Edward Worth

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Edward Worth (1678–1733) was an Irish politician, physician and book collector.

He was born into a prosperous Church of Ireland family, his father being John Worth (1648-1688), Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, who was a younger son of Edward Worth (1620-1669), Bishop of Killaloe and his wife Susannah Pepper. His father's eldest brother William Worth was an eminent judge.

Worth studied medicine in Oxford (martriculated 1693), Leiden and Utrecht (MD 1701) before practising as a doctor in Dublin. A financial windfall from an uncle helped him to establish a large book collection, bought from places such as London, the Netherlands, France and Dublin. On his death the collection consisted of some 4,400 books, many on medicine, dating back in some cases to the fifteenth century. Worth left his library, then valued at £5,000, to Dr Steevens' Hospital in Kilmainham, of which he was a governor. The hospital built a special room to house the books, which remain there today.[1] According to a 2008 Irish Times article, the books have been stored well and are in remarkably good condition.[2]

Edward Worth was an important figure in the Dublin of his day. He was a friend and contemporary of such people as Jonathan Swift, and his library is remarkable, not only for its size and variety, but also for the condition of the books, some of which are hundreds of years old but appear almost new. Between 1715 and 1727, Worth sat in the Irish House of Commons for New Ross.[3]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in January 1699.[4]


  1. ^ "The Edward Worth Library". Edwardworthlibrary.ie. 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2015. ...[T]he website of the Edward Worth Library (1733).
  2. ^ O'Connell, Claire (1 July 2008). "A Library of Worth". The Irish Times. Dublin. Archived from the original on 22 September 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  3. ^ Kirkpatrick, Thomas Percy Claude (2008). The History of Dr Steevens' Hospital, Dublin 1720-1920. Dublin: University College Dublin. ISBN 1-906359-16-4.
  4. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 1 November 2010. [permanent dead link]

External links

  • Edward Worth Library official website
Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by
Edward Jones
Jeffrey Paul
Member of Parliament for New Ross
1715 – 1727
With: Thomas Meredyth
Succeeded by
Charles Tottenham
John Leigh

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