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1888 Engraving ISRAEL THORNDIKE Essex County Beverly Ma. Genealogy History

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Antique 1888 steel engraving bookplate!


Israel Thorndike (1755–1832) was an American merchant, politician, and industrialist. He made a fortune in privateering and the China trade, was active in Federalist party politics during the Thomas Jefferson and James Madison administrations, and later was one of the largest financiers of the early Industrial Revolution in the United States.

Thorndike was born in Beverly, Massachusetts on April 30, 1755. He went to sea at an early age, and in 1772 formed a partnership with Moses Brown that would last over two decades. The partnership, called Brown & Thorndike, concentrated on trade in the Caribbean and in coastal carrying along the North American coast. Upon the outbreak of the American Revolution, he joined the Massachusetts Navy as an officer before turning to privateering. Partnering with a number of fellow merchants in Beverly and Salem, including George Cabot, he invested in numerous privateer ventures that brought him a small fortune by the close of the war.

In the late 1780s, Thorndike began widening his horizons. He invested in the failed Beverly Manufacturing Company, an early attempt to create industrial factories, but withdrew his investment when the venture looked as though it would fail. He also became involved in politics, and in 1788 was a pro-ratification delegate to the Massachusetts Convention on the question of ratifying the newly proposed U.S. Constitution. As a delegate, he was not known as a speaker, but operated as a backroom whip who was "as efficient as any man" at the Convention in securing ratification. Later, in the 1790s, he entered the early China trade, and over the next decade acquired an enormous fortune, estimated in 1803 to be $400,000.


Portrait with signature facsimile.

This is from a collection of bookplates rescued from a badly damaged two volume 1888 first edition set entitled "History Of Essex County Massachusetts, With Biographical Sketches of Many of its Pioneers And Prominent Men." By D. Hamilton Hurd.

For provenance, you will receive a copy of the title page. We also leave the edge untrimmed, which provides origin provenance.

The approximate entire bookplate size is 7.5 x 10.5 inches or 19 x 27 cm. The backside, or verso, is blank.

Very good. See images for condition, some have spots, foxing, tears, etc.


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