Bibliography of fishing and angling materials at the Folger

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The Folger holds a number of early texts related to fishing, from early "how-to" manuals or "gentlemen sportsmen's" guides to devotional tracts.

The most famous of these angling books, Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler, is represented in the Folger collection in its fourth edition of 1668. Parts of it are ultimately indebted to a short Treatyse of Fysshynge with an Angle, attributed to Dame Juliana Berners, which was printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1496 and added to the Boke of Saint Albans that had been first printed a decade earlier but likely drew on a much longer tradition. Walton also reused material from the anonymous 1577 tract The Arte of Angling (attributed to William Samuel) and many other predecessors.[1]

Researchers may want to consider approaching these texts from a social history angle (where did fishing "rank" in terms of leisure pursuits and how did this vary by location?), social network analysis (just who was in Izaak Walton's circle of friends?), a political history angle (why were so many seventeenth-century angling writers Royalists and clergy?), or even gender history (Hannah Wolley's Accomplish'd Ladies Delight includes fishing secrets along with recipes). Of course, a number of early sermons expanded on the Biblical "fishers of men" passages, like Dr John Rawlinson's sermon of 1609, William Worship's sermon of 1612, and Jerome Phillip's sermon of 1623.)[2]

Many angling manuals and books that aim for a gentry audience are printed with or semi-separately bound after other texts that concern hunting or agricultural pursuits.[3]


All entries below are listed chronologically within their categories.


Angling manuals

Medici, Sebastiano, d. 1595.
Tractus de venatione, piscatione, et aucupio [Tracts on Hunting, Fishing, and Fowling].
Coloniae Agrippinae [Cologne]: Apud Ioannem Gymnicum, sub Monocerote, anno MDLXXXVIII [1588].
Folger call number: 190- 494q


Mascall, Leonard, d. 1589.
A booke of fishing with hooke & line, and of all other instruments thereunto belonging. Another of sundrie engines and trappes to take polcats, buzards, rattes, mice and all other kindes of vermine & beasts whatsoeuer, most profitable for all warriners, and such as delight in this kinde of sport and pastime. Made by L.M.
London: Printed by Iohn Wolfe, and are to be solde by Edwarde White dwelling at the little North doore of Paules at the signe of the Gunne, [1590].
Folger call number: STC 17572


Gardiner, Samuel, b. 1563 or 4.
A booke of angling, or fishing. Wherein is shewed, by conference with scriptures, the agreement betweene the fishermen, fishes, fishing of both natures temporall, and spirituall.
London: Printed by Thomas Purfoot, 1606.
Folger call number: STC 11572


Dennys, John, d. 1609.
The secrets of angling. Teaching, the choisest tooles baytes and seasons, for the taking of any fish, in pond or riuer: practised and familiarly opened in three bookes.
[London: [T. Snodham] for R. Jackson, 1613].
Folger call number: STC 6611

The Folger also holds the 1635 edition of this title, "Augmented with many approved experiments. By W. Lauson [William Lawson]"


Aldrovandi, Ulisse, 1522-1605?.
Vlyssis Aldrouandi philosophi et medici Bononiensis de piscibus libri V et de cetis lib. vnus / Ioannes Cornelius Vteruerius, in Gymnasio Bononiensi Simplicium medicamentor professor collegit; Hieronymus Tamburinus in lucem edidit, ad illustrissimum et reuerendissimum D.D. Marcum Sitticum ex comitibus in Altaemps archiepiscopum et principem Salisburgensem ; sedis Apostolicae Legatum natum ; cum indice copiosissimo, superiorum permissu.
Bononiae: Apud Bellagambam, MDCXIII [1613]
Folger call number: 168- 636f

Many of the descriptions of fish include notes on techniques for catching them.


T. S. [Thomas Snodham], fl. 1614.
A ievvell for gentrie. Being an exact dictionary, or true method, to make any man vnderstand all the art, secrets, and worthy knowledges belonging to hawking, hunting, fouling and fishing. Together with all the true measures for winding of the horne. Now newly published, and beautified with all the rarest experiments that are knowne or practised at this day.
Printed at London: [By Thomas Snodham] for Iohn Helme, and are to be sold at his shop in St. Dunstanes Church-yard in Fleetstreet, 1614.
Folger call number: STC 21520


Markham, Gervase, 1568?-1637.
The second booke of the English husbandman. Contayning the ordering of the kitchin-garden, and the planting of strange flowers: the breeding of all manner of cattell. Together with the cures, the feeding of cattell, the ordering both of pastures and meddow-ground: with the vse both of high-wood and vnder-wood. Whereunto is added a treatise, called Good mens recreation: contayning a discourse of the generall art of fishing, with the angle, and otherwise; and of all the hidden secrets belonging thereunto. Together vvith the choyce, ordering, breeding, and dyeting of the fighting cocke. A worke neuer written before by any author.
London: Printed by T[homas] S[nodham] for Iohn Browne, and are to be sould at his shop in S. Dunstanes Church-yard in Fleetstreet, 1614.
Folger call number: STC 17356


Hall, Joseph, active 1650.
Miscellany of Joseph Hall [manuscript], ca. 1650.
Folger call number: V.a.339


Barker, Thomas, fl. 1651.
The art of angling. Wherein are discovered many rare secrets, very necessary to be knowne by all that delight in that recreation.
London: [s.n.], printed in the yeare 1653.
Folger call number: B783

Walton editor Jonquil Bevan points out that The Compleat Angler's chapter on trout is paraphrased from Barker.
The Folger also holds an edition of Barker's The country-mans recreation (1654).


Walton, Izaak, 1593-1683.
The compleat angler or the contemplative man's recreation. Being a discourse of rivers, fish-ponds, fish, & fishing. To which is added, the laws of angling: with a new table of the particulars in this book. The fourth edition, much corrected and enlarged.
The fourth edition, much corrected and enlarged.
London: printed for R. Marriot, and are to be sold by Charles Harper at his shop, the next door to the Crown near Sergeants-Inn in Chancery-lane, 1668.
Folger call number: W665

The Folger also holds editions from 1766, Sir John Hawkins' edition of 1808, and 1836, among others.


Boyle, Robert, 1627-1691.
Occasional reflections upon several subjects. : Whereto is premis’d a discourse about such kind of thoughts.
London: Printed for Henry Herringman, and are to be sold at his shop at the Anchor in the lower-walk of the New Exchange, 1669.
Folger call number: B4006

Discourses iv, v, x, and xv concern angling.


Barlow, Francis, 1626?-1702.
Seuerall wayes of hunting, hawking, and fishing, acording to the English manner invented by Francis Barlow. Etched by W: Hollar.
[London]: And are to be sould, by Iohn Overton, at the White Horse, without Newgate, London, A°. 1671.
Folger call number: B821.5


Cox, Nicholas, fl. 1673-1721.
The gentleman's recreation, in four parts; (viz.) hunting, hawking, fowling, fishing. Collected from ancient and modern authors forrein and domestick, and rectified by the experience of the most skilfull artists of these times. Illustrated with sculptures.
London: printed by E. Flesher, for Maurice Atkins at the Half-moon in St. Paul's Church-yard, and Nicolas Cox over against Furnivals-Inn-Gate in Holborne, 1674.
Folger call number: C6702

The Folger also holds an edition from 1686 and an edition from 1697, which the title-page says is "The fourth edition, to which is now added, a perfect abstract of all the forest-laws, and of every particular Act of Parliament since Magna Charta to this time, as do any way relate to the several kinds of game above mention’d."
Westwood & Satchell describe Cox as "of the superstitious, astrological, necromantical order of angling writers."


Cotton, Charles, 1630-1687.
The compleat angler. Being instructions how to angle for a trout or grayling in a clear stream. Part. II.
London: printed for Richard Marriott, and Henry Brome in St. Paul's Church-yard, MDCLXXVI. [1676].
Folger call number: 162- 436q


Gilbert, William, active 17th century.
The anglers delight : containing the whole art of neat and clean angling; wherein is taught the readiest way to take all sorts of fish, from the pike to the minnow, together with their proper baits, haunts, and time of fishing for them, whether in mere, pond, or river. As also, the method of fishing in Hackney River, & the names of all the best stands there; with the manner of making all sorts of good tackle fit for any water whatsoever. The like never before in print. By William Gilbert, gent.
London : Printed [by T.M.] for W. Birch at the Peacock, at the lower end of Cheapside, 1676.
Folger call number: G725

A gift copy from Henry Scott to A. R. Denison, according to the letter tipped to front fly leaf.


Nobbes, Robert, 1652-1706?
The compleat troller, or, The art of trolling. With a description of all the utensils, instruments, tackling, and materials requisite thereto: with rules and directions how to use them. As also a brief account of most of the principal rivers in England. By a lover of the sport.
London: printed by T. James for Tho. Helder at the Angel in Little Britain, 1682.
Folger call number: 158- 144q


Venables, Robert, 1612?-1687.
The experienc'd angler: or, Angling improv'd. Being a general discourse of angling. Imparting the aptest ways and choicest experiments for the taking of most sorts of fish in pond or river.
London: printed by B[enjamin]. W[hite]. for B. Tooke, at the Ship in St. Pauls Church-yard, and Tho. Sawbridge at the three Flower de Luces in little Britain, MDCLXXXIII. [1683].
Folger call number: 142- 212q


Woolley, Hannah, active 1670.
The accomplish’d ladies delight in preserving, physick, beautifying, and cookery. : Containing, I. The art of preserving, and candying fruits and flowers, and the making of all sorts of conserves, syrups, and jellies. II. The physical cabinet, or excellent receipts in physick and chirurgery, together with some rare beautifying waters, to adorn and add loveliness to the face and body: and also some new and excellent secrets and experiments in the art of angling. III. The compleat cooks guide, or, directions for dressing all sorts of flesh, fowl, and fish, both in the English and French mode, with all sauces and sallets; and the making pyes, pasties, tarts, and custards, with the forms and shapes of many of them.
London: Printed for Benjamin Harris, at the Stationers Arms and Anchor, in the Piazza, at the Royal-Exchange in Cornhil, 1684.
Folger call number: W3271


Blagrave, Joseph, 1610-1682.
The epitomie of the art of husbandry. : Comprizing all necessary directions for the improvement of it, viz. plowing, sowing, grafting, gardening, ordering of flowers, herbs; directions for the use of the angle; ordering of bees: together with the gentlemans heroick exercise; discoursing of horses, their nature, and use, with their diseases and remedies: of oxen, cows, calves, sheep, hogs, with the manner of ordering them, their diseases and remedies. Of the nature of marle, the best way of planting clover-grass, hops, saffron, liquorice, hemp, &c. To which is annexed by way of appendix, a new method of planting fruit-trees, and improving of an orchard: with directions for taking, ordering, teaching, and curing of singing birds, and other useful additions. By J.B. Gent.
London: Printed for Benjamin Billingsley, at the sign of the Printing Press, in the piazza of the Royal Exchange, over against Popes-Head-Alley, in Cornhill, 1685.
Folger call number: B3118

This edition of Blagrave contains twelve pages of "Brief experimental directions for the right use of the angle."


Clemente, Africo.
Della agricoltura / di M. Africo Clemente padouano; accommodata all'vso de'nostri tempi, & al seruitio d'ogni paese ; con molte aggiunte di ricordi vtili, & curiosi in quest'vltima impressione ; libri sei ; nelli quali si contiene il vero, & vtilissimo modo di coltiuare le cose di villa ; con l'aggiunta del settimo libro, intorno alle pescaggioni ...
In Treuigi: Per Giouanni Molino, 1692.
Folger call number: 182- 356q

The treatise on fishing consists of nine chapters. -Westwood & Satchell


Franck, Richard, 1624?-1708.
Northern memoirs, calculated for the meridian of Scotland. Wherein most or all of the cities, citadels, seaports, castles, forts, fortresses, rivers and rivulets are compendiously described. Together with choice collections of various discoveries, remarkable observations, theological notions, political axioms, national intrigues, polemick inferences, contemplations, speculations, and several curious and industrious inspections, lineally drawn from antiquaries, and other noted and intelligible persons of Honour and eminency. to which is added, The contemplative [and] practical angler, by way of diversion. With a narrative of that dextrous and mysterious art experimented in England, and perfected in more remote and solitary parts of Scotland. By way of dialogue. Writ in the year 1658, but not till now made publick, by Richard Franck, philanthropus.
London: printed for the author. To be sold by Henry Mortclock [sic] at the Phenix, in St. Paul's Church-yard, 1694.
Folger call number: F2064


Chetham, James, 1640-1692.
The anglers vade mecum: or, a compendious, yet full, discourse of angling: discovering the aptest methods and ways, exactest rules, properest baits, and choicest experiments for the catching all manner of fresh water fish. Together with a brief discourse of fish-ponds, and not only the easiest, but most palatable ways of dressing all sorts of fish, whether belonging to rivers, or ponds; and the laws concerning augling [sic], and the preservation of such fish. The third edition, very much enlarged.
London: printed for William Battersby, and are to be sold at his shop at Thavies Inn Gate, near St. Andrews Church in Holbourn; and William Brown in Black Horse Alley, 1700.
Folger call number: 154- 211q


R. H. (Robert Howlett).
The anglers sure guide: or, angling improved, and methodically digested; ... Adorned with copper cuts. By R. H.
London : Printed by J. H. for G. Conyers, and T. Ballard, 1706.
Folger call number: SH437.H7 Cage


Liger, Louis, 1658-1717.
Le menage des champs, et le jardinier françois accommodez au gout du temps : dans lesquelles on peut apprendre facilement à aprêter tout ce qui est necessaire pour l'usage de la vie à la campagne, & même à la ville, & la maniere de cultiver parfaitement les jardins fruitiers, potagers, & fleuristes : avec un traité de la chasse & de la pêche ...
A Paris au Palais: Chez Damien Beugnié ..., MDCCXI [1711].
Folger call number: 251- 232q


The Whole art of fishing: being a collection and improvement of all that has been written upon this subject: with many new experiments: shewing the different ways of angling, and the best methods of taking fresh-water fish: to which is added, The laws of angling.
London: Printed for E. Curll ..., 1714.
Folger call number: 156- 794q


Saunders, James.
The compleat fisherman. : Being a large and particular account, of all the several ways of fishing now practised in Europe; ... Collected from the best authors, and from the long experience of James Saunders.
London : Printed and sold by W. Brown, 1724.
Folger call number: 158- 320q


J. S., active 1684-1704.
[True art of angling] The compleat fisher, or, The true art of angling : being a clear and speedy way of taking all sorts of fresh-water fish with the worm, fly, paste and other baits in their proper seasons : how to know the haunts of fish and angle for them in all waters and weathers at the top, middle, or bottom : baiting of the ground and night baits, oyls and ointments, baits natural and artificial : the several ways of angling, to make oyl of asper, and many rare secrets never before made publick : containing the whole body of angling, and mystery of a compleat angler : to fish in Hackney River, the best stands, and how to make the best tackling to fish there / by J.S., a brother of the angle.
The fifth edition, enlarged.
London: Printed for G. Conyers ... and J. & B. Sprint ..., 1725.
Folger call number: {http://hamnet.folger.edu/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?BBID=78010 208- 009q]


Smith, George, angler.
The gentleman angler. : Containing short, plain and easy instructions, whereby the most ignorant beginner may, in a little time, become a perfect artist ... By a gentleman, who has made angling his diversion upwards of twenty-eight years.
London : Printed for A. Bettesworth, 1726.
Folger call number: SH 437.G3 Cage


Brookes, R. (Richard), active 1721-1763.
The art of angling : rock and sea-fishing: with the natural history of river, pond, and sea-fish. Illustrated with 133 cutts.
London: Printed by and for John Watts, 1740.
Folger call number: 158- 321q


Williamson, John.
The British angler; or, A pocket-companion for gentlemen-fishers. Being a new and methodical treatise of the art of angling; Comprehending all that is curious and useful in the knowledge of that polite diversion ... Embellished with copper-plates curiously engraved. The whole comp. from approved authors ... by John Williamson.
London, J. Hodges, 1740.
Folger call number: 230170


Classical and late-medieval sources

Oppian, fl. 2nd cent.
Oppiani poetae Alieuticon, sive, De piscibus libri quinq[ue] / è graeco traducti ad Antonium Imperatorem ; post Oppianum sequuntur Disticha ... authore Laurentio Lippio Collensi, interprete librorum quinq[ue] Oppiani ; C. Plinii Secundi Naturalis historiæ libri duo in quorum priori quidem tractat de naturis piscium ... ; Pauli item Iovii De piscibus liber unus qui est uelut commentarius in priorem Plinij librum ...
Argentorati [Strassburg]: Excudebat Iacobus Cammerlander Moguntinus [Jacob Cammerlander], anno M.D.XXXIIII. mense Februario. [February 1534].
Folger call number: 267689

The Folger also holds a Greek version of Halieutica ["Of Fishing"] and a Latin translation of this text, both by Turnèbe in 1555, and parallel Greek and Latin texts from Leiden in 1597.


The dialoges of creatures moralysed. : Applyably and edificatyfly, to euery mery and iocounde mater, of late tra[n]slated out of latyn into our Englysshe tonge right profitable to the gouernaunce of man. And they be to sell, vpo[n] Powlys churche yarde.
[Antwerp] : [printed by Jan van Doesborch? and sold in Paul’s churchyard], [1530?]
Folger call number: STC 6815

Westwood & Satchell indicate that this work contains the earliest known woodcut illustration of an angler using a float.


Aelian, active 3rd century.
[De natura animalium] Klaudiou Ailianou Peri zōōn idiotētos biblia az [i.e. 17] = Claudii Aeliani, De animalium natura libri XVII / Petro Gillio Gallo & Conrado Gesnero Heluetio, interpretibus ; accessit index locupletissimus.
Geneva: Apud Ioann. Tornaesium, MDCXI [1611]
Folger call number: 177- 524q

Contains the famous account of ancient Macedonians fishing with an artificial fly on the river Astraeus.


Aquaculture

Heresbach, Conrad, 1496-1576.
Rei rusticae libri quatuor = [Four Books of Husbandry]. Rei rusticae libri quatuor, vniuersam rusticam disciplinam complectentes : vnâ cum appendice oraculorum rusticorum coronidis vice adiecta ; item, De venatione, aucupio atque piscatione compendium, in vsum heroum patrumq[ue] familiâs ruri agentium concinnatum / auctore DD. Conrado Heresbachio Iurisconsulto ...
Coloniae [Cologne]: Apud Ioannem Birckmannum [Johann Birckmann], 1570.
Folger call number: S515 .H5 1570 Cage


Dubravius, Jan, ca. 1486-1553.
[De piscinis et piscium. English translation.] A nevv booke of good husbandry, very pleasaunt, and of great profite both for gentlemen and yomen: conteining, the order and maner of making of fish-pondes, with the breeding, preseruing, and multiplying of the carpe, tench, pike, and troute, and diuerse kindes of other fresh-fish. Written in Latine by Ianus Dubrauius, and translated into English at the speciall request of George Churchey, fellow of Lions Inne, the. 9. of Februarie. 1599.
Imprinted at London : By William. White, dwelling in Cow-lane, 1599.
Folger call number: STC 7268


Taverner, John.
Certaine experiments concerning fish and fruite: practised by Iohn Tauerner Gentleman, and by him published for the benefit of others.
London : Printed [by Richard Field] for William Ponsonby, 1600.
Folger call number: STC 23708


North, Roger, 1651-1734.
A discourse of fish and fish-ponds : under the following heads, viz. I. Of the situation and disposition of the principal waters. ... Done by a person of honour.
London: Printed for E. Curll, 1713.
Folger call number: 179- 306q


Poetry and piscatory eclogues

Rota, Berardino, 1508-1575.
Sonnetti et canzoni / del sig. Berardino Rota ... ; con l’Egloghe pescatorie ; di nuouo con somma diligentia ristampate ; aggiuntoui molte altre rime del medesimo autore.
In Vinegia: Appresso Gabriel Giolito de’ Ferrari, 1567.
Folger call number: 160- 821q


Capaccio, Giulio Cesare, 1552-1634.
Mergellina: egloghe piscatorie.
In Venetia [Venice]: Appresso gli heredi di Melchior Sessa, MDXCVIII [1598].
Folger call number: 179- 861q


Fletcher, Phineas, 1582-1650.
Sicelides: a piscatory, as it hath beene acted in Kings Colledge, in Cambridge.
London: Printed by I[ohn] N[orton] for VVilliam Sheares, and are to be sold at his shoppe, at the great south doore of St. Pauls Church, 1631.
Folger call number: STC 11083


Fletcher, Phineas, 1582-1650.
The purple island, or The Isle of Man : together with piscatorie eclogs and other poeticall miscellanies. By P.F.
[Cambridge]: Printed by [Thomas Buck and Roger Daniel] the printers to the Universitie of Cambridge, 1633.
Folger call number: STC 11082 copy 1 & copy 2


Heyrick, Thomas, -1694.
Miscellany poems· By Tho. Heyrick, M.A. formerly of Peter-House College in Cambridge.
Cambridge: Printed by John Hayes, for the author, and are to be sold by Francis Hicks bookseller in Cambridge, and by Thomas Basset in Fleetstreet, and Samuel Heyrick at Greys-Inn Gate in Holborn, London, MDCXCI. [1691]
Folger call number: H1753

One of the poems is "A Pindarique ode in praise of angling"


Sannazaro, Jacopo, 1458-1530.
The osiers. : A pastoral translated from the Latin of Sannazarius with some account of Sannazarius, and his piscatory eclogues.
Cambridge: Printed for the author, at the University-Press in the year, 1724.
Folger call number: 184- 962q


Ward, Edward, 1667-1731.
The wars of the elements: or, a description of a sea storm. : To which are added, the contemplative angler, and The republican procession, &c. All originally written, and now reviv’d by Edward Ward.
London: Printed, and are to be sold by the booksellers of London and Westminster, 1730.
Folger call number: PR3757.W8W2 Cage


Whitney, John, fl. 1700.
The genteel recreation, or, The pleasure of angling: a poem; with a dialogue between Piscator and Corydon.
[London], [Reprinted for J.H. Burn], [1820].
Folger call number: PR3765.W52 G3 1820 Cage

  1. See Thomas P. Harrison's "The Author of The Arte of Angling, 1577," Notes and Queries 7 (1960), 373-376.
  2. Matthew 4:19 "And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
  3. See especially Westwood & Satchell's Bibliotheca Piscatoria (1883) for sources not held at the Folger; several of the notes beneath the entries are indebted to it.