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John Boyd Thacher Collection

Incunabula, early Americana, material pertaining to the French Revolution, autographs, (approximately 5,200 items).

The book and manuscript collection of John Boyd Thacher (1847-1909), a manufacturer and politician from Albany, New York, was deposited at the Library in the 1910s and 1920s and donated through his widow's bequest. The collection is composed of four distinct bodies of material -- incunabula, early Americana, material pertaining to the French Revolution, and autographs. The early printed books include works produced by more than 500 fifteenth-century presses and such outstanding items as a vellum copy of Rationale Divinorum Officiorum by Gulielmus Durantis (Mainz: Johann Fust and Peter Schöffer, 1459) and the only known American copy of Breviarium Moguntinum (Marienthal: Frates Vitae Communis, 1474) and Vocabularis ex Quo (Eltvil: Nicholas Bechtermüntze, 1476). Mr. Thacher drew upon his extensive collection of Americana for his publications, The Continent of America (1896) and Christopher Columbus (1903-4). This segment of the Thacher collection is highlighted by copies of 34 early editions of Ptolemy's Geographia, three editions of Martin Waldseeemüller's Cosmographiae Introductio printed before 1510, and the famous Travisan manuscript, written in Venice about 1503, concerning Spanish explorations in America during the period 1492 to 1500 and Portuguese voyages to India from 1497 to 1502. Mr. Thacher also assembled books, contemporary newspaper accounts, pamphlets, and manuscripts as source material for projected work on the French Revolution. Virtually every figure important to the revolutionary movement is represented by autographs, including Danton, Lavoisier, Marat, and Robespierre. The autograph collection focuses on European royal families and contains items dating from as early as the fourteenth century. The Library has published a three-volume catalog of the collection.

Supporting Materials

A Partial List of Digitized Items from the John Boyd Thacher Collection

Cosmographiae introduct [Apian, Peter, 1495-1552. Cosmographiae Introductio: Cum Quibusdam Geometriae ac Astronomiae Principijs ad eam rem Necessarijs. Venetijs : In calcographia Francisci Bindonis, et Maphei Pasini, Socijs ..., mense Maij 1537.
Page Turner - Bibliographic Information

Charlevoix, Pierre-François-Xavier de, Histoire de I'Isle Espagnole ou de S. Domingue: Ecrite Particulierement sur des Memoires Manuscrits du p. Jean-Baptiste le Pers, Jesuite, Missionnaire à Saint Domingue, & Sur les Pieces Originales, qui se Conservent au Dépôt de la Marin. A Paris: Chez Hippolyte-Louis Guerin, 1730-1731.
Volume 1: Page Turner - Bibliographic Information

Volume 2: Page Turner - Bibliographic Information

De honesta voluptate Platina. De Honesta Voluptate Impressu[m] in Ciuitate Austrie [Cividale], 1480.
Page Turner - PDF (83.1 MB) - Bibliographic Information

Verardi, Carlo, 1440-1500. In laudem Serenissimi Ferdinandi, Hispania[rum] Regis, Bethicae & regni Granatae obsidio victoria & triu[m]phus. Et De insulis in Mari Indico nuper inuentis.Page Turner - Bibliographic Information

Cosmographiae introductio: Cum Quibusdam Geometriae ac Astronomiae Principiis ad eam rem Necessariis. Insuper Quatuor Americi Vespucij nauigationes Waldseemüller, Martin, 1470-1521? Cosmographiae introductio: Cum Quibusdam Geometriae ac Astronomiae Principiis ad eam rem Necessariis. Insuper Quatuor Americi Vespucij nauigationes... Vrbs Deodate [St. Dié ]: [Walter et Nikolaus Lud], Finitu[m] vij. k[a]l[endas] Maij anno supra sesquimillesimum. vij. [25 April 1507].
Page Turner - Bibliographic Information


U.S. Library of Congress, Annual Report of the Librarian of Congress, 1927, p. 25-29.

U.S. Library of Congress, Rare Book Division (Washington: Library of Congress, 1965), p. 14-16.

U.S. Library of Congress, John Boyd Thacher Collection, The Collection of John Boyd Thacher in the Library of Congress (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1931).

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  August 10, 2021
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