The finest sequence of Reformer engravings ever issued, and ex library James Logan, an important early American Bibliophile, Mayor of Philadelphia, and friend of Benjamin Franklin.
Rolt, Richard. The Lives of the Principal Reformers, both Englishmen and Foreigners, Comprehending the General History of the Reformation; from its Beginning in 1360, by John Wickcliffe, To its Establishment, in 1600, Under Queen Elizabeth. With an Introduction; Wherein the Reformation is Amply Vindicated, and its Necessity Fully Shewn, from the Degeneracy of the Clergy, and the Tyranny of the Popes. The Whole Embellished with the Heads of the Reformers, Elegantly Done in Metzotinto, by Mr. Houston. London. Printed for E. Bakewell and H. Parker, Opposite Birchin-Lane. 1759. 200pp.
The twenty-one biographies and plates include: John Wickliffe, John Huss, Jerom of Prague, John Colet, Erasmus, John Oecolampadius, Ulricus Zuinglius, Martin Luther, Martin Bucer, Philip Melanchthon, Peter Martyr, John Calvin, Henry Bullinger, Theodore Beza, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Nicholas Ridley, Hugh Latimer, John Hooper, Thomas Cranmer, and Queen Elizabeth.
Ex libris James Logan [1674-1751] of Philadelphia with his armorial bookplate and signed by Logan at the head of the title page. See his biography below*.
A significant folio, measuring 16 inches in height. Retains original full calf board with is substantially rubbed; spine similar and rear board neatly recovered in kyvar. Pastedown bears the label of James Logan and the Friends Library. Textually solid and complete. Some foxing, as usual. A mid-text block wave that increases throughout the block. Small tear with no textual loss at head of first leaf of text.
Very scarce in its original state with all 21 plates. A similarly clean copy is on the market with only 19 of its 21 plates, offered at $750.00. And that example lacks the John Calvin plate, by many considered the most desirable.
*James Logan [1674 – 1751] was a Scots-Irish colonial American statesman, administrator, and scholar who served as the fourteenth mayor of Philadelphia. Born in County Armagh, Ireland to Ulster Scots Quakers, he served as colonial secretary to William Penn.
Though a Quaker, he was perhaps not a “thorough” one. As a politician, he opposed Quaker pacifism and war tax resistance, and encouraged pacifist Quakers to give up their seats in the Pennsylvania Assembly so that it could make war requisitions from the Delaware peoples.
Throughout his life in the colony Logan engaged in various mercantile pursuits, especially fur trading, with such success that he became one of the wealthiest men in the colonies. This allowed him to pursue his passion . . . book collecting.
While Logan would eventually become mayor of Philadelphia, chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, lieutenant governor, and acting governor he is best known for being a bibliophile, confessing once that "Books are my disease." He collected a personal library of over 3,000 volumes. Some commentators consider Logan's library to have been the largest and best collection of classical writings in America at that time.
Logan would in time become known to Benjamin Franklin and his "Junto;" an influential group of friends that would meet weekly and discuss scholarly and political issues. He became a mentor to Franklin, who published Logan's translation of Cicero's essay "Cato Maior de Senectute.” Eventually, the Junto decided to establish a subscription library, a cooperative endeavor where members would pay a fee for use of the library. Franklin and the other members of the Junto considered Logan the "best Judge of Books in these parts."