A New and Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences: Comprehending All the Branches of Useful Knowledge

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By a Society of Gentlemen

A New and Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences

Title page from A New and Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, volume two, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

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Published London: Printed for W. Owen
Date 1754-1755
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Language English
Volumes 4 volume set
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Desc. 8vo (21 cm.)
Location Shelf A-1
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Compiled by a group known as the Society of Gentlemen and published in the eighteenth century, the dictionary covers a large range of topics. The editors utilized a variety of sources, including memoirs, essays, transactions, and other dictionaries, to compose the entries. Some of the passages refer to other books and sources of information to provide the reader with greater depth on a topic.[1]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as "Dictionary of Arts & sciences. 4.v. 8vo." and given by Thomas Jefferson to his son-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolph. We do not have enough information to conclusively identify which edition Wythe owned. George Wythe's Library[2] on LibraryThing indicates this, adding "Better known as the Encyclopedia Britannica ... Possible editions were published at London in 1754-55 and 1763-64." The Brown Bibliography[3] lists the 1763-64 edition based on the copy Jefferson sold to the Library of Congress.[4] Preferring the first edition when the precise edition of Wythe's copy is unknown, the Wolf Law Library purchased the 1754-1755 edition.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in green half leather with green buckram and spines with title labels, raised bands and gilt decoration. Purchased from ecbooks.

Images of the library's copy of this book are available on Flickr. View the record for this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

Full text

See also


  1. A New and Complete Dictionary of Arts and Sciences: Comprehending All the Branches of Useful Knowledge, with Accurate Descriptions as well of the Various Machines, Instruments, Tools, Figures, and Schemes Necessary for Illustrating Them, as of the classes, kinds, Preparations, and Uses of Natural Productions, Whether Animals, Vegetables, Minerals, Fossils, or Fluids: Together with the Kingdoms, Provinces, Cities, Towns, and Other Remarkable Places Throughout the World: Illustrated with Above Three Hundred Copper-Plates, Engraved by Mr. Jefferys, Geographer to His Majesty: the Whole Extracted from the Best Authors in All Languages (London: Society of Gentlemen, 1763), iii-xvi.
  2. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on November 13, 2013,
  3. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433.
  4. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, (Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress, 1952-1959), 5:152-153 [no.4893].