Genethlialogia, or, The Doctrine of Nativities

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Genethlialogia, or, the Doctrine of Nativities: Containing the Whole Art of Directions and Annual Revolutions, Whereby Any Man (Even of an Ordinary Capacity) may be Enabled to Discover the Most Remarkable and Occult Accidents of His Life, as They Shall Occur unto Him in the Whole Course Thereof, Either for Good or Evil: also Tables for Calculating the Planets Places for any Time, Either Past, Present or to Come, Together with the Doctrine of Horarie Questions which (in the Absence of a Nativity) is Sufficient to Inform Any One of All Manner of Contingencies Necessary to be Known

by John Gadbury

Genethlialogia, or, The Doctrine of Nativities

Title page from Genethlialogia, or, The Doctrine of Nativities, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author John Gadbury
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator {{{trans}}}
Published London: Printed by Ja. Cottrel for Giles Calvert, William Larnar, and Daniel White
Date 1658
Edition First
Language English
Volumes {{{set}}} volume set
Pages [18], 276, [2], 294 [i.e. 298], [12]
Desc. Folio (28 cm.)
Location [[Shelf {{{shelf}}}]]
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]
John Gadbury (1627-1704) was, along with William Lilly and John Partridge, one of the three best-known English astrologers of the second half of the seventeenth century.[1] In 1658, he published Genethlialogia, or, The Doctrine of Nativities … Together with the Doctrine of Horarie Questions, "a thoroughly traditional textbook of judicial astrology," "a branch of astrology that professes to foretell the fate and acts of nations and individuals—called also mundane astrology."[2] which built upon Lilly's 1647 publication, Christian Astrology.

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as "Gadbury's doctrine of nativities. p. fol." and kept by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson later sold a copy to the Library of Congress in 1815, but the volume no longer survives to verify the edition or Wythe's previous ownership.[3] Both the Brown Bibliography[4] and George Wythe's Library[5] on LibraryThing list the first edition (1658) of this title based on E. Millicent Sowerby's entry in Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson.[6] The Wolf Law Library purchased a copy of the first edition.

Bookplates, front pastedown.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in eighteenth century calf decorated in blind with cover divided into 9 compartments. Spine features five raised bands, blind stamps in compartments and a red morocco label with gilt lettering; includes the armorial bookplate of Robert Russell Needham Baron with the Latin motto "Fortuna juvat audaces" (Fortune favors the bold.) and the label of Elizabeth H. Frazer. Also features notes and charts created by previous owner, "Jno: Silvester, 1754." The last page of text includes an inscribed note: "Yo.E udall votary John Gadbury." Purchased from Krown & Spellman Booksellers.

View this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

Inscription, last page of text.


  1. Patrick Curry, "Gadbury, John (1627–1704)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2011, accessed 11 June 2013.
  2. Ibid. Merriam-Webster OnLine, s.v. “judicial astrology,” accessed September 17, 2013,
  3. E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 2nd ed. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1983), 4:65 [no.3780].
  4. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at:
  5. LibraryThing, s. v. "Member: George Wythe" accessed on August 9, 2013.
  6. LibraryThing also notes that "a reissue, with cancel title page, was released in 1661."
Manuscript chart.