advertising agency, a travel agency, a messenger service, a horse rental and shop where almost everything could be bought or hired: curios, antiques, domestic animals, houses, estates, geneologies, the services of private tutors, funerals. . . . The Bureau arranged marriages, recruited soldiers, found monks for understaffed monasteries and even planned to deal in academic degrees.
"This traffic in goods and services naturally also involved the traffic in information. With clients from all walks of life and through a network of correspondents the Bureau systematically collected news from home and abroad, which proved very valuable to the government. Indeed this was the main reason for the continuing protection which it received from Père Joseph and Cardinal Richelieu. They not only skimmed off its information, they also used it to influence public opinion. . . .
"Renaudot also made the Bureau into a centre of intellectual life. From 1633 on, he organized weekly 'conferences' in its rooms on the Ile de St. Louis. As in the earlier Renaissance academies, quaestiones were put up for discussion at these meetings which triggered the exchange of opinions, but were not decided by empirical research. . . In other respects these 'conferences' were looking towards the scientific societies of the second half of the 17th century; the discussions were held in the vernacular (French, not Latin); it was forbidden to quote 'authorities'; religious and political topics had to be avoided. Occasionally even experiments wer performed in order to demonstrate some point of discussion. In 1640 Renaudot set up a chemical laboratory. Yet his main interest was not pure science, but its humanitarian and pedagogic application. According to Renaudot's philanthropic principles, the 'conferences' were open to everybody who cared and consequently were not considered to be very prestigious among the intellectual élite" (Stagl, A History of Curiosity  136-37).
Renaudot's weekly conferences bear some comparison to those of the Invisible College, which preceded the Royal Society; however, they were attended by a considerably larger audience, were much closer to popular science in their orientation, and their speakers remained anonymous in the published reports.
The Conférences predate the Journal des sçavans and the Philosophical Transactions by 30 years. They were collected in book form rather than published as a periodical, and were published in English translation in 1664-65, just as the Royal Society was being formed.
The British government began to employ the hangman in book burnings.
"By 1640 his presence had become a familiar aspect of a scene of street theatre designed to frighten onlookers. The locations selected for these ritual mock executions by fire were invariably large open public spaces in the Cities of London and Westminster and the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge; Cheapside, Smithfield, Paul’s churchyard and the Old Exchange in London, the New Palace at Westminster and the Market Place in Southwark. In a country where the bodies of heretics were no longer consigned to the flames but the Pope and other prominent Catholics were still burned in effigy, these book burnings were akin to a Protestant Auto da Fé by proxy.
"Burning books was an effective way of destroying particular printed texts, but not of eradicating them. The Roman Inquisition burned thousands of copies of Trattato Utilissimo Del Beneficio Di Giesu Christo Crocifisso (1541), yet it remains extant. In the same way it appears that at least one example survives of every book, pamphlet, broadsheet and newsbook ordered to be burned in England between 1640 and 1660. Indeed, there is evidence that book burning sometimes stimulated demand for condemned works by arousing the curiosity of collectors. As Daniel Defoe was to remark, he had heard a bookseller in the reign of James II say that 'if he would have a book sell, he would have it burnt by the hands of the common hangman' " (A. Hessayon, "Incendiary texts: book burning in England, c.1640 – c.1660", Cromohs, 12 (2007): 1-25; accessed 11-23-2008).
The Rev. John Norton brought to Plymouth, Massachusetts a copy of the Venice 1491 edition of St. Augustine's Opuscula.
This is the earliest documented 15th century book present in North America. It is preserved in the Boston Public Library.
Harvard College, the first institution of higher learning in the United States, was established at Cambridge, Massachusetts by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and named for its first benefactor, John Harvard. Harvard was a minister who left a few hundred books and half his estate to the new institution.
French lawyer and amateur mathematician Pierre de Fermat owned a copy of the 1621 Paris edition of the Arithmetica by the ancient Greek mathematician Diophantus, edited by Claude Gaspard Bachet de Méziriac, and was in the habit of noting his own number theory propositions in the margins of the book. In 1637 Fermat made a marginal note next to one of the problems put forth by Diophantus, stating, in essence, that equations of the form xn + yn = zn have no whole-number solutions when n is greater than 2. In his note Fermat stated that he had found a truly marvelous proof (demonstratio mirabilis), which would not fit into the narrow margin of the book.
Fermat died in 1665 without revealing his proof known as Fermat's Last Theorem. In 1670 Fermat’s son published a second edition of Bachet’s edition of Diophantus from the press of Bernard Bosc in Toulouse that incorporated all of Fermat’s marginal notes and propositions, from which Fermat's Last Theorem became widely known. Today scholars doubt that he actually achieved it.
Most of Fermat’s propositions were proved during the 18th century, but the Last Theorem remained a stumbling block for succeeding generations of mathematicians, and by the early 19th century it had gained a reputation as perhaps the world’s most baffling mathematical mystery. “Simple, elegant, and [seemingly] impossible to prove, Fermat’s Last Theorem captured the imaginations of amateur and professional mathematicians for over three centuries. For some it became a wonderful passion. For others it was an obsession that led to deceit, intrigue, or insanity” (Aczel).
Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 777.
Filed under: Mathematics / Logic
French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist René Descartes issued his Discours de la méthode pour bien conduire sa raison, & chercher la verité‚ dans les sciences. As Descartes spent much of his life in the Dutch Republic, he had the work published in Leiden.
Descartes's Discours presented an outline of Cartesian scientific method, summed up in the famous Four Rules presented in Book 2, together with scientific treatises intended to illustrate the method's range. The four rules may be stated as :
1. "The first was never to accept anything for true which I did not clearly know to be such; that is to say, carefully to avoid precipitancy and prejudice, and to comprise nothing more in my judgment than what was presented to my mind so clearly and distinctly as to exclude all ground of doubt.
2. "The second, to divide each of the difficulties under examination into as many parts as possible, and as might be necessary for its adequate solution.
3. "The third, to conduct my thoughts in such order that, by commencing with objects the simplest and easiest to know, I might ascend by little and little, and, as it were, step by step, to the knowledge of the more complex; assigning in thought a certain order even to those objects which in their own nature do not stand in a relation of antecedence and sequence.
4. "And the last, in every case to make enumerations so complete, and reviews so general, that I might be assured that nothing was omitted.
"The enumerations have in time developed into many forms. He suggested drawing boxes on a paper, and connecting them. This idea has led to a multitude of graphic thinking aids that we use today" (Wikipedia article on Discourse on the Method, accessed 03-03-2009).
The work includes three scientific treatises: Dioptrique, containing Descartes's derivation of the law of refraction; Météores; and Géométrie. The work included his invention of the Cartesian coordinate system and the foundation of analytic geometry, the bridge between algebra and geometry, crucial to the invention of calculus and analysis. Though Descartes' most famous statement is best known by its Latin translation, it was first published in the Discours as "Je pense, donc je suis," and later translated into Latin in his Principia philosophiae as "Cogito, ergo sum."
Carter & Muir, Printing and the Mind of Man (1967) no. 129. Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 621.
During the reign of Charles I, the English Star Chamber court that sat at the Palace of Westminster issued a decree on July 11, 1637, making it a general offense to print, import, or sell "any seditious, scismaticall, or offensive Bookes or Pamphlets." The decree was published as a pamphlet from London by Robert Barker, "Printer to the King's most Excellent Maiestie: And by the Assignes of John Bill, entitled A Decree of Starre-Chamber, Concerning Printing, Made the eleuenth day of July last past. 1637.
The decree also forbade anything to be printed which had not first been licensed and entered in the Stationers' Register, a record book maintained by the Stationers' Company of London. The company had been given a royal charter in 1557 to regulate the various professions associated with the publishing industry, including printers, bookbinders, booksellers, and publishers in England. The Register itself allowed publishers to document their right to produce a particular printed work, and constituted an early form of copyright law. The Company's charter gave it the right to seize illicit editions and bar the publication of unlicensed books. The decree also stated that nothing could be reprinted without being re-licensed.
The decree further stated that in all cases the full signed imprimatur was to be printed; the names of the printer and the author were to be printed as well. The decree also limited the number of master printers to twenty, and specifyied the number of presses, journeymen, and apprentices each could have. The decree also made it an offense to work for an unlicensed printer, or to operate an unlicensed press.
In 1884 The Grolier Club issued a deluxe limited edition reprint of this decree as their first publication, printed by the De Vinne Press, New York. Eric Holzenberg, Publications of the Grolier Club 1884-2009 IN: For Jean Grolier and His Friends, No. P1,
Stephen Daye established the first printing press in North America at Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Daye's first publications were a broadside entitled The Oath of a Freeman, and Peirce's Almanack for 1639. Of these two printings, no authentic copies are known.
Bernhard von Mallinckrodt, dean of Münster cathedral and bibliophile, issued a pamphlet at Cologne to mark the bicentennary of the invention of printing by movable type in Europe, defending the priority of Johann Gutenberg.
Mallinckrodt's pamphlet was entitled De ortu et progressu artis typographicae ("Of the rise and progress of the typographic art.") The pamphlet included the phrase prima typographicae incunabula, "the first cradle of printing," or more loosely, "the infancy of printing." This was the origin of the term incunabula, still used to describe books and broadsheets printed before 1500, the arbitrary cut-off date which Mallinckrodt selected. Today the term incunabula (singular: incunabulum) is typically applied to imprints before 1501.
In 1640 Stephen Daye, a locksmith in Cambridge, Massachusetts printed the Whole Booke of Psalmes, edited by Richard Mather. Known as the Bay Psalm Book, this was the first book printed in North America.
Of the original edition of 1700 copies, eleven copies are extant. The finest copy, preserved in its original calf binding, is in the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.
"The first printing press to come to British America arrived in the winter of 1638/39. During 1639 an almanac and the 'Oath of a Freeman' were printed, although no genuine examples of either have been found. The ministers of the small colony were eager to produce their own version of the Psalms, one that did not sacrifice accuracy of translation to regulating of meter. Richard Mather, John Eliot, and several others made translations from the original Hebrew. Thus this first product of the American press represented a distinct break from Old England, both in production and translation." (Reese, The Printers' First Fruits. An Exhibition of American Imprints 1640-1742, from the Collections of the American Antiquarian Society  no. 1).
Excluding corrupt translations of the Bible imported from the United Provinces, Catholic primers, missals and a liturgical devotion to the Virgin Mary, sixty identified printed books, pamphlets and broadsheets, and 3 newsbooks were ordered to be burned by civil, military and ecclesiastical authorities in England between 1640 and 1660.
"In addition, Parliament ordered a number of letters, notably those maligning its military commanders, to be burned. Capuchin vestments and utensils belonging to the alters and chapel of Somerset house and ‘superstitious’ pictorial representations of God the Father, Christ the Son, the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary were also ordered to be burned. English book burning reached its height in 1642 when 13 books and pamphlets were consigned to the flames. Yet with the exception of a significant peak of 9 titles in 1646, during the remainder of the period no more than 5 books and pamphlets were ordered to be burned in a single year. Indeed, as significant as the occurrence of authorised book burning is its absence in 1649, 1653, 1657, 1658 and 1659." (Hessayon, "Incendiary texts: book burning in England, c.1640 – c.1660", Cromohs, 12 (2007) 1-25. http://www.cromohs.unifi.it/12_2007/hessayon_incendtexts.html, accessed 01-04-2010).
Abolition of the Star Chamber court removed the machinery of censorship in England. This resulted in an outpouring of publications on topics which previously had been suppressed. 2000 titles were published in England in 1642, and 3500 in 1643-- "more titles in a single year than at any time before the eighteenth century" (A. Hessayon, "Incendiary texts: book burning in England, c.1640 – c.1660", Cromohs, 12  1-25. http://www.cromohs.unifi.it/12_2007/hessayon_incendtexts.html, accessed 01-04-2010).
In 1641 Danish physician and antiquarian Ole Worm (Olaus Wormius) published Danicorum monumentorum libri sex: e spissis antiquitatum tenebris et in Dania ac Norvegia extantibus ruderibus eruti in Copenhagen (København). This was the first published study of the Runestones of Denmark and Norway, and one of the few surviving sources for many runic inscriptions now lost.
"Use. The dials show the French monetary unit, the livre, which was divided into 12 deniers, each subdivided into 20 sols. The essential part of the machine was its decimal carry; each toothed wheel moved forward one unit (one-tenth of a revolution on each wheel except those of deniers and sols) when the previous wheel had completed one revolution. Subtraction was based on complementary numbers that could be revealed by moving the strip at the top of the calculator" (Gordon Bell's website, accessed 10-12-2011).
In 1645 Pascal published an eighteen-page pamphlet describing his calculating machine. It was called Lettre dédicatoire à Monseigneur le Chancelier sur le sujet de la machine nouvellement inventée par le Sieur B. P. pour faire toutes sortes d’opérations d’arithmétique, par un mouvement reglé, sans plume ny jettons avec un advis necessaire à ceux qui auront curiosité de voir ladite machine. . . . The pamphlet does not identify a place of printing or a printer’s name, so we may assume that Pascal paid for its printing. When we published Origins of Cyberspace OCLC cited only two copies of this pamphlet in one French library and no copies in North America.
Pascal's pamphlet was reprinted along with additional material related to the Pascaline in his Oeuvres (1779), vol. 4, 7-30. The additional material consisted of Pascal's 1650 letter describing the machine that he presented to Queen Christina of Sweden; the privilege for its construction and sale issued in 1649, and Denis Diderot's description of the machine published in the Encyclopédie.
Hook & Norman, Origins of Cyberspace (2002) no. 13.
Mezzotint was was the first tonal method of printmaking, producing prints that have a more painterly appearance. The word derives from Italian meaning "half-painted." Von Siegen's first known mezzotint is a portrait of Amelie Elisabeth von Hessen.
Mezzotint allows "half-tones to be produced without using line or dot based techniques like hatching, cross-hatching or stipple. Mezzotint achieves tonality by roughening the plate with thousands of little dots made by a metal tool with small teeth. In printing the tiny pits in the plate hold the ink when the face of the plate is wiped clean. A high level of quality and richness in the print can be achieved."
Wax, The Mezzotint. History and Technique (1990) 15-16.
The first book printed on the island of Malta, preserved in a possibly unique copy in the Library of Congress, was I Natali delle Religiose Militie. . . by Comandatore Geronimo Marulli of Barletta, Italy. "Below the Order of St. John on the title-page, it bears the imprint: 'In Malta, l'anno MDCXXXXIII.' It has no printer's name, but in view of the fact that the title-page bears the arms of the Order of St. John it seems more likely to have been the work of Bonacota than that of Pompeo de Fiore. I. S. Mifsud, in his Bibliotheca Maltese writes: 'Il Marulli. . . nel 1633 aveva data alle stampe di Malta altra operetta initiola I Natali delle Religiose Miilizie'; but this was probably a misprint for 1643" (Clair, The Spread of Printing. Eastern Hemisphere. Malta  8-11).
Having abolished the Star Chamber court which had provided the mechanism for censorship in England, the British government attempted to re-establish censorship through a Licensing Order passed on this date which would require the licensing of publications before printing.
In response to the British Government's attempt to re-establish censorship through the Licensing Order passed in 1643, John Milton published in London Areopagitica: A Speech for the Liberty of Unlicense'd Printing, to the Parliament of England, arguing against the order for licensing books, and defending the freedom of the press.
"I deny not, but that it is of greatest concernment in the Church and Commonwealth, to have a vigilant eye how Bookes demean themselves, as well as men, and thereafter to confine, imprison, and do sharpest justice on them as malefactors: For Books are not absolutely dead things, but doe contain a potencie of life in them to be as active as that soule was whole progeny they are; nay they do preserve as in a violl the purest efficacie and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously productive, as those fabulous Dragons teeth; and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men. Yet on the other hand, unlesse warinesse be us'd, as good almost kill a Man as kill a good Book; who kills a Man kills a reasonable creature, Gods Image; but hee who destroyes a good Booke, kills reason it selfe, kills the Image of God, as it were in the eye. Many a man lives a burden to the Earth, but a good Book is the pretious life-blood of a master spirit, imbalm'd and treasur'd up on purpose to a life beyond life" (Milton, Areopagitica).
In 1644 Dutch astronomer and cartographer Michael Florent van Langren (Langrenus, Miguel Florencio, Michale Florent) published La Verdadera Longitud por Mar y Tierra in Antwerp as a pamphlet. To show the magnitude of the problem of determining longitude, van Langren created the first known graph of statistical data, showing the wide range of estimates of the distance in longitude between Toledo and Rome.
Friendly, Valero-Mora, and Ibáñez Ulargui, "The First (Known Statistical Graph: Michael Florent van Langren and the 'Secret' of Longitude," 2010. http://www.datavis.ca/papers/langren-TAS09154.pdf, accessed 01-108-2013.
In 1645 French artist and printmaker, Abraham Bosse, wrote, illustrated and published in Paris the first treatise on engraving and etching techniques: Tracté des manières de graver en taille douce sur l'airin.
Brewer, Protestant councillor and mayor, instrument maker, astronomer and engraver in Danzig (Gdańsk), Johannes Hevelius (Latin), also called Johannes Hewel, Johann Hewelke, Johannes Höwelcke in German, or Jan Heweliusz (in Polish), self-published Selenographia: sive, lunae descriptio. Besides an allegorical engraved title by Jeremias Falck after Adolf Boy, a portrait of Hevelius also engraved by Falck, after Helmick van Iwenhusen, the book, published in small folio format, contains 110 plates on 89 sheets, drawn & engraved by the author (1 with volvelle, 3 double-page), and numerous engravings within the text.
The result of four years of observations, Selenographia was the first comprehensive atlas of the moon. The first state of the book does not contain the plate RRR, which is not called for in the plate list. Hevelius kept adding to his book as it went through the press; probably some copies were already in circulation by the time he had drawn and engraved plate RRR.
Son of a prosperous brewery owner, Hevelius made his own instruments, made his own drawings, did his own engraving, published his own books, and built the best observatory in Europe on beer proceeds. In the Selenographia he drew excellent moon maps, based on his own observations, and gave many new names to the features observable on the moon's surface such as seas, mountains, craters, borrowing nomenclature from terrestrial geography. For example he named an island of Sicily complete with a Mount Etna, and an island of Corsica, both in the Mediterranean Sea. A few of these names—the Alps, the Apennines, and the Caucasus—remain in use, but most of Hevelius's' nomenclature was superceded in the seventeenth century by that of Giovanni Battista Riccioli.
Even more significant was his drawing of the moon in different states of libration; his descriptions of a librational cycle of shadow changes in the lunar details, his method of judging the libration by means of changes in apparent (telescopic) separation of a pair of lunar details, and his introduction of rudimentary lunar coordinate systems provided a sound basis for the work of subsequent astronomers. He also described a mounted lunar globe, perhaps the first of its kind, which allowed representation of librational movements.
The first part of the Selenographia is valuable for the history of optics. Hevelius describes an optical lathe for turning telescope lenses and gives methods for judging the parameters and qualities of lenses. He describes Christoph Scheiner's helioscope, which he eventually modified, the microscope and the military periscope. He illustrates telescopes that he made, which often had unusual fittings and complimentary devices. Hevelius also made observations of Saturn, the satellites of Jupiter, sunspots, comets and the star which he named "Mira."
Zinner, Astronomische Instrumente 275-82. Personal communication from Jörn Koblitz, The MetBase Library of Meteoritics and Planetary Sciences.