London: Thomas Bertheleti, 1540-1541. Early edition. Two volumes bound in one. 19th century full vellum with gilt and morocco label to spine. All edges stained red. Measuring 130 x 90mm. The slightest bit of bowing to boards, but in all pleasing and tight. Armorial bookplates to front pastedown of the Gaddesden Library and front endpaper of diamond merchant Albert Ehrman whose stamp appears on the rear pastedown as well. Pages fresh, bright, and unmarked. Loss to bottom corner of B4 of Secunda not affecting text. Collating complete with several pages misnumbered in the second volume, and retaining title pages and colophons of both: , 2-148 ; , A2-K4, J5, K6-L4, K5, L6-8. A scarce work that OCLC locates at only 3 institutions in the U.S.
The Great Charter, among one of the most famous and influential documents in the Western world. "The Magna Carta was granted in 1215 and established for the first time that everyone, even the king, had to obey the law. When it was printed for the first time, it became the first law that all English lawyers studied" (BL). By the 17th century, this crucial document was invoked to challenge the Divine Right of Kings and the perceived tyranny of Charles I, who was ultimately tried in court and executed. "Around the same time, the Magna Carta was taken across the Atlantic to America by the first British settlers. Many colonies based their own laws on its principles" (BL). Following the war for independence, it would become a symbol of liberty as the United States cast off British rule and developed its democratic founding documents. Through censorship battles, the fight for women's suffrage, and the international push to end imperialism it has continued to maintain its influence. "Perhaps the most signifiicant influence of the Magna Carta today is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Written after the atrocities of World War II, the Declaration states that people around the world are protected by fundamental human rights, regardless of citizenship, race, gender, or beliefs. Eleanor Roosevelt famously called it 'the international Magna Carta'" (BL). (Item #4120)