A New System of Modern Geography

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A New System of Modern Geography: or, A Geographical, Historical, and Commercial Grammar, and Present State of the Several Nations of the World

by William Guthrie

William Guthrie (1708?–1770) was a historian and political journalist originally from Forfarshire in Scotland. His formal education occurred at King’s College, Aberdeen.[1] Labeled in the twentieth-century as one of the "bibliographic dinosaurs of Georgian geography”, he wrote for “a general public interested in the new learning and world-wide commerce."[2]

Guthrie published his most successful work, Geographical, Historical, and Commercial Grammar in 1770, the year of his death. In this 700-page tome, Guthrie "developed a fluent simplification of Scottish Enlightenment historical and political analysis."[3] This work saw several later editions (rather than revisions) and was eventually translated into French. The first American edition, A New System of Modern Geography printed for Mathew Carey, owes much of its expansion to the bookseller, John Knox.[4]

Published: Philadelphia: Printed for Mathew Carey, 1794-1795.

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in contemporary American tree sheep with the smooth spines gilt-ruled in six compartments. Red morocco lettering-piece in the second, small green morocco numbering-piece in the fourth.

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

External Links

Google Books


  1. David Allan, [http://www.oxforddnb.com.proxy.wm.edu/view/article/11792 Guthrie, William (1708?–1770)" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004- ), accessed 24 Oct 2013.
  2. Alan Downes, "The Bibliographic Dinosaurs of Georgian Geography (1714-1830)," The Geographical Journal 137, No. 3 (Sep., 1971), 383, accessed October 11, 2013.
  3. Allan, "Guthrie, William."
  4. Robert Watt, Bibliotheca Britannica, or A General Index to British and Foreign Literature (Edinburgh: Printed for Archibald Constable and Company, Edinburgh; and Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, & Green; and Hurst, Robinson & Co., London, 1824), 1:452.