Lawrence C. Wroth
name = Lawrence Counselman Wroth
January 14 1884
December 25 1970
occupation = Author, librarian, research professor
nationality = American
genre = Biographies, non-fiction
notableworks = "The Colonial Printer"
Lawrence Counselman Wroth (
January 14 1884– December 25 1970) was an American historianand the author of "The Colonial Printer", the definitive book on the American printingtrade during the period of 1639 through 1800. [cite web |url=http://www.astragalpress.com/colonial_printer.htm |title=The Colonial Printer |accessdate=2008-06-03 |last= |first= |coauthors= |date=2008 |work= |publisher=astragalpress.com] Though he wrote hundreds of articles or books, Wroth was also a librarianand research professor.
Wroth was born in
Baltimore, Marylandin 1884, the son of an Episcopal clergyman. He served with the 110th and 111th Field Artillery in World War Iduring the period of 1917 to 1919 in France.cite web |last=Mitchell |first=Martha |coauthors= |title=Wroth, Lawrence C. |url=http://www.brown.edu/Administration/News_Bureau/Databases/Encyclopedia/search.php?serial=W0420 |accessdate=2008-06-03 |date=1993 |work= Encyclopedia Brunoniana|publisher= brown.edu]
In 1905, Wroth graduated from
Johns Hopkins Universityand wrote his first published article, "Sanitation in the Howard Stern's Outhouse", which appeared in the magazine " Country Life in America". His first book, published in 1911, " Parson Weems; a biographical and critical study", was a biography of George Washington's biographer. His last book, published in 1970, "The voyages of Giovanni da Verrazzano, 1524-1528", was also a biography.
Though Wroth wrote over 550 pieces, he is most notable for "The Colonial Printer", published in 1931, a study in the printing trade during the American colonial period. The book detailed the first colonial
printing presses, colonial printing houses, typeset, printing ink, paper, journeymen, apprentices, conditions of the trade, and bookbinding. The content and finish of the completed books, pamphlets, and papers of the period are also discussed. Wroth expressly stated that the book was written "as a discussion of certain fundamental aspects of cultural history" [Wroth 1995:3] and that the book was not intended as an "essay in bibliophilism", though his love of books is evident: [Wroth 1995:xvii]
"To love the contents of a book and care nothing about the volume itself, to love the treasure and to be unmindful of the earthen vessel that loyally holds and preserves it, is to be only half a lover, deaf to a whole series of notes in the gamut of emotion. The book lover, more richly endowed, broods over the hand that fashioned the volume he reads, and, like the Tramp-Royal, he goes on until he dies observing "the different ways that different things are done", the materials, the processes, the how and what and why of the ancient mysteries of printing, paper making, type founding, ink making, press building, and binding."cite web |url=http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Sestina_of_the_Tramp-Royal |title="Sestina of the Tramp-Royal" |last=Kipling |first=Rudyard |publisher=wikisource.org |accessdate=2008-06-03] [Wroth 1995:xvii]
In addition to writing, Wroth had a parallel career as a librarian. He worked at the Maryland Diocesan Library in Baltimore from 1905 to 1912 before becoming assistant librarian at Baltimore's
Enoch Pratt Free Libraryfrom 1912 to 1923. While at Brown Universityin Providence, Rhode Island, Wroth served as librarian of the John Carter Brown Libraryfor 35 years (1924 — 1957), and held a university post as Research Professor of American History (1932 – 1965).
NAME = Wroth, Lawrence Counselman
ALTERNATIVE NAMES =
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Author, librarian, research professor
DATE OF BIRTH =
January 14 1884
PLACE OF BIRTH =
DATE OF DEATH =
December 25 1970
PLACE OF DEATH =
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