Mather Family Collection

The American Antiquarian Society holds a rich collection of American and English editions of the writings of Richard Mather of Dorchester, Massachusetts, and of his descendants, from forgotten Warham to never-to-be-forgotten Increase. This collection comprises approximately 515 volumes and is preeminent among the very strong Mather collections at the Boston Public Library, the University of Virginia (which holds the William Gwinn Mather-Tracy W. McGregor Collection), and the Massachusetts Historical Society. These volumes, agreeing in name if not in quality, are segregated from the Society's topical and chronological collections and are shelved as a unit. (An armful of late reprints and frequently used works, such as Cotton's "Diary," 1911, and Ronald Bosco's edition of "Paterna," 1976, are shelved in appropriate open access collections; their number is not included in the figure given above.)

Access to the American editions of Mather works printed through 1840 are available online. Foreign editions and works published in America after 1840 are listed in the General Catalog; English editions printed before 1801 are accessible through the catalogs produced by the Eighteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) project as well. The Society's holdings are incompletely listed in Wing's Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and British America...1641-1700, rev. ed. (New York, 1972- ), Evans's American Bibliography (Chicago and Worcester, 1903- 59), Shaw and Shoemaker's American Bibliography (New York, 1958- ), and, of course in Thomas J. Holmes's great bibliographies: Increase Mather, 2 vols. (Cleveland, 1931), Cotton Mather, 3 vols. (Cambridge, 1940), and The Minor Mathers (Cambridge, 1940), which incorporate exhaustive indexes compiled by Joseph Tuckerman Day and George W. Robinson. These bibliographies, together with the Society's card and online catalogs, make the corpus of Mather writings the most diversely accessible of the Society's well- cataloged collections.

- Keith Arbour, former Head of Readers' Services; updated by Joanne D. Chaison, Research Librarian

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