Recent Acquisitions feature: Thirty Different Drafts of Guinea

In anticipation of the Rare Book Collection’s Recent Acquisitions Evening on March 22, we’re highlighting a number of the items that will be on display.

One notable work is William Smith’s 1728 Thirty Different Drafts of Guinea.

Smith was a surveyor for the London-based Royal African Company, and Thirty Different Drafts of Guinea represents a record of the British slave trade in West Africa in the early part of the eighteenth century. A large folding coastal map shows the locations of slave forts on the African coast from Gambia to Whydah (in present-day Benin).

This appears to be a pre-publication copy, in which some of the plates are in an early, less complete state — later printings of the plates include alterations and additions.

This copy belonged to Edward Deane, director of the Royal African Company’s fort at Whydah, whose annotations appear in the book. It also contains a subscriber list that enumerates people committed to purchasing it. The list includes Barbados merchants, Royal African Company agents, and Irish noblemen and clergymen, as well as John, Thomas, and Springett Penn — sons of Quaker and Pennsylvania founder William Penn.


This and many other items will be on display at the Rare Book Collection’s Recent Acquisitions Evening, a not-under-glass display of some of the Collection’s notable acquisitions. We hope you’ll join us on March 22 for the unique opportunity to see these remarkable items up close.

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