1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

    List of finding aids

    R.I.H.S. Library page

    R.I.H.S. home page

 Benjamin West Papers

 Providence, R.I. astronomer.

 Papers, 1758-1800

 Size: .25 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 794

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, May 1995

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Benjamin West (1730-1813), son of John West of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, was Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Rhode Island College (Brown University) from 1788 through 1798, and also taught astronomy privately. In earlier years, he had owned a dry goods store, published almanacs and sold books.

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Scope and content:

            This collection contains three volumes.

            West's account book (1758-1773) was kept in Providence. It appears to contain both personal expenditures and purchases for his dry goods store. It is approximately 120 pages long.

            Another volume, titled "Lunar Observations for the Longitude", is dated 1800, and is 54 pages long. It contains problems and examples apparently used in teaching his astronomy students.

            The final volume is titled "An Account of the Observation of Venus Upon the Sun", dated June 3, 1769. It begins with a letter to Stephen Hopkins, and is almost entirely in prose form (rather than diagrams or formulae).

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            The 1769 volume was donated by George Baker, an early librarian at the Historical Society. A notation in the back indicates that he received in from Caleb Allen in 1844. The provenance of the other volumes is unknown.

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Processing note:

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Booksellers and bookselling - Providence

General stores - Providence - 1758-1773

Hopkins, Stephen

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