advice to the reader
Here before your eyes, good Reader, you have the Catalogue of the Books in the Harvard Library, concerning which you should have a word of advice, before perusal.
The books are disposed in cases or housings; and the shelf mark is written on every one, answering their division and distribution by seven levels of height in the cases (which we call classes); and lastly, attached to every case hang indexes of all the books that are in it.
The author of this work, obedient to the commands of the Reverend College Senate, composed the Catalogue in three parts, alphabetically arranged, according to the different formats, by “Folio,” “Quarto,” and “Octavo, etc.” In which he carefully marked not only the case or class, but also the position, so that the location of every book in its case would be quite easy to find. For this purpose, he has placed three separate columns of numbers in the left margin: the first denoting the number of the case, the second of the height, the third of the book. Here one may note that wherever only two numbers appear, you should mentally supply the classis recorded above; and where only one is filled in, you should supply at once the classis and the height previously recorded.
With respect to the authors themselves, they are entered under their family names, wherever possible; but occasionally settled usage seems to demand otherwise. After the family names are set down, next usually follow forenames, and then come the titles of every book that the author (unless I mistake him) is responsible for, just as he devised them.
As for the margin to the right, there should be no need to say anything about the place and date of printing, nor of the absence of either of these, immediately signified by a short line drawn in its place.
Titles with stars, or marked with this asterisk [*] represent books that were missing, for which reason neither their place nor date of printing could be assigned.
Since anyone with experience in this line of work is aware how prone to occasional error he is in recording numbers and other things of that sort, there can be no objection if here, trusting to the Candor and Humanity of the Reader, I shall snap my thread.
Since the Catalogue of Books in the Cambridge Library is very long, and when Need arises, not to be perused without great expense of time, comprising Books written in nearly every Language and on all Sciences and Arts, the great majority of them beyond the Reach of Junior sophisters; it was thought right to draw up a shorter Catalogue, to wit of Books that are better suited for their use. Hence the following Catalogue includes, beside the Classics, mostly Books in the Vernacular respecting general intellectual culture; and as far as possible it omits those that are of daily use in the College as well as those that are written in exotic Languages, or that treat of particular Disciplines such as Medicine or Jurisprudence. Yet no one should take this to mean that the Students are forbidden a more liberal use of the Library.
The Numbers placed next to each Book designate its place in the Library.
The Harvard Library takes its origin in part from the remains of the former collection, reduced to ashes in January 1764, but chiefly after that date from the munificence of many generous Mæcenases both in Europe and America. A few years ago a Catalogue of selected holdings was published for the use of College students; the following Catalogue embraces the whole library. To be more serviceable to those who wish to consult it, the books in this Catalogue are arranged in alphabetical order under several headings, according to the subject to which they belong. We hope a second edition can correct whatever faults are to be found in it.