Life and Adventures of Ambrose Gwinett

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The Life and Adventures of Ambrose Gwinett was published by John Trumbull in 1784. The full title of this edition was The Life and Adventures of Ambrose Gwinett, Apprentice to an Attorney at Law, Who, for a murder which he never committed was tried, condemned, executed, and hung in chains in Old England, yet lived many years afterwards, and in his travels found the man in the West Indies actually alive for the supposed murder of who he had been really executed. While this title gives an apt description of the book’s plot, it is interesting to note how it changed from its original title in 1770 which was The Life and Adventures of Ambrose Gwinett, Well Known to the Public as the lame Beggar Man, who for many years swept the way between the Meuse-Gate and Spring Gardens, Charing Cross, taken almost literally from his own mouth. While the story purported to be a true tale, it is widely acknowledge to have been written by dramatist Isaac Bickerstaff.
The Copp Collection contains about 150 books of early American imprint and shows a wide range of reading matter typical of a New England Puritan family living in a port town. Literacy was expected of many New Englanders, as Puritan doctrine required everyone to read the Bible. The abundance of multiple Bibles, psalms, hymnodies, sermons, and morality tales reflects the Copp’s religious beliefs. Other highlights of the library include the works of Shakespeare, almanacs, historical and political texts, and travel narratives.
The Copp Collection contains a variety of household objects that the Copp family of Connecticut used from around 1700 until the mid-1800s. Part of the Puritan Great Migration from England to Boston, the family eventually made their home in New London County, Connecticut, where their textiles, clothes, utensils, ceramics, books, bibles, and letters provide a vivid picture of daily life. More of the collection from the Division of Home and Community Life can be viewed by searching accession number 28810.
Currently not on view
overall: 3/8 in x 7 3/4 in x 5 3/8 in; .9525 cm x 19.685 cm x 13.6525 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of John Brenton Copp
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Cultures & Communities
Copp Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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