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Gift of the Mirick Family of Princeton, Massachusetts

The Mirick family has been a part of Massachusetts's history since John Mirick sailed from Wales in the fall of 1635 to settle in Charlestown. Four generations later, in 1777, the Miricks built a homestead in Princeton, which has remained in the family until the present day.

In 1981, John O. Mirick, a member of the eleventh generation of the Mirick family, was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society. His recent donation of the family library, collected over multiple generations, is of particular interest for the family associations, inscriptions, and marginalia that decorate these volumes.

Many of the books from the Mirick family library were used for young men's education and career preparation. Law books, theological treatises, bookkeeping ledgers and geological survey manuals provided specialized knowledge.

Among the donation are books that belonged to a husband and wife. Paul Moore Mirick married Eunice Beaman in Princeton in the mid-nineteenth century. Both appear to have treasured books they received as part of their early education.

Books also came into the family through the matrilineal line. The earliest books in the collection and displayed here all belonged to Arthur G. Whittemore, presumably an ancestor of Margaret Whittemore, John O. Mirick's mother. An interest in law and public service carried throughout the Mirick's (and their in-law's) family and is preserved in the books from their family library now at AAS.

Clark Mirick book
  History of the Discovery of America by Henry Trumbull (Norwich [Conn.], 1812) bears the inscription: "Clark Mirick & Samuel Richardson's Book. -- Borrower, -- Be particular to return this Book to the owners." Dual ownership (and lending out) apparently decimated the book, as each leaf of the eight-page appendix had to be sewn together and the first few sections were sewn back into their binding.

reward of merit

  A reward of merit card in one of the family's texts may explain why this book was preserved. In a biographical sketch of prominent New England families, Paul M. Mirick is described as having "received only a limited education as a youth and [he] assisted his father on the farm." Yet the book that survives with his inscription -- "Paul M. Mirick, Princeton, 1837" -- is William Sullivan's The Political Class Book; Intended to Instruct the Higher Classes in School in the Origin, Nature and Use of Political Power (Boston, 1837). Presumably, he received the book as a gift along with the reward of merit card.

Eunice Mirick stamp
  Another book belonged to Paul Mirick's wife, Eunice (Beaman) Mirick. Memoir of Nathan W. Dickerman who Died at Boston, (Mass.) January 2, 1830 In the Eighth Year of His Age by Gorham Abbott (Boston, 1832) bears the original inscription: "Eunice Beaman, A present from her Sabbath school Teacher." It was later also stamped with her married name, "Eunice B. Mirick," indicating the book was of continuing worth to her.

C.C. 
Baldwin "One day I am visited by a collector of ordination sermons; the next, by a collector of 4th of July orations; then comes a collector of geography; another wants religious newspapers; another wants every book printed in New York before 1700. I accommodate myself to all; for I want every thing and collect every thing, and I have more zeal than the whole of them: and in this way I am kept very busy."
~Christopher Columbus Baldwin
 3rd Librarian of AAS

For almost two hundred years the librarians at the Antiquarian Society have worked to build collections by purchase and by donation. This page displays a recent product of our zeal.
~Nancy Burkett
 The Marcus A. McCorison Librarian of AAS (and 13th in the line of AAS librarians)

 

Additional Information

Recent Acquisitions Index

Recent acquisitions in the Newspaper Department

 


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Last updated September 19, 2005

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