A few moths ago the Libraries received two valuable rare books from Ronald K. Smeltzer, collector and bibliographer.
Nicolas Bion (1652-1733), Traite de la construction et des principaux usages des instrumens de mathematique, 3rd edition, Paris, 1725.
The Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology holds the first and second editions of Bion’s work on instrumentation. However, this newly donated third edition is a much enlarged and extended version of the previous two. The lavishly illustrated volume is complete in its original late Baroque leather binding. The allegorical frontispiece is by Scotin, and the portrait of Bion was engraved by De Larmession. The work describes a number of instruments: instruments of navigation, compasses, solar and lunar quadrants, optical instruments, lunettes and telescopes, microscopes and mirrors. Due to his theoretical and practical scientific work Bion was awarded with the official title, “the engineer to the King.” Donating Bion’s Mathematical instruments Ronald Smeltzer provided us with an exquisite early edition of a classic that had been missing from the Dibner Library collection.
Transactions of the American Philosophical Society; Volume 1. Philadelphia, 1771.
The only scientific periodical to appear in America before the Revolution, and the oldest scholarly journal published in the United States with a continuous history to this day. Its first series recorded society activities and reported on scholarly research in various disciplines both in the humanities and the sciences. Today the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society is a highly respected series of monographs, five of which are currently published every year. Recent authors include John M. Forrester on the Physiologia of Jean Fernel; Michael Chenoweth on 18th-century Jamaican climate, and Joseph Mali and Robert Wokler on Isaiah Berlin. Ronald Smelzer’s donation, the 1771 first volume of the Transactions of the Philosophical Society complements beautifully our run of this important American journal.—Lilla Vekerdy