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Rare Books

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08540
609-258-3184
Curator of Rare Books
609-258-9942

In 1957, under the direction of Professor James Holly Hanford, the Library began a program to collect intensively English books printed during the latter years of the 17th century. The exact chronological limits selected were from the restoration of the house of Stuart in 1660 to the Whig revolution of 1688. Three broad categories of desiderata were established: (1) Politics, Journalism, Religion; (2) Science, Philosophy, Economics; (3) Belles Lettres, Music, Drama. In collecting the material, especially religious controversy, the Library took into account the holdings of the Princeton Theological Seminary. No checklists outlining special strengths of the Seventeenth Century Collection are known, however most holdings are marked in the Dulles Reading Room copy of the first edition of Wing. One special purchase in this field of late 17th century English studies was the Aiken collection on the "Glorious Revolution". See entry in this Guide for WILLIAM III. See also the entry for DRAMA in this Guide.

Although prepared for use with microfilms of books, the following printed indexes provide access to over 25,000 titles of the Wing period (1641-1700). See: University Microfilms International. Accessing Early English Books 1641-1700. (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1981) [(FilmB) Z2002 .U586 1981].

Also note that in 1990, UMI published a new nine-volume Early English books, 1641-1700, which includes a cumulative index to Wing in volume nine. The index provides author, title, and subject listings as well as lists of the contents to microfilm reel units 1-60 of UMI's series Early English Books II.

In 2003, the Library subsrcribed to EEBO, Early English Books Online. This service gives access to digital images of STC and Wing period books. For details, see this announcement.