The  invention of letters annotated by Charles Pinckney Sumner, ca. 1795-1796
The invention of letters annotated by Charles Pinckney Sumner, ca. 1795-1796
Interleaved second-edition copy of Robert Treat Paine's poem "The Invention of Letters" with handwritten excerpts of 18th century poetry copied by Charles Pinckney Sumner. The excerpts appear to be verses alluded to, or emulated, by Paine in the poem. For example, Paine's verse includes "Beneath the shade, which Freedom's oak displays" and Sumner on the opposite page quoted Alexander Pope's poetry, "Beneath the shade a spreading beech displays." The excerpts include poetry by Alexander Pope, James Thompson, Robert Dodsley, William Falconer, William Hayley, Samuel Rogers, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Thomas Gray, and John Denham.
Title supplied by cataloger. There is a title page inscription: "Presented by the author to Charles P. Sumner No. 1." The volume was donated to Harvard on April 28, 1874 as part of the Sumner bequest.
The item was originally classified as HUC 6795.68.2.
The printed work is dedicated to George Washington. Printed from substantially the same setting of type as the first edition (Evans 29270), with imprint: Boston: Printed for the subscribers. July 27, 1795. Two errors on p. 7 have been corrected, and p. 13-16 have been reimposed.
Signatures: [A]² B² [C]² D² (gathering D has vertical chain lines).
Charles Pinckney Sumner (1776-1839), Sheriff of Suffolk County, received an AB from Harvard in 1796. He worked as a lawyer in Boston, and served as Clerk of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1806 to 1807 and again from 1810 to 1811, before becoming sheriff of Suffolk County in 1825. His son, Charles Sumner (Harvard AB 1830) served as a United States Senator from 1851-1874.
Sumner, Charles Pinckney , 1776-1839
Harvard University Archives
Sumner, Charles Pinckney , 1776-1839 (annotator.)
Washington, George , 1732-1799 (dedicatee.)
Harvard University
Related Resource
Invention of letters: : a poem, written at the request of the president of Harvard University, and delivered, in Cambridge, on the day of annual commencement, July 15, 1795
.03 cubic feet (1 volume)
Harvard students' books.
Sumner, Charles Pinckney , 1776-1839, “The invention of letters annotated by Charles Pinckney Sumner, ca. 1795-1796,” Colonial North American Project at Harvard, accessed September 24, 2017, http://colonialnorthamerican.library.harvard.edu/items/show/12078.