(Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826)
- Sold for:
(Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826), Catalogue of the Library of the United States which is Annexed a Copious Index, Alphabetically Arranged, Washington: Jonathon Elliot, 1815, 4to, modern boards, (lacking end papers, some dampstaining). Sabin 15564; Shaw & Shoemaker 36250. Note: This is the celebrated and extremely rare catalog of Thomas Jefferson's library. Sold to the United States in 1815 for $23,950, it replaced the former National Library which had been consumed by fire in 1814 at the hands of British Troops. The best and largest private library in America, it seemed an ideal solution to sell the library as Jefferson needed the funds at the time (its selling price was inexpensive even by early 19th century standards). Its organization differs from his original classification which utilized the system described by Francis Bacon in Advancement of Learning. Here Jefferson takes Bacon's three categories of knowledge (Memory, Reason and Imagination) and further divides them into forty-four separate classifications. However, within each of these sections the titles are arranged in a manner which suited Jefferson but would, for the most part, be more random to another reader. George Watterson, the first librarian of Congress, attempted to rectify these issues by alphabetizing by first word all titles within each chapter.