Philadelphia: Printed and Sold by Andrew Bradford, . pp. including two woodcut illustrations. 12mo. Printed self-wrappers, stitched. Contemporary numerical ink annotation in outer margin of p.. Fine, untrimmed. In a half morocco and cloth box. Item #WRCAM37721
A fine copy of Titan Leeds' AMERICAN ALMANACK for 1738, the year of the author's death. The death of Titan Leeds was a subject of some controversy earlier in the decade, when Benjamin Franklin, writing as Richard Saunders in the first issue of the "Poor Richard" almanac (and inspired by Jonathan Swift's famous Bickerstaff hoax of 1708), predicted that his "good friend and fellow-student" would die "on October 17, 1733, 3 hr. 29 m., P.M., at the very instant of the conjunction of the Sun and Mercury." When Leeds announced his survival the following year, launching invectives at his competitor, "Saunders" responded in his 1734 almanac that his "dear friend" must, indeed, have died, as the true "Mr. Leeds was too well bred to use any man so indecently and so scurrilously" as he had used "Poor Richard" in his protests. For the next several years Richard Saunders continued to insist that Leeds was no more, and following the announcement of Leeds' actual death in 1738, Saunders printed a letter from Leeds' ghost admitting: "I did actually die at that moment, precisely at the hour you mentioned, with a variation of 5 minutes, 53 seconds." The "ghost" of Titan Leeds, in fact, hovered in the imprint of THE AMERICAN ALMANACK through its 1746 issue, the final year for which Leeds was said to have calculated the calendar before dying. In addition to the calendar, the 1738 AMERICAN ALMANACK contains schedules for courts, Quaker and Baptist meetings, and fairs; a list of roads and distances between points from Boston to South Carolina; a catalogue of living monarchs and their dates of birth; an excerpt from THE DUNCIAD; original verse; a bookseller's advertisement for Andrew Bradford; and a note to the reader with apocalyptic speculations pertaining to the Pope. The titlepage features an elaborate armorial woodcut, and a woodcut anatomical depiction of the zodiac appears on page . DRAKE 9600. EVANS 4150. HILDEBURN 557. ESTC W22437.