Boston: Edes and Gill, 1761.
First edition. 24pp, followed by an additional blank. 1 vols. 8vo. Stitched. Uncut. Very minor dampstain at the upper corner. Provenance: R. Cotton (early signature). Evans 9040; Sabin 104856. Item #319608
An early work of American astronomy, being John Winthrop's account of his journey to Newfoundland and observations on the transit of Venus. The Transit of Venus in 1761 and 1769, not visible through much of Europe, afforded the American colonies their first real opportunity for scientific contribution. The combined efforts of David West, David Rittenhouse and John Winthrop marked the arrival of American science on the world stage. Winthrop's expedition was funded by the legislature of Massachusetts Bay, in what must be among the first instances of public support of science in North America.
The efforts to view the transit of Venus across the surface of the sun was one of the first great international scientific efforts. David Rittenhouse in Philadelphia also undertook a North American observation, but English and French expeditions went as far as the Pacific Ocean to obtain sightings, and the results allowed the most accurate calculation of the size of the earth up to that time.
"Perhaps [Winthrop's] most important astronomical work was concerned with the two transits of Venus in 1761 and 1769, which engaged astronomers all over the world. For the 1761 transit Winthrop organized an expedition from Harvard to St. John's Newfoundland, which provided material for one of his most important papers [i.e. the present work]..." (Dictionary of Scientific Biography). Both of Winthrop's works are rare. Although well represented among institutions, the present works is scarce on the market.
This example with early provenance to R. Cotton, presumably Roland Cotton of Woburn and Sandwich MA, the son of the famed Boston clergyman of the same name.
Price: $2,500.00 Free International Delivery