Rare editions of such writers as Dante, John Locke, Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes and Erasmus have been added to the Houghton Library's collection of valuable books and manuscripts.
The additions include a gift from the Yale University Library, the "Astronomia Instaurata" of Copernicius, once owned by the first president of Harvard, Henry Dunster. This edition, printed in Amsterdam in 1617, presents Copernicus' theory of a sun-centered planetary system.
In one of the most important new volumes are recorded some of John Locke's views on 17th-century science, the "new philosophy." The book is Locke's own copy of Robert Boyle's famous work, "The Skeptical Chymist."
Dante is represented by a copy of the rare 1508 first edition of a discussion of the two elements "water and earth." Another Houghton addition is a copy of the first English translation of Francis Bacon's "Advancement of Learning."
Among other scientific acquisitions are: the first printed work on perfumes; an early study in anthropology, printed in 1642; mathematician John Taylor's "Thesaurarium Mathematicae," written in 1642; and a 20th century edition of the texts of the early French naturalist, Buffon, with drawings by Pablo Picasso.
City Councillor John D. Lynch, hearing of the acquisition yesterday, said, "Im glad Harvard isn't neglecting its library,"