the first censored book of the United States estimated at $ 35,000


to print

One of the few copies of New English Canaan, signed Thomas Morton in 1637, will be auctioned at Christie's House in New York on October 25th. What is considered the first banned book in the United States is estimated between $ 35,000 and $ 45,000.

Thomas Morton, best known for being one of the founders of the Mount Wollaston Settlement (now Quincy, Massachusetts), became even more famous in posterity with his book New English Canaan. Published in 1637, this manifesto rises against the Puritan settlers of New England. Born in Devonshire, England in 1576, Thomas Morton had an ideology of the colony far removed from his contemporaries. So in Mount Wollaston, the settlers frequented Native women, traded fur with the Indians, and invited the Algonquin people to their pagan celebrations.

The horrified Puritan settlers then banished her from America. After being arrested and then sent back to England, Thomas Morton takes the pen to denounce these confreres and praise the noble Algonquin people.

With the help of Ben Jonson and other literary personalities of the time, Morton was able to publish his manifesto, but this satire of the Puritan settlers was immediately banned in New England. A censorship that brings much more value to the book today: " When a book is subject to a censorship campaign, it means that it is a rare item. It becomes particularly interesting Says John Overholt, curator of Donald and Mary Hyde's collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson at Harvard.

The copy is in very good condition, assures the curator, in particular because " At the time of its printing, the paper was made from rag fibers, usually stronger than modern paper ". " To take care of rare books, the number one rule is to keep them in our living space. It is wrong to store them in an attic, in a basement or in a garage He resumed. The book is scanned at this address.

Via Electric Literature

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