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Joseph Ames

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Joseph Ames (January 23, 1680 - October 7, 1759), English author, was born at Yarmouth. He wrote an account of printing in England from 1471 to 1600, entitled Typographical Antiquities (1749).

Ames sent out circular letters with a list of two hundred and fifteen English printers with whose works he intended to deal, asking for any available information. He earned the gratitude of subsequent bibliographers by disregarding printed lists and consulting the title pages of the books themselves. An interleaved copy of the work with many notes in the author's hand is now in the British Museum. Editions of his works were published with added information by William Herbert (3 vols., 1785-1790), and TF Dibdin (4 vols., 1810-1819). Ames's occupation is variously given. It is uncertain whether he was a ship chandler, a patten-maker, a plane iron maker or an ironmonger; but he led a prosperous life at Wapping, and amassed valuable collections of antiquities.

His other works are catalogues of English printers, of the collection of coins which belonged to the earl of Pembroke, of some two thousand English portraits, and Parentalia (1750), a memoir of the Wrens, undertaken in conjunction with Sir Christopher Wren's grandson, Stephen Wren. Part of his correspondence in bibliography is included in Nichols's Literary Anecdotes and Illustrations.

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