Guide to the Research Collections
|SECTION -- IV -- THE PURE AND APPLIED SCIENCES|
|60 -- ARENTS TOBACCO COLLECTION|
|Books and Rare Periodicals|
Isolated issues of periodicals are retained when they contain articles relating to tobacco. The collection also holds rare serials such as Pipe Lover's Magazine, Bulletin de l'Association française contre l'Abus du Tabac, and Cope's Smoke Room Booklets and Other Publications.
Almost every American and English author of note is represented by first editions from the first work in the English language devoted entirely to tobacco, Anthony Chute's Tabaco (1595), through Aldous Huxley's Time Must Have a Stop (1944), and later publications. The list includes such rarities as Thomas Nash's Pierce Penilesse (1592), Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Laurence Stern's A Sentimental Journey (1768), Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Celestial Railway" (1846), Herman Melville's Mardi (1849), and Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island (1883). The range of works which refer to tobacco is large enough to include both A Counterblaste to Tobacco (1604) issued anonymously by James I, and a popular celebration of tobacco in Clement Clarke Moore's "A Visit from St. Nicholas," published in The New-York Book of Poetry (1837).
The Arents Tobacco Collection contains a wealth of British plays. Although the works of Shakespeare, curiously enough, make no reference to tobacco, the other great Elizabethan and Jacobean playwrights are well represented. There are the two "humour" plays of Ben Jonson, Every Man out of His Humour (1600) and Every Man in His Humour (1616). There is a first folio edition of the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher,
American from the age of European discovery is particularly well represented by such items as Peter Martyr's De orbo novo decades (1516), the works of Thevet, Benzoni, and Acosta, and a fine set of De Bry, along with Dutch, Spanish, French, and English editions of Esquemeling's work on American buccaneers, De Americaensche Zeerovers (1678).
The collection of early herbals is good; the holdings are described in the section on botany in chapter 58 of this Guide. Medical books are a specialty; of particular interest are those advocating tobacco as a cure for all diseases and distresses, such as Nicolás Monardes's Segunda parte del libro de las cosas que se traen de nuestras Indias Occidentales (1571) and Gilles Everaerts's De herba panacea (1587).4 There are rich holdings of medical books from the seventeenth century, including Edmund Gardiner's The Triall of Tobacco (1610), Stephen Bradwell's A Watchman for the Pest (1625), and Lorenz Strauss' Palaestra medica (1686), along with popular medical books such as James Primrose's De vulgi erroribus in medicina (1639) and The Kitchin-Physician, by "T.K." (1680).
Early dictionaries and grammars which mention tobacco are also present as, for example, John Florio's A Worlde of Words (1598), Jean Nicot's Thresor de la langue francoyse (1606), Ludovico Bertonio's Vocubulario dela lengua Aymara (1612), and a first edition of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language (1755).
Government publications are not currently collected by the Arents Tobacco Collection; such publications on tobacco may be found in the Economic and Public Affairs Division, which receives publications of the United States Government and those of the Canadian National Government. There are, however, a good many government documents of an historical nature in the Arents Tobacco Collection, such as those relating to the tobacco monopoly in France and for similar government monopolies in other countries of Europe and the Americas.