Two Hundred Years of USC's Libraries

19th Century: Starting a College Library | Some Antebellum Treasures | Intellectual Ambitions | A Working Library | The Later 19th Century

20th Century: The Earlier 20th Century | The Recognition of Heritage | The Millionth Volume | Rare Books and Special Collections | Some Recent Gifts & Acquisitions

Foreword | 200 Years of Librarians | Selected References

Intellectual Ambitions: Cooper and Lieber

Thomas Cooper and the College Curriculum
Thomas Cooper, 1759-1839,
Lectures on the Elements of Political Economy, by Thomas Cooper, M.D., President of the South Carolina College, and Professor of Chemistry and Political Economy.
2nd edition. Columbia, S.C.: M Morris & Wilson, 1829. Signature on title-page: "Robert N. Gourdon, S-C-C-".
--The second president of South Carolina College, Thomas Cooper, a friend of Joseph Priestley and a political ally of Thomas Jefferson, was especially concerned to modernize the College curriculum, strengthening its scientific component in lectures on chemistry and geology, and then persuading the Trustees to add the new discipline of economics. In addition to separate works by Cooper himself, the library also has a number of his volumes of scientific and political tracts.


Allgemeine deutsche Real-EncyclopadieIntellectual Ambition, I:
Allgemeine deutsche Real-Encyklopädie für die gebildeten Stände: Conversations-Lexikon. 7. Originalaufl. 12 vols. Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus, 1830. Original tree calf.
Encyclopedia AmericanaShown with Lieber, Francis, 1800-1872; Wigglesworth, Edward, 1804-1876, ed.
Encyclopaedia Americana. A popular dictionary of arts, sciences, literature, history, politics and biography, brought down to the present time; including a copious collection of original articles in American biography; on the basis of the 7th ed. of the German Conversations- lexicon.
13 vols. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Carey, 1829-33.
--Soon after he arrived in America from Germany in 1827, Francis Lieber had conceived of this American rival to the great European encyclopaedias. Lieber taught history and political philosophy at at South Carolina from 1835-1857. His reputation rests on his books on ethics, civil liberty and international law, but it is theEncyclopaedia Americana that best represents the intellectual range he brought to the College.


Charles Babbage, The Ningth Bridgwater treatise, a fragmentIntellectual ambition, II:
Charles Babbage, 1792-1871,
"Note B: On the Calculating Engine,"
from his The Ninth Bridgwater Treatise, a fragment
London: John Murray, 1837.
The Cambridge mathematician Charles Babbage is now known chiefly for his invention of the mechanical difference engine,' first announced in 1822, foreshadowing the modern computer. Under an 1829 bequest from the eccentric Rt. Honourable and Revd. the Earl of Bridgwater, the Royal Society had sponsored a series of eight Bridgwater Treatises by eminent scientists designed to demonstrate the "power, wisdom and goodness of God" from the complexity of the natural world. In his fragmentary Ninth Treatise, Babbage, by then Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, used his calculating engine to calculate the probabilities of random creation. This copy of Babbage's treatise is in the distinctive binding of the antebellum College library.


musa galapagoensisIntellectual Ambition, III
"Musa Galapagoensis,"
from Charles Darwin, ed.,
The Zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, under the command of Captain Fitzroy, R.N., during the years 1832 to 1836. Published with the approval of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury. Pt. II. Mammalia, described by George R. Waterhouse, Esq. . . . ; with a notice of their habits and ranges, by Charles Darwin, Esq.
London: Smith, Elder, 1839. Contemporary calf. Stamp of South Carolina College on upper cover.
--Many of the College books that are now rare were first acquired as new publications. Darwin sent or brought back to Britain thousands of new species from the Beagle's voyage, and arranged for the leading naturalists in each field to describe them for this lavishly illustrated official report, published in parts over a four-year period. Waterhouse's report on the new mammal specimens was the first section to appear.

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