The Gentleman’s Dictionary: In Three Parts

My family and I recently went to London for holiday (yes, I’m just that pretentious, to change my vocabulary to match the vernacular of my most recent vacation destination).  While there, I took the opportunity to visit a rare book show: The London International Antiquarian Book Fair – super fun.  There were maybe 100 exhibitors and I have never seen so many exquisite books, maps and other manuscripts in one place before.  I found a couple things there but they were just out of my price range.  The most reasonable volume that would have fit my collection perfectly was The Benefit of Farting:

Sadly, at £6,500 it was not to be.  I subjected my poor family to nearly two hours of me racing from booth to booth looking at all kinds of things.  When we were done we continued our vacation and went to tour parliament.  Later in the week I found a shop a couple blocks from where we were staying – Peter Harrington Books.  There I found all kinds of things and I even brought two of them home with me.  Thanks have to go out to my loving Mom and Dad for indulging my collecting bug and for picking up those two books for me!

One I purchased because I was specifically looking for a vellum-bound book from the 17th century and this one was reasonably priced and a cool topic.  Instruction du Prince Chrestien was written by Andrew Rivet and published in 1642.  Written in French, it gives me an opportunity to finally pick up my language studies again.  The one I’m really excited about is The Gentleman’s Dictionary: In Three Parts.  This book was written by George Guillet de Saint-Georges and originally published in 1678 in French.  My copy was published in 1705 and is the first English edition.  What’s so cool about this book is that it describes things that a contemporary gentleman in the 17th/18th century should know.  Moreover, the book has an ownership inscription that reads “John Spurr’s Book – 1774”.  This the same time Major General John Spurr was serving in the state militia in Massachusetts and so it could be his book.  It would be amazing because Maj Gen John Spurr was one of the participants in the Boston Tea Party among other pivotal events in early American history.

It’s not likely that it is his signature but I’ve started the process of figuring this out.  If anyone is a history buff, a resident of Massachusetts near Charlton or knows anything about Maj Gen John Spurr, please let me know.  For those of you that are interested, I’ve included selected pictures of the book.

Happy Father’s Day all you Dad’s out there!