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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Chronology Delineated

I have seen the ads for Historyshots and I really need one of these for the living room... the description of the print is cool, too.

Chronology Delineated, published in 1813, is the only collaborative work between James Wilson and Isaac Eddy. Wilson and Eddy were part of a talented group of engravers, publishers and map makers who lived in Windsor county Vermont, an important center of early printing in the United States.

Wilson was born in New Hampshire in 1763 and spent his early adult life as a farmer. In 1796 he moved to Bradford, Vermont where he became interested in geography and cartography. Wilson bought the third edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica for $130 and used it as a base for his self-taught knowledge of the social sciences. He became interested in globes when he visited Dartmouth College and observed a set of European-made globes. In 1810 he finished his first globe, a 13 inch globe that he sold for $50. In order to meet the demand for his globe, Wilson and his sons opened a second factory in Albany, New York.

Isaac Eddy was born in Weathersfield, Vermont in 1777. He was married twice and was the father of 13 children. From about 1812 to 1816, Eddy setup and operated a printing and engraving operation that became one of the creative hot spots in Windsor county. During this time he made the engravings for the first edition of the Vermont Bible, printed a number of books, and collaborated with Wilson. Two of his apprentices, Lewis Robinson and George White, became important artisans in the history of printing in Vermont. Eddy moved to Troy, New York in 1826 and died in 1847.

Based on the skills of each man, it is believed that Wilson engraved the text while Eddy engraved the pictures in Chronology Delineated. Evidently Eddy was also a master of early American marketing. Below is a portion of his 1814 prospectus for the print:

"Isaac Eddy, Engraver and Copper Plate Printer, Weathersfield, Vermont, has just published, and offers for sale, by the Hundred, Dozen, or Single a CHRONOLOGICAL CHART, to illustrate the History of Monarchical Revolutions. This Chart is the work of an eminent French Historian and Chronologer, and was first published at Paris. The encouragement it has met with among men of genius and learning is no small proof of its general utility. Since its first publication it has passed through twelve large editions in France, besides several in Great Britain. It is engraved on a copper plate, upward of three feet in length, and about two feet in width, and the work much finer than usual in works of this size....

It is represented by a Tree at the root of which is a Frontispiece, representing about 3o Beasts, Birds, etc. and the first man Adam giving names to them, as represented in the Book of Genesis. This has never been inserted in any European edition, and is executed in an excellent manner....

In short, it is the most concise and accurate system of chronology ever published, and intelligible to every person capable of reading. Nothing in the power of the Publisher, has been wanting to render the present edition accurate, and the impression elegant. Without arrogating too much to himself, he thinks he can safely affirm, that, in point of elegance, this edition is vastly superior to any before published, and, in this affirmation, he is supported by the opinion of Engravers of the first eminence.

To the Patrons of the Fine Arts, this work is addressed, - and since Literature in general is encouraged, and the fine arts are patronized; since the present is the first American edition, of a work so justly celebrated in Europe; and since it is at once useful, amusing and ornamental; the Publisher hopes to secure their approbation, and meet with liberal encouragement in this attempt to disseminate useful knowledge.

Gentlemen holding Subscription Papers, are desired to call or send, and receive their Copies, within three months, otherwise the Publisher will not consider himself holden to deliver them at the subscription price. Weathersfield, May 9, 1814."

an obvious must-have for the War of 1812 or Regency enthusiasts...


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