Triumphs of the Reformed Religion, in America. The Life of the Renowned John Eliot ... a Memorable Evangelist among the Indians, of New England.
Boston: Printed by Benjamin Harris, and John Allen, for Joseph Brunning, 1691.
Boston: Printed by Benjamin Harris, and John Allen, for Joseph Brunning, 1691. First edition. A rare family presentation copy of Mather’s 1691 biography of John Eliot, in which he describes Eliot's translation of the bible into the Massachusett language. Eliot's Indian Bible, printed between 1660 and 1663, was the first complete bible printed in the Americas.
This book was given by the author to his brother-in-law, Nehemiah Walter, with Walter's signature on the title page and: “"Ex dono reverendi [Au]-thoris” (slightly obscured by worming) in the same hand (which translates roughly to: "revered gift from the author"). Nehemiah Walter married Cotton Mather's sister, Sarah Mather in 1691. In addition, Nehemiah “spent some time ... as John Eliot’s colleague in missions to the Indians,” between graduating from Harvard in 1684 and assuming ministerial duties at Roxbury in 1688. Nehemiah's son, Thomas Walter, was close with his uncle, and Cotton Mather delivering a moving commemoration of him after his passing in a work titled: "Christodulus..." published in Boston in 1725.
A rare, complete copy of this early American imprint in an unrestored contemporary binding. Some marginal worming and toning, as expected, but otherwise in exceptional condition. Several other ownership signatures to the front end-paper from the 18th and 19th centuries complete the chain of provenance.
The last complete copy at auction brought $15,000 in 1999 (Sotheby’s), and that was washed and in a modern binding. A copy lacking the title page sold at Heritage in 2014 for over $10,000. Neither of those copies with the outstanding connection both to the author and to someone personally connected to John Eliot and his missionary work with the Indians. Safe to say, this is the most desirable copy of this work to surface in quite some time. Evans 568; Wing M1163; Sabin 46561 (Item #1414)