Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
Curator of Rare Books

This section is divided into four groupings: I. Kane Collection II. McCormick Collection. III. General Rare Book Collection. IV. Scheide Library. In addition to the particulars given for each grouping, consult for further information the following important exhibition catalogue: Panorama of America 1492-1800. An Exhibition upon the Occasion of the Inauguration of the Firestone Memorial Library. Princeton: The Library, 1948. [70] p. Issued as Exhibition Catalogue Number 1. [(ExB) 0639.739 no. 1] [full text] Covers 112 books and other items, giving descriptions and call numbers.

Also not to be overlooked is "One Hundred Notable American Books" in the Princeton University Library Chronicle XIX, 2 (Winter, 1958) pp.87-91 [full text] . This list was selected by the Princeton English Department faculty and includes works from 1608 to 1929. At that time, the Library had 69 of the total. At present, together with the Taylor and Scheide libraries, it has 95.

Record of the exhibition "100 Notable American Books," complementary to this article in the series of Departmental exhibition catalogs under the call number (ExB) 0639.739 no. 23. [full text]

See also: Howard C. Rice, "Swedish Americana" in the Princeton University Library Chronicle XXX, 1 (Autumn, 1968) pp. 39-52 [ full text] , as well as his catalogue, Swedish Americana, An Informal Exhibition in the Rare Books Room on Saint Lucy's Day, December 13, 1968... [(ExB) 0639.739 no. 37]. [full text]

I. Grenville Kane Collection of Early Americana. 
    Location designator: Kane

About 1270 volumes. For particulars refer to: Boies Penrose, "The Grenville Kane Americana" in the Princeton University Library Chronicle XI, 1. (Autumn, 1949) pp. 4-25 [full text] . Descriptive catalogue of the collection prepared in 1940's is shelved at [(ExB) Z1203.xK36].

II. Cyrus McCormick Collection.

Americana was included in the selection of over 450 choice books and manuscripts from the library of Cyrus H. McCormick '79 given in 1947-48 by his widow. Consisting of about 140 volumes, the Americana segment of the collection is nonetheless significant because of its content.

For particulars refer to: Alexander D. Wainwright '39, "From Columbus to J.C. Adams: Notable Americana in the McCormick Collection" in the Princeton University Library Chronicle X, 1 (November, 1948) pp. 41-50 [full text] . The article describes in some detail 38 of the 140 volumes.

Collection includes the dedication copy of one of the most important works on early English settlement of America, John Smith's Generall Historie of Virginia, New England and the Isles, 1624. It is in its original binding, with the arms of James I and the Duchess of Richmond.

Books in this collection range in date from 1493 to 1860. Checklist available in Collections File.

The McCormick Collection is not separately arranged and classed. It has been included in the General Rare Book Collection, viz. (Ex) Richardson classification section. Catalogue records for it are in the public catalogue of the Library.

III. General Rare Book Collection 
      Location designator: Ex

Both the (Ex) Richardson and (Ex) Library of Congress sequences contain interesting holdings of early Americana. For the Richardson classification the relevant material falls between the numbers 1053 and 1399. For the Library of Congress, the entire classes of (Ex)E and (Ex)F are devoted completely to material on North, Central and South America.

IV. Scheide Library 
      Location designator: WHS

The Princeton University Library Chronicle XXXVII, 2 (Winter, 1976) [ full text] is devoted entirely to a general survey of the Scheide Library. The Americana in the library are discussed on pages 101-06 and 154-68. The collection includes books about America and books printed in the Americas. The years covered are 1493 to 1865. A few of the more notable books in the collection are:


1. Christoforo Colombo. Epistola de insulis. Rome: Eucharius Silber, [after 29 April 1493]. 
2. Amerigo Vespucci. Lettera ... della isole novamenti trovate. [Florence: Pietro Pacini da Pescia, 1505-06]. 
3. Amerigo Vespucci. Mundus novus. Augsburg: Johannes Otmar, 1504. 
4. Hernando Cortés. Carta de relaciòn ... de la nueva Spaña. Seville: Juan Cromberger, 1522. 
5. [Fracanzano de Montalboddo]. Paesi novamente retrovati. Vicenza: Henrico Vicento, 3 November 1507. 
6. Martin Waldsemüaut;ller. Cosmographiae. [St. Dié: Walter Lud., 1507].


Of the books printed in Spanish America, there are 20 early Mexican imprints. Juan de Zumarraga, Doctrina breve (Mexico City: [Juan Pablos] for Juan Cromberger, 1543/44) is the first extant book printed in Mexico. There are three early books printed in Peru, including the Doctrina Christiana catecismo para instrucción de los Indios (Lima: Antonio Ricardo, 1584), the first book printed in Peru.

There is an extensive collection of books printed in North America and books printed in England about affairs in the colonies. The earliest North American imprint in the collection is A Platform of Church Discipline (Cambridge, Mass., Samuel Green, 1649). The library has a copy of the Declaration of Independence printed by John Dunlap on the night of July 4, 1776 as well as books relating to the revolutionary period. Probably the most important item relating to the Civil War period is a manuscript speech of Abraham Lincoln on "Sectionalism," the last period covered in the Scheide library.


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