Henry Power ca.1626-1668

From Book Owners Online

Henry POWER ca.1626-1668

Biographical Note

Born at Annesley, Nottinghamshire, son of John Power of Halifax, cloth merchant. BA Christ's College, Cambridge 1644, MA 1648, MD 1655. He moved to Halifax where he practised as a physician, and continued his interests in scientific experimentation, working with his friend Richard Towneley of Towneley Hall. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1663, and his Experimental philosophy was published shortly afterwards. He moved to Wakefield in 1664 and died in 1668.


Henry Power usually marked his books with signature "Henry Power," sometimes abbreviated as "Hen: Power" or "H. Power," together with the price of the book. He often signed off with his MD title, but he also owned a number of books before getting his MD degree. He noted in his memorandum that as a Cambridge student, he already owned at least 163 books including folio, quarto and octavo in his Halifax home in 1654, but without specifying book titles. He also lent and gave books to his friends and family members frequently. Some of his books were co-owned with his wife Margery Power, with the signatures of both of them.

Henry Power's books were dispersed after his death. Some were acquired by Hans Sloane together with his manuscripts, currently held at British Library, some were sold to North America, while the whereabouts of a large number of his books remain unknown.

There are two remaining catalogues of Henry Power's books.

"A Catalogue of all my Books Taken this 1st of September 1664 just before my removall to Wakefield," containing 508 books including some duplicated entries. They covered a variety of subjects including theology, philosophy, classics, and particularly scientific and medical. Written in 1664 by Henry Power. British Library Sloane ms 1346, fos.1-16.

"A Catalogue of Dr. Powers," containing 491 books, mostly identical with the 1664 catalogue but with some omissions and some additions of books acquired after 1664. Written after 1669 in two eighteenth-century hands, one of them is possibly Henry Power's wife Margery Power. British Library Sloane ms 4019, fos.149-154.