Book Stamp

Project details

  • Object number – 7423-JR
  • Material – Lead
  • Place of Origin – England
  • Date – 17th century
  • Context – Confederate Fort
  • Location – Study Collection

Found in 2004, the purpose of this small lead object recently came to light with the help of Caroline Duroselle-Melish at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Although it was recovered from the fill of the Confederate earthwork, it probably belonged to one of the first English men to arrive at Jamestown in May 1607.

The object is comprised of seven individual pieces of lead printer’s type that were soldered together to form a solid, rectangular-shaped block about an inch long. One end bears the reverse letters, from right to left, “J, a, c, o, b” under a scroll.

As early as the 16th century, stamps comprised of printer’s type were used to mark books with the owner’s name.  Although Jacob’s identity is not known for certain, documentary evidence and its date suggest the stamp belonged to Thomas Jacob, about whom George Percy wrote in 1607: “The fourth day of September died Tomas Jacob Sergeant.”