Rede, Leman Thomas; Bibliotheca Americana; Or, A chronological catalogue of the most curious and interesting books, pamphlets, state papers, &c., upon the subject of North and South America, from the earliest period to the present, in print and manuscript : for which research has been made in the British Museum, and the most celebrated public and private libraries, reviews, catalogues, &c. : with an introductory discourse on the present state of literature in those countries. London: printed for J. Debrett, J. Sewell, R. Baldwin, and J. Bew & E. Harlowe, 1789. Quarto, pp. 271.
This book is complete and in a contemporary full calf with gilt borders and titles and raised bands. The binding is tight and clean, inner hinges nicely re-enforced, text is very clean with minor light foxing. In very good condition.
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This anonymous work has in the past been ascribed variously to Alexander Dalrymple, Homer, Long, and Reid Church, but is now known to have been written by the writer Leman Thomas Rede, (1754-1810) a Barrister and student of the The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple. Rede compiled the work from the holdings of the British Museum "and the most celebrated public and private libraries, reviews, catalogues, etc". For the historian the work is of particular value since it includes manuscript material in addition to printed works, and also for the 17 page "Introductory Discourse on the State of Literature in North and South America, " which includes musings on the benefits of freedom of the press. Rede also includes interesting details on book selling in the United States. First edition of this important work on early printed and manuscript Americana which contains a wealth of valuable information.