“ONE OF THE FIRST TECHNOLOGICAL BOOKS OF MODERN TIMES”: FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF AGRICOLA’S DE RE METALLICA, INSCRIBED AND SIGNED BY TRANSLATOR HERBERT HOOVER
(HOOVER, Herbert) AGRICOLA, Georgius. De Re Metallica. Translated from the First Latin Edition of 1556. London: Mining Magazine, 1912. Folio (8-1/2 by 13 inches), original full vellum, uncut. $3200.
First edition in English of this lavishly illustrated landmark scientific work, “one of the first technological books of modern times,” translated, with annotations, by the 31st President of the United States, Herbert Hoover, and his wife. This copy inscribed and signed by Herbert Hoover to a fellow scholar of mineralogy, “S.H. Ball, Esq., with compliments of H.C. Hoover.”
Hoover, a mining engineer before entering politics, annotated this edition; his wife, a former Latin teacher, was responsible for the bulk of the translation. Includes a life of Agricola, and an appendix of his works. One of an estimated 1476 copies printed (Norman 21). With reproductions of all 270 woodcut diagrams and illustrations included in the 1556 first Latin edition. Honneyman I, 36. Hoover 28. See Dibner, Heralds of Science 88 (1556 first edition). Inkstamp "423" below signature. The recipient, Sidney H. Ball, was an author and scholar of mineralogy and metallurgy.
Faint offsetting from an old clipping affecting inscription, but not touching signature. Closed tear to page 571, only slightly affecting woodcut illustration. Original vellum darkened, with repair to front joint. An extremely good inscribed copy.