EVELYN, John (1620-1705) -- CULPEPER, Nicholas (1616-54). An Ephemeris for the year of our Lord, 1653. London: John Macock for the Company of Stationers, 1653.
8° (158 x 103mm). Engraved frontispiece portrait of Culpeper by T. Crase, astrological chart, almanac tables. Uncut. (Upper corner of first four leaves torn with a little loss, some browning and staining.) 19th-century roan-backed boards, spine lettered in gilt (lightly worn). Provenance: John Evelyn (two autograph memos, one on 10 May and one on October, the latter recording the birth and christening of his son on 11 and 17 October 1653: my sonne John Standsfield borne at 10 ½ a clock at night. at Says Court. my son J S christned) -- Dawson Turner, 1848 (flyleaf inscription) -- purchased from W.H. Lowdermilk, Washington, 24 December 1952, $90.
AN UNRECORDED ORIGINAL SOURCE FOR EVELYN'S FAMOUS DIARY. Evelyn himself acknowledged that the Diary originated as memoranda entered on the blank pages of almanacs. Two almanacs annotated by Evelyn, for 1636 and 1637, survive at Balliol College, Oxford, and a third, for 1647, has not been located since 1925 (cf. Diary, ed. de Beer, vol. I, p.48); the present volume represents a fourth almanac whose two recorded events Evelyn later transferred into his Diary. The three -- and now four -- almanacs are among the only original sources for the Diary to survive. Evelyn compiled a large part of the Diary, primarily for entries up to 1684, from earlier notes such as those entered in the present almanac, and the earliest manuscript of the Diary (K) is a free copy made by Evelyn from those notes.
Evelyn here records the birth of his second child, John Stansfield Evelyn, on 11 October and the baby's christening on 17 October. As is to be expected given Evelyn's method of composition, the almanac entry is taken over almost verbatim in the Diary: '11 of October at 10 ½ houre night, my Sonn John Standsfild was borne ... & christned on 17th'. For the fuller Diary entry he discusses his son's namesakes and adds that the christening took place in the library at Sayes Court. John Stansfield survived a mere four months, first suffering convulsions on 27 November, and finally succumbing on 15 February 1654, recorded in the Diary as: 'Died my Son, J. Standsfield of Convulsion fits, buried at Deptford ... being a quarter old, & little more, as Lovely a babe as ever I beheld'. Evelyn has also annotated 10 May in the present almanac with 'Court at Warley', a note expanded in the Diary to: 'I kept Court at Warley magna in Essex'. Wing records 4 copies only of Culpeper's almanac. Wing A-1523.