Antiquarian Auctions

Auction #113 begins on 29 Feb 2024

Increase Mather

From An Increase Mather Sermon of 1685

An American Incunable

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A sample leaf from Increase Mather’s “The Mystery of Christ Opened and Applyed. In Several Sermons Concerning the Person, Office, and Glory of Jesus Christ.” published in Boston in 1686.
This very rare work was clearly popular at the time as there are three issues recorded [ESTC W26316; W19718 and R5443] – it is not clear which issue this leaf is from.
The last copy of the complete work recorded as sold at auction was at Sothebys in 1951.

Increase Mather (1639-1723) was a major figure in the early history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was a Puritan minister who was involved with the government of the colony, the administration of Harvard College, and most notoriously, the Salem witch trials. He was the son of Richard Mather, and the father of Cotton Mather, both influential Puritan ministers.

FROM AN INCREASE MATHER SERMON of 1685, an American incunable. This leaf comes from the hand of of the brother of Cotton Mather. Early American printed works - those printed before 1700 - are quite rare: and in the early Colonies the printing was wretched, the paper mean, and the quality of the whole effort poor. Nearly one hundred and fifty  years was to go by before printing in the United States would reach upward toward the eminence attained by European masters.  In this leaf one can clearly see the struggling American colonies and their effort to establish scholarly and religious independence. (16mo- approx. 3.5" x 5.75"), very nice condition.  Domestic s&h $10.

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