STITH, William (1707-1755)
The History of the First Discovery and Settlement of Virginia
Virginia, Printed: London, Reprinted: for S. Birt, 1753. 8vo. viii, 331, [1, blank], v, [1, blank], 34pp. Appendix with separate title and pagination.
Nineteenth century crushed morocco by Bedford, spine gilt with raised bands, marbled endpapers, gilt edges
Rare edition of the first history of Virginia printed in America.
Stith's text is one of the first American histories to be written and printed in the British colonies, and the first such in Virginia. Stith, who was well connected in the colony, had access to numerous important sources, including the library of William Byrd of Westover, the personal recollections of Sir John Randolph, county court books, the official records of the London Company, and John Smith's seminal history.
First published by William Parks in Williamsburgh in 1747, the present edition is comprised of sheets from the Williamsburgh edition with cancel titles printed in London. The bibliography of this work is complex, with at least two different 1747 Williamsburgh editions by Park, and some confusion over the present London edition. See Robinson, A Complete Index to Stith's History of Virginia in Bulletin of the Virginia State Library , Vol. 5, No.1 (January 1912). The present example conforms to the setting of type of the second Williamsburgh issue, but is unrecorded as such by Robinson.
The rarity of the London edition of Stith was noted as early as 1857, with a notice in the Historical Magazine (quoted in Robinson): "There are copies of Stith, we are informed (but we have not seen one), purporting to have been printed in London. If the book was reprinted in England, it is remarkable that copies of the edition are of such rare occurrence in our time. Certainly it is not so with other books first printed in the colonies."
Sabin 91861; Howes S1014; Evans 7125; cf. Berg 58; Church 963; ESTC T146954.