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    The legend of Bowditch
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2016 Apr 2, 09:23 -0700

    Spotted a book listing for an 1876 copy of the New American Practical Navigator, also known as Bowditch. The description reads:
    "It is impossible to understate the importance of this volume, to American seamanship and that of the world at large. Bowditch's ongoing revisions of J.H. Moore's The Practical Navigator (1799) had become so extensive that he renamed the book and assumed authorship himself; by 1867 it had gone into 35 editions. It was, notes the Grolier catalogue, 'the first complete epitome of practical navigation for the common man, and was at once acclaimed by the maritime world. Often termed the greatest book in all the history of navigation, this intellectual achievement of our early culture was indispensable to the maritime and commercial expansion of the nineteenth century.' A highly desirable copy of an epochal work. "

    In fact, it seems that it is quite easy to overstate the importance of this volume! The claim from the Grolier catalogue is the traditional nonsense. There were many similar manuals of navigation in English for the 'common man'.

    By the way, for the potential buyer, editions from 1868 through 1880 are government reprints of the last commercial edition, and they are not considered particularly collectible. If you're thinking about buying an 1876 copy, a fair price might be between $75 and $100. 

    Frank Reed
    Conanicut Island USA

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