Earlier this year, a rare 270-year-old book was found in a Charleston, South Carolina, library. Dissertation Upon Parties by Henry St. John Lord Bolingbroke was published in 1743. It was one of 800 books that John Mackenzie, a planter and diplomat, donated to the College of Charleston in the 1700’s.
However, this book, one of 15 known to still exist, never made it to the college. When Mackenzie made the donation, the library at the college wasn’t ready for it. While a new library was being built, the books were stored at the Charleston Library Society. A 1778 fire nearly destroyed the Library Society and only 77 books were thought to have been saved.
Dissertation Upon Parties makes 78 books. It was found after a multi-year search through the Library Society’s collection, which contains thousands of books.
“We have lists but because the library itself has been moved from place to place to place, the collections have been integrated, they have been pulled apart and a lot has gone on during the years,” she said, making it difficult to tell for sure,” Library Archivist Trisha Kometer told the Associated Press.
The search also uncovered some other previously unknown items, such as two letters written by Alexander Hamilton and a letter written by John Marshall, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, to South Carolinian Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, who helped draft the Constitution.