Talk:Hezekiah Usher

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Footnotes and "first" claim[edit]

Do we really need sixteen different footnotes to support two closely related statements in the intro? It's a wonderful article to have, but three or four high-quality RS from the 20th and 21st centuries should do the trick. For sure we don't need Britannica. I get a lot of good sources when I search Google Books from 1970 to the present, some of which don't seem to appear here—two at a cursory glance are Bibliography and the Book Trades (U of Pennsylvania Press, 2005) and Perspectives on American Book History (U of Mass Press, 2002). So the reliance on sources from the 1800s seems unnecessary.

Also, I seem to be getting a few sources that connect him to the Salem witch trials as one of those "accused if not officially charged", as here, which would be interesting if true.

More important for the DYK nom, the more recent histories of publishing in America that I'm finding don't seem quite so willing to grant him the title of "first bookseller". It's possible that the earlier sources felt able to state this, but that later scholars have found evidence that others sold books at the same time, and that the chronology can no longer be insisted upon. Just wondering.

Again, it's a very worthwhile article that was a pleasure to come upon. Cynwolfe (talk) 19:38, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Thanks Cynwolfe for the compliment of finding the article a pleasure to come upon. Let me start answering your concerns with the Salem witch trials. I understand they happened in 1692-1693. The subject of the article died in 1667, so likely not him. However, his son (of the same name) was born in 1639 and also a wealthy bookseller. He would have been in his mid 50s when the Witch Trials were happening. Perhaps it is the son you are referring to.
Which recent histories of publishing in America that you are finding that don't seem quite so willing to grant him the title of "first bookseller"? Which later scholars have found evidence that others sold books at the same time are you referring to? According to our article on the Bay Psalm Book, Stephen Day printed the book for sale by the first bookseller in British America, Hezekiah Usher, whose shop at that time was also located in Cambridge. That's what the 16 references seem to show - that Hezehiah was selling this book in 1640 and set up a book selling business in Boston in 1647. Do you have references to show someone was selling books BEFORE this?
I could have the references 'grouped' together to show just one inline reference that refers to these. I'm not technical enough to do this, however someone at the Help Desk could. Perhaps that would improve the looks.--Doug Coldwell (talk) 20:24, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes, you're certainly right about the dates for the trial, of course! I didn't look closely at that, since it took me off the trail of the "first bookseller" point. I'm not saying there aren't sources who name him as "first bookseller"; I'm saying the claim seems to come from older sources, while I had trouble finding the claim in books published from the 1990s onward on the history of book publishing in America, such as the two I linked above. That raised the question for me of whether expanded knowledge of documents of the time had caused scholars to question the claim. At the DYK nom, I link to one of these latter sources who calls him "first known", which could serve as a more cautious way to put it. Cynwolfe (talk) 20:32, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Might make a Good Article candidate[edit]

This is a rather extensively documented article for a relatively unknown person who lived so long ago. It might be a candidate for the Good Article review process ... Djembayz (talk) 23:23, 11 August 2013 (UTC)