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FOURCROY, Antoine François (1755–1809). François Henri Stanislas de L’AULNAYE (1739–1831)
FOURCROY’S LIBRARY OF 2700 BOOKS.

FOURCROY, Antoine François (1755–1809). François Henri Stanislas de L’AULNAYE (1739–1831)

Catalogue des livres de la bibliothèque de feu M. A. F. de Fourcroy

Paris: Tilliard frères ... et, en août 1810, rue Hautefeuille, no. 22 [imprint on verso of half-title:] Baudouin et Cie., imp. du corps législatif et de l’institut de France, 1810
8vo: π2 2π2 a8 (+/–a1) A–T8 V–Z4 (Z4 + 1), 181 leaves, pp. [iv] [4] [v]–xx 338. The second section (2π2, pp. 4) is headed ‘Annonce’ and gives the times and dates of the sessions of the auction; it has a duty paid stamp of the Département de la Seine.
Condition: 210 x 122mm.
Binding: Later nineteenth-century half calf. Lower joint starting to split, worn.
Provenance: Unpriced, no marks of provenance.
First (only) edition.
Bibliography: Michael North, Printed Catalogues of French Book Auctions and Sales by Private Treaty 1643–1830 in the Library of the Grolier Club (2004), 496; Neville I, p. 465.
£3,000

An important catalogue intended to be used as a bibliography as well as a sale catalogue and including a classification scheme and indexes of authors and anonymous titles. Over 2,700 items in Fourcroy’s library are listed, 1800 of which are on science or medicine. There is a brief biography of Fourcroy with a list of his own works. The sale dates are given in the separately paginated announcement. The library was sold on consecutive days, Monday to Saturday 19 November to 22 December 1810, 29 days in all.
Fourcroy’s library is interesting in its own right, but also valuable as it provides a point of comparison with the library of Lavoisier who was his near contemporary and collaborator on the Méthode de nomenclature chimique (1787) which ushered in the chemical revolution. Lavoisier’s library was about the same size, 2,500 titles including pamphlets. Of the 1,746 books (excluding pamphlets) Beretta classifies 844 as scientific and medical (another 145 are on mineralogy and mining and 91 on agriculture and husbandry).
Literature: W. A. Smeaton, Fourcroy, Chemist and Revolutionary 1755–1809, p. 212. For comparison, see Marco Beretta, Bibliotheca Lavoisieria (1995).
Keywords:     chemistry    book history    library history