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John Beale Bordley’s “Necessaries
John Beale Bordley’s “Necessaries”: An American Enlightenment Pamphlet in its Historical Contexts
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John Beale Bordley (1727-1804) first had “Necessaries” printed in 1776 as a 17-page pamphlet. In 1799, he revised his work and reprinted it as a chapter in “Essays and Notes on Husbandry and Rural Affairs.” “Necessaries” published a 3rd time in 1801, when “Essays and Notes” saw a corrected and expanded edition. With its history spanning Colonial, Revolutionary, and early national America, Bordley’s work provides an advantageous window from which to view some of early America’s central debates as they played out on the ground. Uncovering its historical contexts enriches our understanding of it as well as of its author and his enlightened, revolutionary, and increasingly Republican times. Illus. more info
A Life for Water: A Memoir
A Life for Water: A Memoir
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Luna Leopold (1915-2006) is widely viewed as the foremost student of rivers of the 20th century. This volume presents a selection of informal essays written over the course of his long career. These essays complement his professional articles and books, and they illustrate how he became increasingly concerned with environmental degradation. Leopold argued forcefully that engineering solutions should be ethically framed as well as practical, and with that in mind, in 1969 he drafted the first environmental impact statement. He was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1991 Illus. more info
Celebration of the Hundredth Anniversary of the American Philosophical Society
Celebration of the Hundredth Anniversary of the American Philosophical Society
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Transactions of the American Philosophical Society
Volume 107, Part 5
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Season of Conspiracy: Calvin, the French Reformed
Season of Conspiracy: Calvin, the French Reformed Churches, and Protestant Plotting in the Reign of Francis II (1559=60) Transactions Vol. 108, Part 5
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This volume considers the March 1560 conspiracy of Amboise and subsequent plots to remove the young King Francis II from the sway of his chief advisors of the house of Guise and improve the legal situation of France’s Protestant movement. New and rediscovered evidence -- most important, the testimony of a cabinetmaker engaged in the plotting from January through September -- reveals the conspiracies to have been more closely linked to the Reformed churches within France and to John Calvin in Geneva than previously understood. This compels a reconsideration not only of events often said to have constituted the first act of the French Wars of Religion, but also of Calvin’s political engagement and sagacity. Illus.
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John Laurance
John Laurance: The Immigrant Founding Father America Never Knew
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This long overdue biography of English-born New York lawyer John Laurance (1760-1810) restores an important missing piece to the founding narrative. With verve and sweep, Keith Marshall Jones III lays bare the middling Cornish émigré’s passage to Federalist America’s governing inner circle. Essential to the telling are five wartime years as General George Washington’s “courtroom Baron von Steuben” and battlefield father of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate Corps. Laurance spoke as New York City’s post-war pro-mercantile voice in the Confederation Congress, state legislature, and both houses of the fledgling federal Congress.

Keith Marshall Jones III is a direct descendant of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall. He is the author of Congress As My Government(2008), the definitive account of Marshall’s military service in the War for Independence; Farmers Against the Crown (2002, 2014); and The Farms of Farmingville (2001). His 2017 article “John Laurance and the Role of Military Justice at Valley Forge” in Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography introduced the forgotten immigrant New York lawyer to scholars and period history buffs.

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Art, Science, Invention
Art, Science, Invention: Conservation and the Peale-Sellers Family
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The Peale-Sellers Family Collection, held at the APS Library, is the world’s largest archival collection related to the Peales. Two recent American Philosophical Society Museum exhibitions, Curious Revolutionaries and Conservation and the Peale-Sellers Family Collection, included selected items from the collection. The conservation staff reviewed the selected items to ensure that they were stable enough to display for months without fading, discoloring, or suffering physical damage. When books or manuscripts could not be exhibited without conservation treatment, conservators repaired or stabilized them. Conservation of objects and material is essential today, as it was for Charles Willson Peale when he opened his museum in Philosophical Hall. Renée Wolcott tells readers in her introduction, “As the owner of the nation’s first natural history museum, Charles Willson Peale served as both curator and conservator, concerned with selecting specimens for exhibition and preserving them for future museum visitors. He was also his own archivist, saving letters, diaries, and museum records that passed through his family for generations before becoming enshrined in the APS Library. This book examines the materials Peale and his family have left us, considers their preservation challenges, and discusses the evolution of conservation care for archival collections. Case studies of conservation treatment for six historic Peale-related artifacts illustrate some of the ways in which today’s conservators preserve the materials of the past for the sake of the future.”

Renée Wolcott is Associate Conservator for Library and Archival Materials at the American Philosophical Society. She graduated from the Winterthur-University of Delaware Master’s Program in Art Conservation in 2011. Prior to joining the APS, Renée worked as a book conservator at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts. She also taught an undergraduate class in book history and conservation at the University of Delaware.

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A More Perfect Union:Essays on the Constitution_Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 1987
A More Perfect Union:Essays on the Constitution_Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 1987
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In commemoration of the 275th anniversary of the American Philosophical Society, this monograph is a reprint of articles from a symposium marking the 1987 bicentennial of the United States Constitution. Added to the collection is a significant and educational foreword by Laurence H. Tribe (Member of the American Philosophical Society, Class III, elected 2010), Carl M. Loeb University Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School. Also included is a transcript of Professor Tribe's Commencement Address delivered on May 17, 1987, at the American University Washington College of Law Commencement at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC (published in 37 American University Law Review1; reprinted with permission). more info
Optical Magic in the Late Renaissance:
Optical Magic in the Late Renaissance: Giambattista Della Porta's De Refractione of 1593: Transactions, APS (Vol. 107, Part 1)
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Essays by Benjamin Franklin
Essays by Benjamin Franklin: Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 1786: Transactions, APS (Vol. 107, Part 3)
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These essays have been collected and edited by the Amer. Philosophical Soc., of which Franklin was a founder, to honor the Society’s 275th Anniversary. Contents: Letter to Mr. Nairne, of London, from Dr. Franklin, Proposing a Slowly Sensible Hygrometer for Certain Purposes; A Letter from Dr. B. Franklin, to Dr. Ingenhausz, Physician to the Emperor, at Vienna, on the Causes and Cures of Smokey Chimneys; Description of a New Stove for Burning of Pitcoal, and Consuming All Its Smoke, by Dr. Franklin; A Letter from Dr. Benjamin Franklin, to Mr. Alphonsus le Roy, Member of Several Academies, at Paris. Containing Sundry Maritime Observations. Illus. more info
The Cuneiform Uranology Texts
The Cuneiform Uranology Texts: Drawing the Constellations: Transactions, APS (Vol. 107, Part 2)
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This book presents a newly recovered group of cuneiform texts from
first millennium Babylonia and Assyria that provide prose descriptions
of the drawing (eseru) of Mesopotamian constellations. The group
these constellations in terms of their parts: body parts for
constellations in human or animal form, parts of a wagon for “The Wagon”
and “The Wagon of Heaven” (the Big and Little Dipper), and so forth.
The descriptions also typically speak of the clothing
that constellations in human form wear, their beards if they are male,
and paraphernalia that they hold or carry. In the case of “The Crab” and
“The Wagon,” there is also reference to the Babylonian geometric shape
apsamakku, a four-sided figure. Illustrations.
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