1747.008: History of the First Discovery and Settlement of Virginia.

Published: 1747

Full Title: The history of the first discovery and settlement of Virginia: being an essay towards a general history of this colony. By William Stith, A.M. Rector of Henrico Parish, and one of the governors of William and Mary College.

Author: Stith, William (1707-55).

Place Issued: Williamsburg

Issuing Press: William Parks

Description: pt. 1: 350 pgs.; pt. 2: 42 pgs.; both 19.5 cm. x I2.5 cm. (8vo)


A two-part imprint, with separate title pages, but bound as one volume. Part 2 title page reads: "An appendix to the first part of The history of Virginia: containing a collection of such ancient charters or letters patent, as relate to that period of time, and are still extant in our publick offices in the capital, or in other authentic papers and records." Variations in surviving copies indicate that two printings were completed by Parks in 1747; the physical differences in the two issues and their pagination have led many bibliographers to define each as a distinct edition (A & B); however, the two variants were printed on paper of varying quality – apparently produced at Parks' Williamsburg paper-mill – with that in the B edition being of inferior quality to that in A, suggesting that Parks modified the production process as his paper supplies declined. Given that circumstance, it appears that the Appendix was not in the original printing plan, and that its inclusion depleted Parks' limited supplies; so edition B was printed on lesser quality paper in response to the demand for Stith's history. Evans and Sabin report that both printings were reissued in London in 1753 under a new title page; that issuance indicates that unsold sheets of this imprint were sent to England after Parks died in 1750, likely as a way for his executors to settle his outstanding accounts there. The Library of the Virginia Historical Society and the Library of Virginia in Richmond both hold multiple copies of each variant; the Early American Imprints series filmed edition A.

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