Book lovers love bookends. They also love the quotes of the great writers—past and present. This pair of bookends, made in America in the 1920’s or 1930’s, share the quotes of two great English wordsmiths, Sir Francis Bacon and Samuel Johnson.
Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626) was a philosopher, statesman, jurist, orator, essayist and author—and, some have argued, the writer of some of Shakespeare’s works. He was also a scientist and popularized a disciplined approach to empirical inquiry, which evolved into what is now called “the scientific method.” Bacon was a favorite of King James I and, under him, became solicitor general, attorney general, lord chancellor, and (for one month in 1617) the Regent of England while the king was in Scotland. Bacon died of pneumonia in 1626 after catching a chill while studying the effects of freezing on the preservation of meat. He is buried at Trinity College, Cambridge.
Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784), known as “Doctor Johnson,” was a poet, essayist, biographer, playwright, editor, lexicographer and moralist. Some have called him “the most distinguished man of letters in English history.” One of the highlights of his career was the publication of his Dictionary of the English Language in 1755. It took him nine years to complete the tome and it remained the best English dictionary for 150 years—until the Oxford English Dictionary was published. Johnson died in 1784 and is buried in Westminster Abbey, just in front of the Shakespeare memorial.
More bookends tomorrow.