Sit Down With a Book Printed in 1623

November 22nd, 2016
Detail of one of William Lawson's garden designs (1623).

Have you seen the First Folio on display at the Chazen Museum of Art or the exhibit on “The Globe/Global in Shakespeare’s Time” in Special Collections?

Do you want to see more? Looking through glass at a book from 1623 (the year Shakespeare’s First Folio was published) is one thing; sitting down to read a book printed in London in 1623 can be a different experience. We invite you to try just that.

We have three such books from 1623 ready for you. Please see the person at the curved Special Collections reference desk, put your coat and bag in a locker, fill out a short registration card and show us a photo ID; and we’ll bring one or more of these books to you at a table in our comfortable reading room.

The books, all hailing from the Thordarson Collection, are slim volumes, printed on handmade paper, and trimmed (somewhat too tight) and rebound for Thordarson in the 20th century (complete with gilt edges and gold tooling on the spine and edges). The titles are long, typical for early 17th-century English books; the spelling is a bit odd for 21st-century readers; u’s and v’s are interchangeable, as are i’s and j’s; and the texts feature what’s known the “long s” (looking slightly like an f ) common in books of the period.

Markham, Gervase, 1568?-1637. Cheape and good husbandry for the well-ordering of all beasts, and fowles, and for the generall cure of their diseases: contayning the natures, breeding, choise, use, feeding, and curing of the diseases of all manner of cattell, as horse, oxe, cow, sheepe, goates, swine, and tame-conies: shewing further, the whole art of riding great-horses, with the breaking, and ordering of the, and the dieting of the running, hunting, and ambling horse, and the manner how to vse them in their trauaile: also, approued rules, for the cramming and fatting of all sorts of poultry and fowles, both tame and wild, &c.: and diuers good and well-approued medicines, for the cure of all the diseases in hawkes, of what kind soeuer: together with the use and profit of bees, the making of fish-ponds, and the taking of all sorts of fish … London: Printed by T.S. for Roger Iackson, and are to be sold at his shop neer the Conduit in Fleetstreet, 1623. Call number: Thordarson T 2143.

Markham, Cheape and good husbandry (1623). From the Thordarson Collection, Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Binding of Markham's Cheape and good husbandry (1623).

Markham, Gervase, 1568?-1637. (1623). Country contentments, or, The English husvvife: containing the inward and outward vertues which ought to be in a compleate woman: as her skill in physicke, surgerie, extraction of oyles, banqueting-stuffe, ordering of great feasts, perseruing all sorts of wines, conceited secrets … London: Printed by I.B. for R. Jackson, and are to be sold at his shop neere Fleet-street Conduit, 1623. Call number: Thordarson T 2144.

Markham, Country contentments (1623).

Markham, Country contentments (1623).

Binding of Markham, Country contentments (1623).

Lawson, William, active 1618. The country housewifes garden: containing rules for hearbs and seeds of common use, with their times and seasons, when to set and sow them: together with the husbandry of bees, published with secrets very necessary for every housewife: as also diuers new knots for gardens: the contents see at large in the last page. London: Printed for Roger Iackson, 1623. Call number: Thordarson T 2145.

Lawson, Country houswifes garden (1623).

Lawson, Country houswifes garden (1623).

One of several pages of garden design in Lawson's work.

One of several pages of garden design in Lawson’s work.

If these whet your appetite to see more from our holdings, we’ll be happy to help you use other rare books – from 1623 or otherwise – in a wide variety of subjects and languages.