Book Notes – 2010

Some notes on the survival and availability of books and documents.


8/11/2010. Jindabyne and Hiawatha. Jon Cleary, The Sundowners (1952) was published in London by Laurie and New York by Scribner; the State Library of NSW has copies of each.

5/11/2010. Chemistry in the colonies. The State Library of NSW has a copy of the Elements of Chemistry by Jean-Antoine Chaptal from 1795; an 1801 copy of François Rozier, Le parfait vigneron, which draws on Chaptal; and a copy of Chaptal’s L’art de faire le vin from 1819.

A number of copies of Watkin Tench, A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson (1793) with interesting stamps or signatures are preserved in the State Library of NSW.

The State Library of NSW has a number of copies of James Busby, Treatise on the Culture of the Vine (1825) and A Manual of Plain Directions for Planting and Cultivating Vineyards (1830). One copy of the latter is inscribed ‘Alexd. Beny Esq with the author’s best regards – 30th June 1830’.

4/11/2010. Dr. Townson’s library. In early Sydney the library of Dr. Robert Townson (d. 1827) was undoubtedly unusual in its size and scope. He had no children, and at his death books from the library were advertised for sale. How many of his books survive to the present day? At one stage he advertised for sale some damaged books.

Among its old and rare books the State Library of NSW has the original edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries, 1765-1769, and the 16th edition, ‘with the last corrections of the author, and with notes by John Taylor Coleridge’, London, Cadell, 1825. The first edition is accessible online via the Yale University website.

On 3 March 1821 the Frenchman Francis Girard, former soldier of Napoleon turned language and dancing teacher in Sydney, referred to in the entry on Coffee shops, advertised for sale ‘Chambaud’s Dictionary, French and English, in 4 Volumes’ (Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 3/3/1821, p. 2). The State Library of NSW has a two-volume version of Louis Chambaud, Nouveau dictionnaire françois-anglois & anglois-françois, published in London in 1805. It seems likely (in the light of a brief check) that the dictionary was published in one volume originally and then generally in two volumes (French – English, English – French). Was a four-volume edition produced in France?

2/11/2010. Varro in the suburbs. For Varro the State Library of NSW has a number of eighteenth-century books and some of earlier date.

1/11/2010. Vergil at the GPO. The State Library of NSW has a number of copies of works by Vergil, including the Georgics, from the nineteenth century and earlier.

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