Around Oxford Exhibitions

Books of the Hartlib Network

A presentation by Charles Webster at the Weston Library Coffee Morning on 28 April 2023 on the occasion of the launch of his book In Times of Strife.

Samuel Hartlib (c. 1600–1662) was a man of science and an agricultual and educational reformer, who relocated in the 1630s from Elbing (Royal Prussia) to London on account of the Thirty Years War. He formed a wide-spread network of connections with the goal to further human knowledge by collecting information on various scientific and other fields and striving to make it universally available. The Hartlib papers, which comprise his extensive correspondence, are housed at the University Library of Sheffield.

Charles Webster studied the Hartlib Papers during his time as a science school teacher in Sheffield from 1959 and has since published several works on Hartlib. In the first two chapters of In Times of Strife, Hartlib’s relationships to John Drury, Jan Amos Comenius, John Hall and William Rand of the Hartlib Network are described.

In the following, all books discussed are given with their number according to the Short-Title Catalogue (1475-1640) (STC), Thomason Tracts (a vast collection of printed pamphlets, books, and newspapers, printed mainly in London between 1640 and 1661, originally brought together by George Thomason, an important London bookseller and the friend of John Milton) (Thomason) and Wing’s Short-Title Catalogue (1641-1700) (Wing) and their revised editions. If the books are held in the Bodleian Library, the shelfmark with a link to the catalogue entry is provided, otherwise the link to Early English Books Online (EEBO) which combines the microfilm collections of the STC, Thomason, and Wing.

JAN AMOS COMENIUS (Komenský) (1592-1670)

Conatuum Comenianorum praeludia ex bibliotheca S.H. Oxoniæ : Excudebat Guilielmus Turnerus academiæ typographus 1637. STC15082.1; Madan I 197. Taylorian ARCH.A.G268.637 and Bodleian 4° A 28 Art. (5)

A reformation of schooles designed in two excellent treatises, the first whereof summarily sheweth, the great necessity of a generall reformation of common learning : what grounds of hope there are for such a reformation: how it may be brought to passe : the second answers certain objections ordinarily made against such undertakings, and describes the severall parts and titles of workes which are shortly to follow . published by Samuel Hartlib  (Facsimile reprint of 1st edition, London: Michael Sparke, 1642, Menston: Scholar Press Limited,1969). Wing  C5529. Bodleian 3021 e.307/143


Iunii Bruti Poloni Vindiciæ pro religionis libertate. Crell, Johann (1590-1633) 1637: 8° B 263 Th. and the reprint 1650 | Eleutheropoli [really Amsterdam] | (8⁰) 8° C 4(1) Th.BS.

The author of the anonymous pamphlet has been identified as Johann Crell, the identification of the translator was established by Charles Webster to be BenjamiN WorsleY (N. Y.).

A learned and exceeding well-compiled vindication of liberty of religion: written by Junius Brutus in Latine, and translated into English by N.Y. [London] Printed in the year 1646. Thomason E.1178[4]; Wing 2nd edn., C6879. EEBO.

JOHN HALL (1627-1656)   

Johann Valentin Andreae, Gesammelte Schriften, Bd. 6 (Stuttgart: Frommann-Holzboog, 1994-). M10.H00185

A modell of a Christian Society ….The right hand of Christian Love offered (Cambridge. Printed by Roger Daniel, 1647, sold at the Angel Lumbard Street). Wing H352; Thomason E625,17]. 8° W 84 Th. This tiny (12° / duodez) format book only survives in this one copy in the Bodleian Library. It has its own larger box to be able to shelf it without getting lost.

An humble motion to the parliament of England concerning the advancement of learning, and reformation of the universities, by J.H. (London, Printed for John Walker, 1649). Wing H350. Wood 515 (10) / Gough Oxon 68 (1)

Matæotechnia medicinæ praxeωs. The vanity of the craft of physick, or, A new dispensatory. (London, Printed for Giles Calvert 1651), Wing B2888. Tanner 202 (3) / Antiq.e.E.1651.4

WILLIAM RAND (1617-1663)

Jacobus Acontius,  Satans stratagems, or, The Devils cabinet-councel discovered (London. Printed by John Macock and sold by John Hancock, 1648) (Thomason 24 February) Wing A443. (OC) 1 d.202 / Pamph. C 87 (1)

Darkness Discovered. Or the Devils Secret Stratagems… (London: Printed by J.M. and sold by William Ley, 1651)  (Thomason  7 July). Wing A442. EEBO.

The mirrour of true nobility & gentility. : Being the life of the renowned Nicolaus Claudius Fabricius Lord of Peiresk, Senator of the Parliament at Aix. Written by the learned Petrus Gassendus, professor of the mathematicks to the King of France. Englished by W. Rand, Doctor of Physick. London : [1657] printed by J. Streater for Humphrey Moseley, and are to be sold at his shop at the Princes Arms in St. Pauls Church-yard. Wing G295. Douce G 143

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