The Remnant Trust At Columbia Club

If you missed the collection of historic works on display in 2020, we are excited to share that The Remnant Trust has loaned the Columbia Club additional documents for viewing. Be sure to visit the second floor of the Club. Located in the library, Columbians will find several original collections and historic manuscripts.

Please use the form below to request a date and time to view a selection from the Remnant Trust. Once the request has been made you will receive a email confirmation from the Columbia Club confirming your date and time. 

Remnant Trust at Columbia Club

Explore the Wisdom of the Ages Athenaeum timeline display on the 2nd Floor Library of the Columbia Club to discover the people and ideas that have shaped our Western understanding of human liberty and dignity. To find more authors and works from the collection, visit


Plato, [Two Works in One Volume] a. Platonis Gorgias Incipit b. Ars de Foce gramatici de nomine et verbo. 1475-1480, #0686. Manuscript, Rubricated Manuscript on Paper in Latin. This manuscript contains two works: "Platonis Gorgias Incipit" by philosopher Plato and "Ars de Foce gramatici de nomine et verbo" by Phocas. It was produced in Northern Italy, possibly in Venice between 1475 to 1480. "Gorgias" is a Latin translation by Leonardo Bruni, its scribe is unknown. The work was first written around 380 BCE and is a dialogue consisting of conversations between Socrates and three guests: Gorgias, Polus, and Callicles at a dinner. They debate about the definition of rhetoric, examine the essences of rhetoric, and look at the flaws of popular oratory in Athens at the time. Rhetoricians used the art of persuasion and considered it necessary for political and legal advantages in classical Athens. "Ars de Foce gramatici de nomine et verbo," also included in this volume, was written by grammarian Phocas, who lived in Rome from the end of the fourth century to the early fifth. It is a manual that gives declensions of nouns, conjugation groups of verbs, and the formation of the perfect. It was extremely popular in schools in the Middle Ages.

Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics. 1488, #0672. Illuminated and Rubricated Manuscript on Paper in Latin. This volume is a translation of Leonardo Bruni transcribed by an unrecorded scribe, Guillaume-Henri, citizen of Embrun at Carpentras in France. The work is presumed to be dedicated to Aristotle's father or illegitimate son, both called Nichomachus. Originally written in Greek and based on lectures Aristotle gave in Athens in the fourth century B.C., "Nichomachean Ethics" is Aristotle's best-known work and helped lay the foundation for Aristotelian Ethics. Aristotle asserts that ultimate good for humans is eudiamonia, or happiness, which can be achieved through having a virtuous character, or ethos. There are four virtues that comprise a virtuous character: being of "great soul," being just and fair, having practical wisdom, and being a truly good friend. "Ethics" was critical to the development of medieval and modern philosophy and was especially influential to Thomas Hobbes and Francis Bacon at the end of the Middle Ages.

Augustus, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus The Roman Emperor, his Meditations Concerning Himself: Treating of a Naturall Mans Happinesse; wherein it Consistesth, and of the Meanes to Attaine unto it. 1635, #0531. Second Edition. "Marcus Aurelius Antoninus the Roman Emperor, his Meditations Concerning Himself: Treating of a Naturall Mans Happinesse; wherein it Consistesth, and of the Meanes to Attaine unto it" was translated out of Greek, with notes by Meric Casaubon, published in London in 1635, and printed by M. Flesher. It was first published in 1634. "Meditations" is a series of personal writings by Stoic philosopher and Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus. Originally written in Koine Greek in twelve books, Marcus Aurelius used the writings for his own guidance and self-improvement. A key theme throughout the work is the importance of examining one's judgement of self and others as well development of a cosmic outlook. Marcus Aurelius had been praised for "Meditations" and it has been compared to Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "Confessions" and Augustine of Hippo's "Confessions."

Augustine of Hippo, St. Augustine, Of the Citie of God: With the Learned Comments of Io. Lod. Viues. 1610, #0029. First Edition in English. This work is Augustine of Hippo's classic book of Christian philosophy entitled "St. Augustine, Of the Citie of God: With the Learned Comments of Io. Lod. Viues" ("Citie of God"), translated by John Healey from the Latin version and edited by Ioannes Lodovicus Vives (Juan Luis Vives) with Vives learned comments. Healey's translation remained the only English version until Marcus Dods' translation in 1871. Written in Latin in early fifth century A.D., "Citie of God" lays out the four key elements of Augustine's philosophy: the church, the state, the City of God, and the City of Man. The church is divinely established and leads humankind to eternal goodness, which is God. The state adheres to the virtues of politics and of the mind, forming a political community. Both of these societies are visible and seek to do good. Mirroring these are two invisible societies: the City of God, for those predestined for salvation, and the City of the Man, for those given eternal damnation. Augustine's famous theory that people need government because they are sinful served as a model for church-state relations in medieval times. "Citie of God" is considered to be one of Augustine of Hippo's most important works, along with "The Confessions," and was one of the most influential works of the Middle Ages.

Magna Carta, The Excellent Priviledge of Liberty and Property Being a Reprint and Fac-simile of the First American Edition of Magna Carta, Printed in 1687 Under the Direction of William Penn by William Bradford. 1542, #0221. Rare, early 16th century printing of the Magna Carta in English with decorative woodcut initials throughout. Entitled, "The Great Charter Called in Latyn Magna Carta with Diuers olde Statues Whole Titles Appere in the Next Leafe," this is a 1542 edition of Ferrers' translation of the Magna Carta with Ferrers' final corrected text. Ferrers' translation was the first English translation of the Magna Carta and was initially published in 1534. It was reprinted in an undated edition (approximately 1541) before the edition presented here. The Manga Carta is a charter that was first drafted by Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as an attempt to make peace between a group of barons and King John; King John of England subsequently agreed to the charter on June 15, 1215. Initially, the Magna Carta promised protection of church rights and from illegal imprisonment, access to timely justice, and restrictions on payments to the Crown, and was to be fulfilled through a council of twenty-five barons. Though the interpretation of the Magna Carta changed throughout the centuries, it nevertheless became an iconic and influential document, especially in Revolutionary America, concerned with the rights of ordinary citizens.


Aquinas, Thomas, Summa Theologiae Pars Secunda. 1475, #0425. The work is divided into three parts, which can be said to deal with God, Man and the God-Man. The first two of these sections is wholly Aquinas’ work but only the first 90 questions of the third, the remainder of which was finished in his fashion after his death. Aquinas intended Summa Theologica to be the sum of all known learning, arranged according to the best method, and subordinate to the dictates of the church, explained according to the philosophy of Aristotle and his Arabian commentators. First Edition done in Italy."

Hobbes, Thomas, Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme, & Power of a Common-Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill. 1651, #0163. First Edition, with additional engraved title page and folding table. "Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme, & Power of a Common-Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill" was written during the English Civil War (1642-1651) by Thomas Hobbes, where he asserts that civil war and anarchy can only be avoided by having a strong, undivided government. In "Leviathan," Hobbes argues for a social contract between society and a legitimate government ruled by an absolute sovereign. The social contract asserts that society has consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of a ruler or magistrate, in exchange for protection of their remaining rights. Hobbes' influence would later decline as philosophical emphasis turned toward individual rights. However, the growth of utilitarianism led to a reassessment of Hobbes and his political philosophy and he is now viewed as the greatest original political philosopher of his time.

Erasmus, Desiderius, The Praise of Folie. Moriae encomium a Booke Made in Latyne by that Great Clerke Erasmus Roterodame. (The Praise of Folly). 1549, #0120. Second English Edition. This hugely popular Renaissance text "The Praise of Folie," also known as "Praise of Folly," by Desiderius Erasmus and was published in 1549. It was translated by Sir Thomas Chaloner and contains a woodcut title page border and illustrations throughout the volume. "Praise of Folly" was written as an essay in 1509 in Latin while staying at the home of Sir Thomas More and was first published in 1511. The work is a satire of superstitions, traditions of European society, and the Roman Catholic Church. Erasmus' "Praise of Folly" played a significant role in the early stages of the Protestant Reformation and was one of the most renowned works of the Renaissance.

Locke, John, An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding. In Four Books. 1690, #0199. First Edition, First Issue, with the cancelled title and the dedication undated. Inlaid at the front of the book is an endpaper leaf bearing Locke's full signature above the bookplate of Richard Palmer. The work first appeared in 1689, however, it is dated 1690. "An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding," is a work about the foundation of human knowledge and understanding. Locke states that the mind is a blank slate at birth, only to be filled with knowledge by sensory experiences throughout life, a theory known as empiricism. "Essay" consists of four books: Book I - the refutation that the mind is born with knowledge; Book II - Locke's theory of ideas including the distinction between simple and complex ideas, primary and secondary qualities, and personal identity; Book III - language; and Book IV - knowledge. This essay influenced many Enlightenment thinkers, including David Hume.

Smith, Adam, The Theory of Moral Sentiments. 1759, #0318. First Edition. "The Theory of Moral Sentiments" was published in 1759 and laid the foundations for Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith's later works, including "The Wealth of Nations." In his "Moral Sentiments," Smith proposes and puts forth his theory that humans are unknowingly led to improve society through their moral choices, which is often referred to as the "invisible hand". Furthermore, he develops a code of ethics based on the case of a unifying principle of sympathy which Smith believed could delineate the harmonious and beneficial order of the moral world. In this volume, Smith created not only a moral philosophy, but also a political one as he tries to anchor political economy into society by unintended consequences in pursuit of self-interest, while showing it is mechanical as well as both harmonious and beneficial.


Wollstonecraft, Mary, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Structures on Political and Moral Subjects. 1792, #0368. First Edition. "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Structures on Political and Moral Subjects" is one of the earliest and most famous works on feminism. Written in approximately six weeks by Mary Wollstonecraft after she read Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord's 1791 report to the French National Assembly, "Rapport sur l'instruction publique," that declared women should only receive domestic education. The report prompted Wollstonecraft to launch an attack against the double standard between men and women and call for equality between the sexes in certain areas of life, such as education. Upon its publication, "Rights of Woman" was immediately released in a second edition in London, and was followed by several American editions and was translated into French. While it was favorably reviewed by several magazines including "Analytical Review" and "New York Magazine," it did receive ill-favored reviews. "Rights of Woman" heralded in ideas of women's suffrage that have longed influenced feminist philosophy and, along with Wollstonecraft's own unconventional life, has made her a revered figure in feminism.

Paine, Thomas, The American Crisis. 1819, #1007. The American Crisis was a series of pamphlets published from 1776 to 1783 during the American Revolution by Thomas Paine. The first volume begins with the famous words "These are the times that try men's souls". There were sixteen pamphlets in total together often known as "The American Crisis" or simply "The Crisis". Thirteen numbered pamphlets were published between 1776-1777 with three additional pamphlets released between 1777-1783. The writings were contemporaneous with the early parts of the American Revolution, during the times that colonists needed inspiring. The first of the pamphlets were published when the Revolution was viewed as an unstable prospect. The pamphlet was read out loud to the Continental army three days before the Battle of Trenton took place on December 26, 1776, in an attempted to bolster morale and resistance among patriots.

Douglass, Frederick, My Bondage and My Freedom. Part I. - Life as a Slave. Part II. - Life as a Freeman. 1855, #0108. First Edition, with frontispiece. Frederick Douglass' "My Bondage and My Freedom" was published in 1855 and is the second of three autobiographies. "My Bondage" is an expansion of Douglass' first autobiography "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass," published in 1845, where he describes in greater detail his transition from slavery to liberty. The third autobiography, "Life and Times of Frederick Douglass," was published in 1881 and expands upon his life as a slave and his escape from slavery as well as contains experiences during and after the Civil War. While "My Bondage" gave further insight into Douglass' transition from slavery to liberty, it also expressed his views about racism and civil rights both in the South and the North as well as his early involvement in abolition movements. In addition, Douglass refused to reveal any information about his resources in escaping from Baltimore to New York because slavery was still ongoing when Douglass wrote and published the work, and he did not want to endanger those who helped him escape. Douglass used his words, oratory, and pen to fight for liberty and equal rights of African Americans, leaving a lasting legacy and influence.

Shelley, Mary, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. 1869, #0313. Third American Edition. "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus" was a novel written by Mary Shelley between 1816 and 1817; and first published anonymously in 1818. The work was created out of a competition proposed by Lord Byron to see who could write the best horror story. The idea for the story came to Shelley in a dream and she later evolved the plot. "Frankenstein" is the story of Victor Frankenstein, a science student, who creates a grotesque and sentient creature in an unorthodox experiment. The novel has been seen by many as a warning to modern man against overreaching and the Industrial Revolution. In addition, "Frankenstein" has had a significant influence across literature and popular culture and helped lay the foundation to a complete genre of horror stories and films.Lincoln, Abraham and Stephen A. Douglas, Political Debates between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, in the Celebrate Campaign of 1858, in Illinois; including the Preceding Speeches of Each, at Chicago, Springfield, etc.: Also, the Two Great Speeches of Mr. Lincoln in Ohio, in 1859, as Carefully Prepared by the Reporters of Each Party, and Published at the Times of their Delivery. 1860, #0375. First Edition, Early Issue. Entitled, "Political Debates between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, in the Celebrate Campaign of 1858, in Illinois; including the Preceding Speeches of Each, at Chicago, Springfield, etc.: Also, the Two Great Speeches of Mr. Lincoln in Ohio, in 1859, as Carefully Prepared by the Reporters of Each Party, and Published at the Times of their Delivery," this work was published in 1860 in Columbus and went through several issues in its first year. The volume documents the rivalry between Abraham Lincoln and incumbent Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas for the 1858 U.S. Senate race. Lincoln lost the race to Douglas; however, it played a critical role in him winning the 1860 Republican presidential nomination. The debates covered many issues including slavery, abolition, the Dred Scott decision, US Territories, and the future of the nation. Also included in the volume is Lincoln's House Divided speech, delivered at Springfield, Illinois, on June 17, 1858, where he famously declared that "a house divided against itself cannot stand."