Publications and Podcasts

Publications and Podcasts


This beautifully illustrated book explores sources for botany and gardening in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Ireland. It investigates the contributions of individuals such as Philip O’Sullivan Beare and Thomas Molyneux in the seventeenth century, and, for the eighteenth century, focuses on the Revd Caleb Threlkeld, whose Synopsis stirpium Hibernicarum (Dublin, 1726) was the first botanical book published in Ireland. Chapters shed light on the books in early eighteenth-century libraries, such as that of Dr Edward Worth and of Marsh’s Library in Dublin, and demonstrate the impact of the explorations of the Dutch East India Company on knowledge of the flora of distant lands. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the glorious botanical works in the Fagel Collection, bought by Trinity College Dublin in 1802. The changing nature of eighteenth-century gardens and landscapes and the factors affecting their growth and renown bring the book to a close.

Available in bookshops and from Four Courts Press.



This volume explores the world of book collecting in early modern Ireland and Britain. It investigates the modalities of collecting texts, both manuscript and printed, and draws attention to the wider impact of the European book trade on changing reading habits and availability of books. Early modern book collectors bought books for a variety of reasons. By combining case studies of institutional and private book collectors the essays not only demonstrate how individual collections came into being, but also how both private and public collections interacted with each other. Book collecting, far from being a solitary exercise, was dependent on the expanding Republic of Letters. The essays therefore offer vital insights into the communal world of the early modern book trade.

Available in bookshops and from Four Courts Press.


‘A copy should be in every library with an Aldine section or any interest in the new bibliophily of the early eighteenth century.’

                                                                            The Book Collector Summer 2017


This catalogue of Worth’s extensive Aldine catalogue marks the 500th anniversary of death of the famous Venetian printer, Aldus Manutius. It provides a detailed description of the eighty five Aldines in 89 volumes that the Library has in its custody. The book has an extensive introduction outlining the history of the Library, how and where Edward Worth obtained his books (as far as is known or surmised) and is followed by a detailed description of all the Aldines in the collection. The format of the description follows that of the Ahmanson-Murphy collection of Aldines at the University of California. Worth’s collection includes some of the highlights of the Aldine press as Worth was particularly interested in first editions.


The book is a major contribution to the quincentennial celebrations of Aldus Manutius, his achievements and those of his successors, to the history of libraries, particularly in Ireland, to binding history (a particular feature of the Edward Worth Library collection) and to the history of ideas.

It is available to purchase via ourBookshop webpage.


Reading Newton in Early Modern Europe investigates how Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia was read, interpreted and remodelled for a variety of readerships in eighteenth-century Europe. The editors, Mordechai Feingold and Elizabethanne Boran, have brought together papers which explore how, when, where and why the Principia was appropriated by readers in Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, England and Ireland. Particular focus is laid on the methods of transmission of Newtonian ideas via university textbooks and popular works written for educated laymen and women. At the same time, challenges to the Newtonian consensus are explored by writers such as Marius Stan and Catherine Abou-Nemeh who examine Cartesian and Leibnizian responses to the Principia. Eighteenth-century attempts to remodel Newton as a heretic are explored by Feingold, while William R. Newman draws attention to vital new sources highlighting the importance of alchemy to Newton.

Available from Brill Press.


This volume arises from a conference held in November 2008 at the Royal Society in London to mark the 275th anniversary of the establishment of the Edward Worth Library in Dr Steevens’ Hospital, Dublin. Many contributions reflect on the alchemical interaction of the sciences, in particular natural philosophy and medicine, and the printed book in the 16th and 17th centuries, while other essays elucidate the historical, intellectual and social contexts in which this ‘alchemy’ occurred. All essays take their cue from Edward Worth himself – a well established, if still enigmatic, Dublin physician and fellow of the Royal Society who died in 1733 – or from the collection of books which he brought together and generously donated to a newly established hospital. The resulting volume produces a fascinating insight into the social and intellectual world of Edward Worth.

Contributors: Charles Benson (TCD), Elizabethanne Boran (Edward Worth Library), Howard Caygill (Goldsmith’s College, University of London), Davis Coakley (T CD/St James Hospital), Michael Hunter (Birkbeck College, University of London), Ilham Ibnou-Zahir (Université Hassan II Mohammedia), Magdalena Kozluk (University of Lodz), Sachiko Kusukawa (Trinity College, Cambridge), Lisa Lambert (TCD), Michael Lyons (Edward Worth Library), Bill Mc Cormack (Edward Worth Library), Jean-Paul Pittion (Université de Tours), Danielle Westerhof (University of Leicester).

For further details see: Four Courts Press


Other print publications on the Worth Library are as follows:


Boran, Elizabethanne and Hunter, Michael (eds.) (2015) Special Issue: Robert Boyle of Intellectual History Review volume 25 issue 1.

Boran, Elizabethanne, ‘Buying and Selling Medical Books in early eighteenth-century Dublin’, Eighteenth-Century Ireland, 32 (2017), 105-135.

Boran, Elizabethanne, ‘Collecting medicine in early eighteenth-century Dublin: the library of Edward Worth’, in John Cunningham (ed.), Early Modern Ireland and the world of medicine. Practitioners, collectors and contexts (Manchester, 2019), pp 165-87.

Breugelmans, Ronald (1995), ‘De Worth Library in Dublin’ in Margriet Gosker (ed.) Een Boek Heeft Eeen Rug. (Uitgeverij Boekencentrum B. V. – Zoetermeer), pp. 71-74.

Cruickshank D. W. and Wilson, E. M. (1974), ‘A Calderón Collection in Dr Steevens’ Hospital, Dublin’ in Long Room 9, pp. 17-27.

Kirkpatrick, T. P. C. (1924; reprinted 2008) The History of Doctor Steevens’ Hospital Dublin, 1720-1920 (Dublin: University Press; UCD Press), Chapter 8.

Kinane, Vincent (1997) ‘Some red morocco bindings by Christopher Chapman in the

Worth library, Dublin’ in Long Room no. 42, pp. 19-24.

Kinane, Vincent (1999), ‘The ‘dark and Delicate Style’ of Parliamentary Binder A: A Group of Bindings in the Worth Library, Dublin’, in The Book Collector 48, pp. 372-386.

McCarthy, Muriel (1986), ‘An Eighteenth-Century Dublin Bibliophile’ in Irish Arts Review, vol 3, no 4, pp. 29-35.

Mc Cormack, W. J. (2006), ‘Why did Edward Worth leave his books to Dr Steevens’ Hospital?’ in David Fitzpatrick (ed.) The Feds: an account of the Federated Dublin Voluntary Hospitals, 1961-2005 (Dublin: A. & A. Farmar), pp. 305-12.

McCormack, W. J. (2008), ‘Some commercial and other sources for the Edward Worth Library (1733 in Gillian O’Brien and Finola O’Kane (eds.) Georgian Dublin (Dublin: Four Courts), Chapter 13.

Westerhof, Danielle (ed.) (2010) The Alchemy of Medicine and Print: The Edward Worth Library Dublin (Dublin: Four Courts Press).


Online podcasts

Elizabethanne Boran’s presentation on ‘Factors affecting book collecting in early modern Ireland and Europe’,  delivered at the Royal Irish Academy on 15 May 2024, is now available on the RIA’s Apple and Soundcloud podcasts. This was one of a series of lunctime talks about ‘Early Modern Book Collections: Past, Present and Future’, held at the RIA in April-May 2024.

Elizabethanne Boran’s interview on Newstalk’s ‘Talking History with Patrick Geoghegan‘ explores Botany and gardens in early modern Ireland (Dublin, 2022).

Dr Maurice O’Reilly’s interview on Dublin City University’s ‘Let’s talk research‘ explores his and his students’ creation of ‘Mathematics at the Edward Worth Library‘. A presentation by Dr O’Reilly, given at OsloMet, is available here.

Elizabethanne Boran’s introduction to the Dr Steevens’ Hospital archive in Trinity College Dublin is available on TCD’s Youtube’s channel under ‘Ireland’s experiments and great discoveries, 1‘.

Elizabethanne Boran’s podcast on Dublin Bookbindings at the Worth Library.

Elizabethanne Boran’s podcast on the Scientific Collections at the Worth Library.

Find out more about the Dr Steevens’ Hospital archive in Trinity College Dublin here.


Dr Edward Worth’s M.D. thesis on the Aphorisms of Hippocrates

has been digitized by Dublin City Library and Archives.

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