John Sharp Collection
John Sharp's collection of theological books has been a part of the Library since its founding in 1754. Consisting of books printed from the 15th through the 17th century, Sharp's library is one of very few local collections to survive the Revolutionary War intact.
The collection today consists of 149 titles, many surviving in original bindings with personal markings by Sharp and other owners, from ownership inscriptions to marginalia. It is an as-yet-untapped resource for the study of colonial book ownership and evangelism, and remains the earliest surviving collection of books intended for public use in New York City. Works in the collection include a copy of the witch-hunting manual, Malleus Maleficiarum (Frankfurt, 1580 ed.), Thomas Edwards' The casting down of the last and strongest hold of Satan (London, 1647), and an incunable edition of the Homiliarus doctorum, printed in Basel in 1498 with Sharp's own annotations. There is more detailed information on John Sharp and the collection in two posts on the Library's blog. The first post is a biographical sketch of Sharp's life, and the second provides information on how Sharp built the collection, both in America and in England, taken from Sharp's own manuscript catalogs of his library and the books themselves.
The Sharp Collection is fully cataloged online. To find these materials, search for Sharp Collection in the author field. Researchers with interest in working with Sharp's books are welcome to contact Special Collections staff for more information.