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Title:book: The Secretes of the Reverende Mayster Alexis of Piemovnt
Date Made:1559
Materials:paper, ink, pencil, leather
Place Made:United Kingdom; England; London
Measurements:overall: 7 1/4 in x 5 3/8 in x 1 1/2 in; 18.415 cm x 13.6525 cm x 3.81 cm
Accession Number:  HD 59.362
Credit Line:Gift of Mrs. Helen Myers Curtis
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

"The Secretes of the Reverende Mayster Alexis of Piemonnt. Conteinyng many excellet Remedies agaynst dyuers diseases, woundes, and other accidentes, with the manner to make Dystillations, Parfumes, Confitures, dyinges, colours, fusions, and meltings. A worke wel approved, verye profitable and necessay for every man. / Translated out of French into English by Wyllyam Warde. / LONDINI / Anno a virgineo partu. / M.D.LIX. [1559]," The front cover pages have a number of inscriptions including: "Dr. E. J. Williams, / Charles City, Iowa."; "Williams" bookplate for "HARRIET WILLIAMS MYERS / 311 N. Ave 66"; "E.J. Williams"; "Henry Smith Williams / 1887"; "Henry Wells / eius Liber / 1758"; "Dono Patris"; "1820 / 1559 / 261"; "1878 / 1559 / 319 / H.S.W. March 15th, 1870." The inscriptions on the Title page include: "David Baker, Esq."; "5q- 362"; "Hobert"; "David Jue? / a Doer all / sorts of medicine"; Philrpus ban ?'; ? Glator"; "glintworth & Company"; amd "bought of John ?" The inside back cover is inscribed, "Mrs. W. A. Myers / Garvanga / Cal." There are also a number of other written notes throughout the book, including two long entries, one dated 1651. This book came from the descendants of Dr. Stephen West Williams (1790-1855) of Deerfield, who married Harriet Taylor Goodhue in 1818. Harriet was the daughter of Dr. Joseph Goodhue (1762-1849) who was a doctor at Fort Constitution, N.H., and moved to Deerfield by 1822. Stephen and Harriet had four children, one of whom, Dr. Edward Jenner Williams (1823-1881), studied medicine with his father and and then moved to Laona, Illinois, where he married Orilla Nancy Webster in 1856. Two of their three sons and their daughter lived to adulthood - Dr. Henry Smith Williams (1863-1943), Dr. Edward Huntington Williams (1868-1944), and Harriet Goodhue Williams Myers (1867-1949) who wrote a privately printed book (1945), "We Three, Henry, Eddie and Me: Henry Smith Williams, Edward Huntington Williams, Harriet Williams Myers." The donor, Helen Myers Curtis (and her sister, Neva Myers Brown), were the daughters of Harriet Williams Myers (see spectacle case, HD 64.168) and William Raymond Myers, and first cousins of Dorothy Williams Hartigan, the daugher of Henry Smith Williams and Florence Whitney Williams. Both Mrs. Curtis and Mrs. Hartigan gave Historic Deerfield a number of Williams/Goodhue family pieces. The first edition of this book was published in 1558 containing only the first part, and consisting of six books. Another two editions were printed in 1559, which contain a 4-page dedicatory letter by William Ward (1534-1609), a physician and translator, to Lord Rusell, Earl of Bedford (found in this book), notable for its protest against the folly of ‘some curious Christians among us nowadays … which most impudently despise all manner of medicines’, and for its defence of the ‘heavenly science’ of physic. Ward mentions Christopher Plantin's edition of a French translation (Antwerp, 1557) as his original. The work became very popular as a treasury of medical and other knowledge in all the countries of Europe. The identity of Alexis or Alessio of Piedmont has not been satisfactorily settled, but has been attributed to Girolamo Ruscelli (d.1566), a Venetian scholar and writer. This book may have been cut down; it has been rebound.

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