About History of Ideas

Drawn from the historical study of philosophy, science, political and social thought, language, and history, Cushing Library’s collection of intellectual history includes materials related to Natural History (flora and fauna), Philosophy and Theology (with particular attention to the French Enlightenment), and Linguistics. 

Natural History: Herbals and scientific books, such as Leonhart Fuchs’s 1543 New Kreüterbuch (Basel: Michael Isengrin) and Carl Linnaeus’s instrumental work Hortus Cliffortianus (1737), which helped in the development of the binomial nomenclature used today. There are also ornithologies and entomologies, including those by John James Audubon. 

The Robert L. Dawson French Collection features many works of the French Enlightenment such as Voltaire’s Le Temple de Goût (1737) and Rousseau Emile, ou de L’Éducation (1792) and the challenge to censorship exercised by the Crown. Biting satirical works in the Colonial Mexican Collection denote the rejection of both Joseph Napoleon Bonaparte and Charles IV as holders of the Spanish Crown, facilitating the independence of the Spanish colonies in the Americas. 

The study of language is well represented with dictionaries, grammars, and other printed materials from a multitude of languages. Examples include Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (1799), a 1776 edition of Antonio de Nebrija’s Dictionarium Aelii Antonii Nebrissensis, grammatici, chronographi regii, and Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire universel raisonné (1751). Particular New World examples include a Mohawk version of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer (1787), The Eliot Bible in Wampanoag (1685), Molina’s bilingual Spanish and Aztec Vocabulario (1571), and Febrés’s Arte de la lengua general del reyno de Chile, con un dialogo chileno-hispano muy curioso (1765). 

Curators: Anton duPlessis duplessis@tamu.edu.