17 June 2008
ABEL, Thomas (fl. mid-18th-century). Subtensial Plain Trigonometry, Wrought with a Sliding-Rule, with Gunter's Lines: and also Arithmetically, In a very consise Manner. Philadelphia: Andrew Stuart, 1761.
8o (159 x 100 mm). 7 engraved folding plates. (Browned, spotted, and with one or two pale stains.) Contemporary paper boards (rebacked in calf). Provenance: William Davis (signature and inscriptions); Long Island Historical Society (library stamp on title-page).
FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST AMERICAN BOOK ON TRIGONOMETRY. One of about 830 copies: "I doubt not, but some Subscribers will think the Book too little for their Money. But if they please to consider that I have spent a Year and nine Months in traveling upon Expenses; and that my traveling Expenses; and supplying my Family with common Necessaries of Life, has taken one Half of my Subscriptions. And that printing, Engraving, and Binding cost me near Fifty-five Pounds Sterling: They will find that I am but a small Gainer in the End, though I have 830 Books subscribed for" (Abel, from "To the Reader"). Included in an exhibition of early American school books at the American Antiquarian Society in October of 1913. This copy clearly used as a text book, with extensive inscriptions on the blanks and endpapers by "Senior" schoolboy William Davis in 1800, including a mathematical riddle and possibly an original poem "The Choice of a Wife." Evans 8777; Karpinsky 66.
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