A Volume of Bound Tracts - Ten Evans titles from the 1720s that were not already in the collection came to the Society following the tap of an auctioneer’s hammer on a snowy evening in the winter of 2010. The sammelband, or volume of tracts, was bound for the Reverend Jonathan Parsons (1705-1776), a Yale graduate, who began his ministry at the First Congregational Church of Lyme, Connecticut, in 1731. By 1770, he had moved to Newburyport, Massachusetts, where he tended the revival preacher George Whitfield on his deathbed and preached his funeral sermon.

The pamphlets—all sermons or discourses on theological topics—range in date from ca. 1709 to 1735, and were printed in Boston, Newport, New York, Philadelphia, and New London, Connecticut. One is an anonymous response to an early Benjamin Franklin tract; another was issued by Franklin’s older brother, James. Three were issued from the New York press of John Peter Zenger, just before his famous 1735 trial and acquittal for seditious libel. Eight are new to the collections, one improves a defective copy, and one (a Zenger imprint) was found to differ textually from the AAS copy. All of the pamphlets are rare: no more than five—and sometimes only two—copies of any are known.

The well preserved binding of mottled sheep, blind-tooled in a panel design with sprinkled edges, was charming for the out-of-square boards used to form its covers. Parsons evidently had a collection of bound tracts, as this volume was marked no. 6. Sid & Ruth Lapidus Fund.

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