New volume opens the book on Liverpool library

18th December 2020

The Record Society’s latest volume sheds detailed light on the intellectual and commercial concerns that motivated eighteenth-century Britons. The first minute book of the Liverpool Athenaeum reveals the thoughts and motivations of the people who founded a voluntary subscription library, while pointing to the important of books, news, coffee and social space in daily life at the turn of the nineteenth century. From the first meeting on 27 November 1809, with Dr James Currie in the Chair until July 1809, when Thomas Martin chaired the meeting, the records uncover the relationships and concerns of the merchants, doctors, bankers and lawyers of Liverpool. Among the hundreds of books that are detailed in the minutes are “Stewart’s Letters to Mansfield on the Douglas Cause,” which we are told was a “cause celebre” in which the female heir to the title had twins “in dubious circumstances”!. The editors of the volume, David Brazendale and Mark Towsey, introduce the text with a fascinating insight into the founding of an ambitious and long lasting institution.