John Smith (ca. 1580-1631). The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles: With the Names of the Adventurers, Planters, and Governours from Their First Beginning, Ano: 1584, to This Present 1624. London: Printed by I. D. and I. H. for Michael Sparkes, 1624.Captain John Smith published the first edition of his famous history of Virginia in 1624. Smith had previously written short accounts of Virginia's settlement, but his Generall Historie provided a lengthy description of the colony's early years, drawing from the recollections of other colonists and including an account of his rescue by Pocahontas.
Since its creation, Smith's sprightly history has been a starting place for writers studying Virginia's earliest days. Robert Beverley, the first native Virginian to write a history of the colony, drew on Smith's Generall Historie for his own History and Present State of Virginia, published in London in 1705. William Stith used it as the basis for his History of the First Discovery and Settlement of Virginia, published in Williamsburg in 1747, the first book-length history printed in Virginia. Doubts about the accuracy of some of Smith's assertions have produced a large scholarly literature. Debate still continues over whether Smith's rescue by Pocahontas actually took place as he described it or whether it was merely a heroic invention.
The Library of Virginia owns many different editions of Smith's Generall Historie, including this first edition of 1624 and two copies of the edition of 1632.