William Salmon 1644-1713

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William SALMON 1644-1713

Biographical Note

Salmon's origins are obscure and there is no record of a formal education; he was reputedly apprenticed to an unlicensed medic with whom he travelled extensively, including to America, learning practical medical techniques. By 1671 he was established in London near St Bartholomew's Hospital as a physician and he practised from various London locations for the rest of his life. He also published extensively and successfully, including popular medical works (e.g. The family dictionary, 1696, Collectanea medica: the country physician, 1703), translations of Latin medical texts, and some theological works (e.g. A discourse against transubstantiation, 1690).


Salmon had an extensive personal library. In his will, he bequeathed "a small library of books for my own private use" together with gold, plate, medals, pictures, furniture and other household goods to Eleanor Gray, daughter of Andrew Gray of Billericay, grocer. The books intended here were presumably physically separate from the bulk of his library, which he directed to be sold "to the best advantage either by auction or otherwise", the proceeds to be used to pay £1000 to his brother, Francis Salmon, physician, of Gosport.

Salmon's books were sold by auction by Thomas Ballard in London, in two sales beginning 16 November 1713, and 10 March 1714. The catalogue for the pars prima lists 3681 lots, divided between Latin (and other languages) theology (380), Latin medicine and surgery (497), Latin mathematics (218), Latin miscellaneous (1007), English theology (428), English medicine and surgery (149), English mathematics (152), English miscellaneous (850). The pars secunda contained 2155 lots, divided into Latin and Greek books (377), English books (1604), Mathematical instruments (33), Books of cuts in folio (46), Prints (19) and Paintings (76). The entire sale therefore included 5836 lots, of which ca.5700 were books.

Characteristic Markings

None of Salmon's books have been identified.