Paul Leicester Ford

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Island 1

Family history

Owing to a spinal injury suffered in early youth, Ford was never able to attend school. Instead, Rosalie, his sister, tutored him in English, French, Greek, and American History. After three years, this arrangement ended due to Rosalie's marriage, and Ford began educating himself in the world-renowned library belonging to his father, Gordon Lester Ford. Housed within their residence were some 100,000 books and 60,000 manuscripts, dealing mainly with colonial and revolutionary American history. At this time, however, Ford's greatest interest was family history. Shown here is one of his great-grandfather's works: Noah Webster (1758-1843),Dissertations on the English Language, Boston: For the author by Isaiah Thomas, 1789.

Youth and printing

In 1876, at the age of 11, Ford received a small press. This present and the massive resources to which he had access shaped his future interests. Ford immediately set about printing. Initially, the young man edited and reprinted manuscripts found in the library, specifically relating to his family, such as Ford's first reprint entitled The Genealogy, Compiled for Presentation only by Noah Webster, New Haven, 1836, with Notes and Corrections by His Great-Grand-son, Paul Leicester Ford. In a matter of years, however, the young printer also turned his attention to new manuscripts, such as this collection of poems shown here by his mother, Emily E. Ford (1826-93),Poems, Brooklyn, N.Y.: Priv. print., 1879.


Called precocious by all who knew him, Ford demonstrated this quality by quickly gaining the skill of an expert bibliographer. Shown here is one of his earliest and most successful compilations entitledBibliotheca Hamiltoniana: A List of Books Written by, or Relating to, Alexander Hamilton, New York: Knickerbocker, 1886 (#5 of 500). Inscribed by Ford to his sister, Rosalie Barr, Xmas 1886.
This bibliography remains the most extensive treatment of Hamilton to date.


Bibliography and Reference List of the History and Literature relating to the Adoption of the Constitution of the United States, 1787-8.
Brooklyn, N.Y.: n.p. 1888.

List of Some Briefs in Appeal Causes Which Relate to America Tried before the Lords Commissioners of Appeals of Prize Causes of His Majesty's Privy Council, 1736-1758.
Offprint. Brooklyn, N.Y.: n.p., 1889.

Reprinted from The Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society.


Check List of Bibliographies, Catalogues, Reference-lists, and List of Authorities of American Books and Subjects.
Brooklyn, N.Y.: n.p., 1889.


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