What’s the Oldest Book in WYLDCAT?



Scan of the frontispiece and title page, courtesy of Matt Swift, Wyoming State Law Librarian.

Laramie County Library System recently blogged about the oldest book in their collection, an 1838 History of Rochester (Hey, Who You Callin’ an Old Book?!). Here at the Wyoming State Library, we wondered — what’s the oldest book in WYLD? Our Bibliographic Services Librarian, Bobbi Thorpe, went on the hunt.

The winner? The Wyoming State Law Library has a 1639 edition of The elements of the common lavves (laws) of England by Francis Bacon in its collection. According to Lawbook Exchange, “It was the first part of De Regulis Juris, a codification of English law that Bacon never completed.”

This book resides in the State Law Library’s historic collection, but little is known about its history. The earliest library stamp on it was from 1941, but it may have been added before then. At some point, this volume has been rebound. Although at the library you’d have to request this one at the checkout desk, you can see the digitized version any time on Hathi Trust.

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