KOMETOGRAPHIA, OR A DISCOURSE CONCERNING COMETS; WHEREIN THE NATURE OF BLAZING STARS IS ENQUIRED INTO...AS ALSO TWO SERMONS OCCASIONED BY THE LATE BLAZING STARS.

Boston in New-England: Printed by S.G. for S.S., 1683. [8],38,[2],32,[14],143,[3]pp. Near-contemporary full sheep. Spine head a bit chipped, minor scuffing, some edge wear and light staining to boards. Bound with blanks A1 and K8, as issued, with the two sermons, HEAVENS ALARM TO THE WORLD, and THE LATTER SIGN, each with separate titlepages, jointly collated separate from KOMETOGRAPHIA, this being the second impression of HEAVENS ALARM. Occasional minor staining or toning, minor loss to bottom corner of leaf C7 of HEAVENS ALARM, handful of leaves in KOMETOGRAPHIA trimmed close or with minor text loss or just touching text at edges, sometimes affecting page numbers, catchwords, or marginal notes, leaf G7 with horizontal closed tear into the text, leaf K6 with minor loss along fore edge, costing all or most of about twenty words of text on each side of the leaf. Contemporary and later ink notations on a few leaves, including ownership inscriptions in 1685 and 1740. Overall, in good condition. In a cloth chemise and half morocco and cloth box, spine gilt. Item #WRCAM54880

A landmark work in the development of astronomy and empirical science in the British colonies in the New World, with the full complement of texts, and infrequently found thus. Increase Mather's KOMETOGRAPHIA... and THE LATTER SIGN were prompted by the appearance of Halley's Comet over North America in 1682. Mather had written HEAVENS ALARM on the occasion of a 1680 comet, and these works demonstrate not only Mather's interest in science and natural phenomenon, but his attempts to reconcile scientific observation with religious faith. In the KOMETOGRAPHIA..., however, we find a work of a character wholly different from the two other sermons - a treatise on the nature and history of "blazing stars," written at a distance somewhat removed from their theological significance, and incorporating observations on the trajectory and physical demeanor of Halley's Comet (the former recorded by Boston printer John Foster). The work also includes allusions to the latest opinions on comets, and references to, among others, Kepler, Hevel, Tyco Brahe, and Robert Hooke. Mather intended his treatise for both the ordinary reader and one with some background in the complexities of contemporary astronomy. For the former, he included accounts of previous appearances by comets, along with some discussion of the events they were said to presage. For the latter, more sophisticated reader, Mather recorded "some things of the nature, place; motion of Comets, which only such as have some skill in Astronomy can understand." Of this work, Mather's biographer, K.B. Murdock, states: "Both Halley and Newton completed their scientific pioneering in regard to comets, after 1680. In writing his KOMETOGRAPHIA...Mather was a contemporary student of the same phenomena...his book quite defies the classification as one which 'supports the theological cometary theory fully.' Instead, his doctrine is most cautiously expressed...He accepts some of the newest scientific tenets, and his attempt to combine them with his religious views results in a position held by others for a century after him, and not wholly abandoned today...in the matter of comets, Mather was in the front rank of his time." A truly stellar work, and one of the most celebrated 17th century American imprints, seldom found in with its two adjoining pamphlets or with all blanks, as in this copy. HOLMES, INCREASE MATHER 67A,62B1. CHURCH 682. EVANS 352. SABIN 46696. MURDOCK, INCREASE MATHER, pp.145-47.

Price: $25,000.00

A Classic Work of Colonial American Astronomy