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AGRICULTURE AND FARMING, 1610-1900

Part 2: Manuals and Text Books, F-Y

Publisher's Note

This two part project offers a wide range of rare printed sources from the Perkins Agricultural Library at the University of Southampton. Walter Frank Perkins, MP (1865-1946) was a keen collector of agricultural books and was the author of the bibliographical work entitled British and Irish Writers on Agriculture (1929). His Library rivals in scope that of the Royal Agricultural Society and contains many extremely scare items, many not even held by the British Library. Additional sources have been provided by the Rural History Centre, University of Reading, and from the Library of the University of Reading.

51 volumes feature these first two parts, which shed light on:

- The agricultural and social implications of the enclosure movement and new farming methods
- The impact of technological advances such as Jethro Tull’s wheeled seed-bill and horse-drawn hoe
- Rural recreations and customs including hunting, hawking, angling, bell-ringing and the manufacture of fireworks

The first volume included is The Surveiors Dialogue of 1610, written by John Norden. This deals with land surveying, land law, and the improvement of land by clearing, marling and manuring. Another early volume is of 1684, attributed to J Smith, which deals with the care of cows, calves, sheep, swine, goats and all other domestic cattle, as well as with the improvement of arable land. Many volumes, provide significant evidence concerning rural life.

In the eighteenth century there was a flood of practical handbooks and manuals, describing new crops, new machinery, new breeds and hints on enclosing commons and open field such as The Modern Farmers Guide of 1768.

From the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, the volumes tend to be bigger and are often illustrated with large plates and diagrams and in the high farming period of the Nineteenth Century, the manuals combine practice and theory and are often written by teachers of agriculture rather than by practising farmers. The latest volume included is Farm Management: a handbook for farm pupil, published by A E B Fielding in c1914.

These sources will be of interest to all those studying agricultural history, historical geography, the industrial revolution and the history of science and technology. The project is arranged alphabetically by title.

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