Ephraim Chambers

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Ephraim Chambers
Bornc.1680
Kendal, Westmorland, England
DiedMay 15, 1740 (aged 5960)
Islington, England
Occupation Encyclopaedist, publisher
Genre Non-fiction
Title page of Chambers' 1728 Cyclopaedia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences Chambers Cyclopaedia 1728.jpg
Title page of Chambers' 1728 Cyclopaedia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences

Ephraim Chambers (c.1680 – 15 May 1740) was an English writer and encyclopaedist, who is primarily known for producing the Cyclopaedia, or a Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences . [1]

Contents

Biography

Chambers was born in Milton near Kendal, Westmorland, England. Little is known of his early life but he attended Heversham Grammar School, [2] then was apprenticed to a globe maker, John Senex, in London from 1714 to 1721. It was here that he developed the plan of the Cyclopaedia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences . After beginning the Cyclopaedia, he left Senex's service and devoted himself entirely to the encyclopedia project. He also took lodging in Gray's Inn, where he remained for the rest of his life. [3] Chambers died in Islington and was buried in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey. [3]

Westmorland historic county in England

Westmorland is a historic county in north west England. It formed an administrative county between 1889 and 1974, after which the whole county was administered by the new administrative county of Cumbria. In 2013, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, formally recognised and acknowledged the continued existence of England's 39 historic counties, including Westmorland.

Globe A three-dimensional scale model of a spheroidal celestial body


A globe is a spherical model of Earth, of some other celestial body, or of the celestial sphere. Globes serve similar purposes to maps, but unlike maps, do not distort the surface that they portray except to scale it down. A globe of Earth is called a terrestrial globe. A globe of the celestial sphere is called a celestial globe.

John Senex was an English cartographer, engraver and explorer.

Writing

The first edition of the Cyclopaedia appeared by subscription in 1728 and was dedicated to George II, King of Great Britain. When he died in 1740, he left materials for a Supplement; edited by George Lewis Scott, this was published in 1753. [4]

George II of Great Britain British monarch

George II was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover) and a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire from 11 June 1727 (O.S.) until his death in 1760.

George Lewis Scott British encyclopedist

George Lewis Scott (1708–1780) was a mathematician and literary figure who was tutor to the future George III from 1751 to 1755. A friend of the historian Edward Gibbon, the poet James Thomson and other members of the Georgian era literary world, he was described as 'perhaps the most accomplished of all amateur mathematicians who never gave their works to the world'.

He also wrote for, and possibly edited, the Literary Magazine (1735–1736), which mainly published book reviews. Chambers worked on translating other works in French on perspective and chemistry from 1726 to 1727, including the Practice of Perspective from the French of Jean Dubreuil. He also worked with John Martyn to translate the History and Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris (1742). [3] [5]

John Martyn (botanist) British botanist

John Martyn or Joannes Martyn was an English botanist.

Legacy

Chambers' epitaph was published in both the original Latin and in English in the Gentleman's Magazine , volume 10, as follows (translation is the original):

Epitaph Inscription on a tombstone

An epitaph is a short text honoring a deceased person. Strictly speaking, it refers to text that is inscribed on a tombstone or plaque, but it may also be used in a figurative sense. Some epitaphs are specified by the person themselves before their death, while others are chosen by those responsible for the burial. An epitaph may be written in prose or in poem verse; poets have been known to compose their own epitaphs prior to their death, as did William Shakespeare.

Multis pervulgatus
paucis notus
Qui vitam inter lucem et umbram
Nec eruditus nec idiota
Literis deditus transegit, sed ut homo
Qui humani nihil a se alienum putat
Vita simul et laboribus functus
Hic requiescere voluit
EPHRAIM CHAMBERS.

In English thus:

Heard of by many,
Known to few,
Who led a Life between Fame and Obscurity
Neither abounding nor deficient in Learning
Devoted to Study, but as a Man
Who thinks himself bound to all Offices of Humanity,
Having finished his Life and Labours together,
Here desires to rest
EPHRAIM CHAMBERS.

The Encyclopédie of Diderot and d'Alembert owed its inception to a French translation of Chambers's work.

<i>Encyclopédie</i> general encyclopedia published in France between 1751 and 1772

Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, better known as Encyclopédie, was a general encyclopedia published in France between 1751 and 1772, with later supplements, revised editions, and translations. It had many writers, known as the Encyclopédistes. It was edited by Denis Diderot and, until 1759, co-edited by Jean le Rond d'Alembert.

See also

Notes

  1. Robert Lewis Collison reminds us that Chambers attained the distinction of "father of the modern encyclopaedia throughout the world." (Encyclopaedias: Their History Throughout the Ages, 2d ed., p.103, Hafner, New York & London, 1966.) cited in University of Wisconsin
  2. Heversham. The story of a Westmorland School and Village. R D Humber 1968. Published by Titus Wilson, Kendal.
  3. 1 2 3 Espinasse 2004.
  4. Chalmers, Alexander (1812). George Lewis Scott in Chalmer's Biography, Volume 27. Nichols, Son & Bentley. p. 272.
  5. Britannica 1911.

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References

Attribution