CATALOG OF BOOKS IN THE NASHVILLE LIBRARY, MARCH, 1825, printed by Joseph Norvell, Nashville, 1825. 22-page pamphlet (including covers) with inventory of books in the Nashville library by subject matter (approximately 300 titles). Latter pages list Present Officers of the library and Library Rules. The front cover of this extremely rare imprint is signed by Judge John Overton, the early Tennessee jurist, advisor to President Andrew Jackson, co-founder of Memphis and owner of Traveller's Rest Plantation. Note: In 1813, the Tennessee General Assembly passed "an act to incorporate the Nashville Library Company." Seven directors were appointed to select a librarian, clerk and treasurer, but it wasn't until 1823 that the legislature passed an amendment authorizing a lottery to raise "up to $5,000" to actually purchase books. (Source: The Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, published by Marcel Dekker, Inc. 1976). Note this was not a Public Library, but rather a subscription-based business venture; each shareholder was required to pay a semi-annual contribution of one dollar on each share. Persons not holding shares could, however, pay 12 1/2 cents per week to borrow a book and were required to pay the Librarian a deposit equal to the value of the book before it could be removed from the premises. The library, located "above Robertson and Eliot's Bookstore" on the Public Square, was open two days a week. This pamphlet is the earliest known inventory of the books in the collection. 7 3/4" x 5". Provenance: the estate of Dr. Benjamin Caldwell, Jr., Nashville, Tennessee. CONDITION: Paper brittle and fragile; lower edges of interior pages with deckle edges indicating possible losses; top edge with acid burn; general overall toning and light foxing; corner losses; break to thread used in binding.
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