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    Priestley on the History of Electricity
    and the Contributions of Benjamin Franklin

    Joseph Priestley. The History and Present State of Electricity, with Original Experiments. London: Printed for J. Dodsley, et al., 1767. First edition. Quarto. [4], xxxii, 736 pages, [10, index, advertisements, and engraved plate of "A Specimen of a Chart of Biography"]. Seven engraved folding plates of electrical machines. Plate I, facing page 263, with small ink letters written neatly on the diagram. Armorial bookplate of William Constable (1921-1791) on front pastedown. Full polished calf with gilt ruled boards, five raised spine bands with leather title label and gilt decorations in compartments, gilt board edges. Binding rubbed, scuffed, and lightly soiled, small tears at head of spine, front joint cracking; front hinge cracked, pencil bookseller's notes on front endpapers, both free endpapers coming loose, small unobtrusive pencil marks in margins throughout with a few annotations (one in pen on page 524), image offset from plates and text, some foxing, occasional soiling. Very good. From the collection of Donald Carter.

    More Information:

    Joseph Priestley, 1733-1804.

    "The History and Present State of Electricity, With Original Experiments was conceived as a methodized account of previous discoveries and an assessment of contemporary electrical studies, to encourage further work on the subject." -DSB, 11:141.

    "While at Warrington, Priestley was ordained and obtained an LL.D. from the University of Edinburgh (1764) in recognition of his work in education. There he also began his scientific career, with the writing of his History of Electricity for which he enlisted the support of Benjamin Franklin, John Canton, Richard Price, and William Watson, whom he met in London late in 1765. At their suggestion-before the History was published but after some of his experiments were known privately to his sponsors-he was nominated and elected F.R.S. in 1766." - DSB, 11: 140.

    William Constable FRS FSA, 1721-1791, the naturalist and scientist of Burton Constable Hall in East Yorkshire, contributed funds to help underwrite Joseph Priestley's experimental research.

    - Leonard H. Roberts. Young Mary Wollstonecraft's Schooling.... 1998. []


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