Thomas Jefferson Papers

Edward Parker and Joseph Delaplaine to Thomas Jefferson, 27 April 1811

From Edward Parker and Joseph Delaplaine

Philadelphia 27 Apl 1811.


We take the liberty of soliciting your name as a subscriber to the Edinburgh Encyclopaedia. This very extraordinary work has already obtained a large share of public patronage in this quarter

With great respect & esteem we are your Obedt servts
Edward Parker
Joseph Delaplaine

Since the prospectus was printed, Professors Barton of Philada & Miller of New-York have engaged to assist in the work.

Doctr Barton is making arrangements to write the article America for the work.

RC (DLC); in Delaplaine’s hand; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr late President of the U States Monticello Virginia”; franked and postmarked; endorsed by TJ as received 5 May 1811 and so recorded in SJL.

Edward Parker was a bookseller and stationer at 178 High Street, Philadelphia. He remained in the trade until at least 1833 (H. Glenn Brown and Maude O. Brown, A Directory of the Book-Arts and Book Trade in Philadelphia to 1820, Including Painters and Engravers [1950], 92; Gordon M. Marshall, “The Golden Age of Illustrated Biographies: Three Case Studies,” in Wendy Wick Reaves, ed., American Portrait Prints: Proceedings of the Tenth Annual American Print Conference [1984], 34–6; James Robinson, The Philadelphia Directory for 1811 [Philadelphia, 1811], 240; Robert Desilver, Desilver’s Philadelphia Directory and Stranger’s Guide for 1833 [1833; with Parker listed as a bookseller in only one of two editions issued in this year, copy at DeU], 161).

Delaplaine ended a partnership with John Hellings to join Parker in selling The American Edition of the New Edinburgh Encyclopedia, 18 vols. (Philadelphia, 1812–32). Its prospectus, probably enclosed herein, quoted at length from the British prospectus, which pledged to include useful and up-to-date information, omit worthless detail, and “exhibit a luminous and comprehensive view of human knowledge.” The American edition was to include articles on that country by fifteen of its eminent scholars, including Robert Patterson and Benjamin Rush, to be printed in twelve quarto volumes of 800 to 900 pages each, with a half volume to be published each quarter, each to cost four dollars and be available by subscription only (Philadelphia Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser, 13 Apr. 1811).

Index Entries

  • Barton, Benjamin Smith; and Edinburgh Encyclopedia search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; American Edition of the New Edinburgh Encyclopedia search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; letters from search
  • Edinburgh Encyclopedia search
  • Hellings, John; and book trade search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; subscriptions search
  • Miller, Mr. (of New York); and Edinburgh Encyclopedia search
  • Parker, Edward; and American Edition of the New Edinburgh Encyclopedia search
  • Parker, Edward; identified search
  • Parker, Edward; letters from search
  • Patterson, Robert; and Edinburgh Encyclopedia search
  • Rush, Benjamin; and Edinburgh Encyclopedia search
  • subscriptions, for publications; encyclopedias search
  • The American Edition of the New Edinburgh Encyclopedia (Parker and Delaplaine) search