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Experience Mitchell

Male Abt 1609 - Abt 1689  (~ 80 years)

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  • Name Experience Mitchell 
    Born Abt 1609  Leyden, Zuid, Holland Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Died Abt 11 May 1689  Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    • Experience married Jane Cooke, dau. of Pilgrim Francis Cooke and Hester Mahieu. Jane's death has never exactly been determined, and for many years all children were considered to be those by Jane and Experience. Ensuing research has confounded the earlier lineage, and currently only Elizabeth and Thomas and possibly Mary (MF5G, Ralph V. Wood, 1996, Picton Press, 12:29+) are thought to be Jane's. Experience married, possibly about 1640, Mary______,whose surname has never been determined.

      The will of Experience Mitchell was first printed in Mayflower Descendant Volumne 1902, April, and was transcribed from a copy of the original.Bowman in 1934 discovered the original and added to his earlier comments. The date of the will had been recorded as 5, December 1689, which Bowman questioned as being seven months after the recording of his inventory, nor could inventory be taken until the death of the testator, and thus the making of the will as being in December 1689 was likely in error. His comments follow:

      "Judge Nahum Mitchell, in his History of Bridgewater, published in 1840, stated that Experience Mitchell's will was "dated 1684"; it is probable, therefore, that he had seen the original document; but my attempts to locate it met with no success until I was informed by Mr. Merritt G. Perkins, former Treasurer General of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, that the will had been found by Miss Clara W. Crane of Bridgewater, among her father's papers, and had been deposited with the Old Bridgewater Historical Society, at West Bridgewater, Mass.

      Through the courtesy of Miss Crane and of Miss Helen E Bartlett, the secretary of the Historical Society, the will . . .clearly shows that the date was 5 December, "1684", not "1689" as recorded by the clerk of the court at Plymouth.

      Experience Mitchell, therefore, died after 5 December, 1684, the date of his will, and before 14 May, 1689, the date of the inventory of his estate. The will was probated on 4 September, 1689, and the clerk made the usual endorsement to that effect on the original document, and correctly recorded this date.

      The will is about twelve and one-fourth by eight and one-fourth inches. For nearly two hundred and fifty years it has been kept folded to a size three by eight and one-fourth inches, and while so folded a small part of five thicknesses of paper on one corner was gnawed away, apparently by mice.

      The seal, which is in unusually good condition, shows a heart pierced vertical by an arrow, with the letter E at the left and M at the right, and four crosses one each above and below these letters, the whole surrounded by a circle."

      Plymouth County Probate Records, I: 44, 45. Experience Mitchell's Will Dated 1684 99

      Experience Mitchell's Will These are to publish and declare to all whom it may concerne that I Exsperience Mitchell now living in the Towne of Bridgwater in the Collony of new Plimoth being through the Mercy of God of sound Judgment and memory do Ordeine and make my last will and Testament in manner following: viz: into the hands of God I Comend my sperit beleiveingly Resigneing up my soule into the everlasting armes of Gods mercy father Son and holy spirit: my Body to bee decently Interred at the discretion of my executor and other Christian friends: and for my outward estate I do will that after all my Just debts and funerall exspences be paid: m lands and other moveables be disposed of as followeth

      Imprimis I give to my Son Edward michell after my deseace all my lands both upland and medow lying in the Towne of Duxborough at the place where I formerly dwelt as appeareth by deed: and if it shall please God so to order that my wife mary michell shall survive me: I Require my Son Edward to take Care ofher for her Comfortable subsistence during her life: provided that she will livewith him at Bridgwater: but if she rather incline to live at Duxborough: I then Order that halfe the rent of that land at Duxborough shall be to my wifes during her life and after my desease my Son Edward shall have the sole dispose of it as to the letting of it out for the house; I acknowledge it to be his:all so the bed and bolster two pillowes on paire of sheets and two Blankets which are at my so Edwards and we made use of; I give them to him after our desease

      as for my Son John I have formerly given him his proportion of land and mywill is that he rest satissfied therewith, which was foure score acres of upland and foure acres of medow lying at namatakeset within the Towneship of Duxborough: this is the full of what I intend him as to land only there are severall moveables in his hand at present which are mine: of which one Cow a short Gun and a small Iron kettle

      I Give unto my Granson Exsperience: and the remainder I give unto my son John a [for my] land lying in the Towne of Middlebery;

      I give it to my Daughters Mary Shaw Sarah Hayward and Hannah Hayward and to my granson Experience Mitchell the son of my son John, to be equally devided betwene them

      farther I Give to my daughter Mary Shaw twenty shillings to Hannah Hayward [forty shillings in Currant] pay: and if my stocke stand I give to my granson Thomas Mitchell one Cowe and to my grandaughter mary michell one Cow I leave the dispose of my grandaughter mary michell with my Son Edward and Joseph Bartlet:

      as for the rest of my moveables and chattels I Bequeath them to my son Edward michell whom I appoint and Ordaine sole executor of this my last will and Testament revoking all other wills and Testaments Whatsoever Witnes my hand and seale this fift of December 1684 Signed and Sealed Experien michell in the presence of (Seal) Thomas Hayward John Haward

      Leiut Thomas Hayward and Ensigne John Haward the within named witnesses appeare before the magistrates of the County of Plimouth at Plimouth September the 4th 1689 and made Oath that they were present & saw Experience Mitchell deceased above named Signe Seal & Declare this Instrument as his last will and Testament & that to the best of their understandings he was of Disposing mind & memory when he so did. Attest Saml Sprague Clerk [On the back of the will] "The within written will is Entered and [Recorded in the] County Booke of Wills and Inventoryes: page 44 pr Saml Sprague Clerk" "Experience Mitchell his Will: 1684"

      Experience (1) MITCHELL was born about 1602 in England?. Wood MF5G:12, indicates that Experience's ancestry remains unknown,with a possible connection with a Thomas Mitchell of England. He immigrated in Aug 1623 to Plymouth Colony, MA. Experience came on the ship Anne.He died between 1685 and 1689 in Plymouth, MA.

      EXPERIENCE MITCHELL'S inventory was taken 14 May, 1689, and his will was proved 4 September, 1689; therefore the date of the will, 5 December,1689, as recorded by the clerk, Samuel Sprague, is doubtless an error. The will must have been made on 5 December in the year 1688, or possibly even earlier.

      The will and inventory are recorded in the Plymouth County Probate Records, Volume 1, pages 44 and 45. The wife Mary mentioned in the will was a second wife, the first one having been Jane.

      According to MF5G:12: Experience was among several single men in the colony, and he, together with five other unmarried young men, were listed in the Division of Cattle along with Francis Cooke and his family--thus probably living with them at the time.


      Mitchell, Experience

      Experience Mitchell arrived in Plymouth in 1623 on the Anne, and Banks writes that he was from Duke's Place, London. Underhill(SmallDescendants, 1:510), based in part on Dexter (p. 625), thought Experience was the son of Thomas Mitchell of Cambridge, England,who was a member of Francis Johnson's church at Amsterdam, and that Experience was born in Leiden in 1611.

      Experience received a letter dated 24 July 1662 from his nephew Thomas Mitchell in Amsterdam in which Thomas mentions having received Experience's letter dated 23 April 1661, and says, "I do also wish my cousin Elizabeth much joy with her [p.328] daughter that God has given her to her six sons. I do also wish my cousin Sarah much joy in her married estate" (PN&Q 3:102-03).

      Experience was a Purchaser and was on the 1633 freeman list. He later moved to Duxbury, where he became a highway surveyor on 3 March 1639/40 (PCR1:141); he also served on various juries (PCR, passim). On 7June 1659 he was fined ten shillings for refusing to serve on the grandjury (PCR3:168).

      He married, probably not long after the 1627 cattle division, Jane Cooke, daughter of 1620 Mayflower passenger Francis Cooke; though there is no record of their marriage, their son Thomas Mitchell in a deed of 1 August 1672 refers to some land given him by his grandfather Francis Cooke (MD3:104).

      By his first wife Jane, Mitchell had Thomas and Elizabeth, but indirect evidence indicates that the rest of his children, with the exception of Mary, perhaps, were probably by his second wife Mary_____.See John B.Threlfall, "Comments on the Two Wives of Experience Mitchell of Plymouth, Mass.," NEHGR 127:94; Robert S. Wakefield, "Not All the Children of Experience Mitchell Are Mayflower Descendants," TAG 59:28;and Barbara L.Merrick, "Some Descendants of Francis Cooke, Mayflower Passenger," MQ49:130. Also see Merton Taylor Goodrich,"Gaining Experience XA Problem in the Mitchell Family," TAG 12:193.

      In his will, dated 5 December 1684, inventory 14 May 1689, Mitchell named his wife Mary; sons Edward and John; grandsons Experience and Thomas; granddaughter Mary Mitchell; and daughters Mary Shaw, Sarah Hayward, and Hannah Hayward (MD 32:97). His daughter Elizabeth, who married John Washburn, and his son Jacob, who married Susanna Pope, predeceased him.

      In 1631 Experience sells his dwelling house, garden plot andfence, leading to the speculation that this may have been the approximate date of Jane's death, leaving him with small children. He was among the list of Freemen in Plymouth in 1633, and again on 7 March 1636/7; in Duxborrow about 1658 and again in Plymouth on May 1670. He was on various committees and held several offices from the years 1637 to 1662.He, like the other early Colonials, was granted additional lands through the years. In 1675/6 Experience and Edward Mitchell were were appointed by the Court to investigate the estate of Jacob Michell, deceased, for the good of his children. Experience, Edward and Joseph Bartlett were later appointed guardians of the children of Jacob Michell, deceased. Experience's will, dated 5 December 1684 and probated 4 September 1689 names son Edward, wife "mary michell", son John, grandson "Exsperience" [son of John] daughters Mary Shaw, Sarah Hayward and Hannah Hayward, grandson Thomas Mitchell and granddaughter mary michel whom he leaves in the care of his son Edward and Joseph Bartlet. His residence is given as Bridgewater. (See will) Parents:Thomas MITCHELL and Maria TROMDIN.

      He was married to Jane COOKE after 22 May 1627 in Plymouth Colony, MA. Notes:

      Rosser, Mayflower Increasings: "m. aft. 22 May 1627, Plymouth, Experience Mitchell . . ."

      This date reflects that she was still single in the May 22, 1627 Division of Land.

      Rosser: There is much controversy over the children of the two marriages of Experience Mitchell: "MFIP (Mayflower Families In Progress) ,Cook: 3 states Elizabeth Mitchell was b. 1628 and Thomas Mitchell c 1631.These two have been accepted by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants as Jane Cooke's. Since Thomas was the only Mitchell child known to have received land from grandfather Francis Cook, doubt is cast on the remaining Mitchell children who were born later than Thomas."

      Ralph Wood takes exception, however, in his MF5G:12 volume,1996, and includes Mary "presumed, quite safely, as a daughter of Jane, based on Mary's approximate date of birth.". Mary is born about 1632, presuming Jane married about 20. There is then a near 10-year span before the rest of Experience's children are born, presumably, by his second wife, Mary,.

      Another observation is that if Jane died very early in their marriage, Experience was left with near infant children--quite a hardship in any event, and especially so in those days. Many such men would hasten to find a new wife and mother for such small children, and female companionship for themselves, however, Experience doesn't remarry until 1640/1.

      Children were: Elizabeth (3) MITCHELL, Thomas[3] MITCHELL, Mary MITCHELL.

      He was married to Mary before 1641 in Plymouth, MA?. The Cooke volume logs this as the date of his first child by his second wife, Mary.Children were: Sarah MITCHELL, Jacob MITCHELL, Edward MITCHELL,John MITCHELL, Hannah MITCHELL.


      The Great Migration Begins


      ORIGIN: Leiden, Holland

      MIGRATION: 1623 on Anne

      FIRST RESIDENCE: Plymouth

      REMOVES: Duxbury by 1639, Bridgewater between 1684 and 1689

      FREEMAN: In "1633" Plymouth list of freemen in close proximity to those admitted 1 January 1632/3 [PCR 1:4]. In Plymouth Colony list of 7 March 1636/7 [PCR 1:53]. In Duxbury section of lists of freemen dated 1639, 1658, 29 May 1670, and [blank] March 1683/4 [PCR 5:274, 8:174, 198, 203].

      EDUCATION: His inventory included "books" valued at 14s. He signed his will.

      OFFICES: Grand jury, 7 June 1659 (fined for refusing to serve), 5 June 1666, 5 June 1677 [PCR 3:163, 4:123, 5:230]. Petit jury, 1 June 1647, 7 June 1648, 6 June 1649, 5 October 1640, 5 June 1644, 7 June 1649, 4 June 1652 [PCR 2:117, 126, 140, 177, 7:17, 37, 46, 60]. Coroner's jury, 7 May 1662 [PCR 4:12]. Duxbury surveyor of highways, 1 June 1658 [PCR 3:136].

      In Duxbury section of 1643 Plymouth Colony list of men able to bear arms [PCR 8:189].

      ESTATE: In 1623 Plymouth land division, George Morton and Experience Mitchell together received eight acres [PCR 12:6]. In 1627 Plymouth cattle division "Experience Michaell" was the tenth person in the first company with Francis Cooke [PCR 12:9].

      On 9 May 1631 Experience Michell sold to Samuell Eddy his dwelling house and part of his garden plot [PCR 12:18].

      Assessed 18s. in Plymouth tax list of 25 March 1633 and 9s. in list of 27 March 1634 [PCR 1:10, 27]. He was forty-ninth on the list of Purchasers [PCR 2:177].
      In an undated entry, but probably in 1645, Mr. John Holmes of Plymouth, messenger, sold Experience Mitchell of Duxbury two acres of marsh meadow [PCR 12:109]. On 20 March 1647 Samuel Eedy sold Experience Mitchell one acre of marsh meadow [PCR 12:151].

      On 1 July 1650 Experience Mitchell purchased two acres of marsh meadow in Duxbury at Blewfish River from Andrew Ringe of Plymouth [PCR 12:189]. On 20 November 1650 William Paybody of Duxbury, planter, sold to Experience Mitchell of Duxbury, planter, a house and ten acres of land at Blewfish River in Duxbury [PCR 12:198].

      On 3 October 1662 Experience Mitchell was one of a group nominated for consideration for lands on the northerly bounds of Taunton "if any be left over" [PCR 4:27]. On 8 June 1664 he was part of a group permitted to look for land between Bridgewater and the Bay line [PCR 4:67]. On 7 June 1665 Experience Mitchell was fifth on a list of twenty-four shares of land on the westerly side of Namasskett River "for his children," no one to possess above two shares [PCR 4:94]. He again had liberty to look for land 5 June 1666 [PCR 4:132]. On 3 June 1668 he was granted land near Mattapoisett River [PCR 4:185]. On 29 October 1668 and 1 June 1669 the court arranged for Experience Mitchell and others to have land at Namassakett [PCR 5:5, 20].

      In his will, dated 5 December 1689 [sic] and proved 4 September 1689, "Experience Mitchell now living in the town of Bridgwater" bequeathed to "my son Edward Mitchell ... all my lands both upland and meadow lying in the town of Duxbury at the place where I formerly dwelt"; if "my wife Mary Mitchell shall survive me I require my son Edward to take care of her" if she wished to live in Bridgewater, but if "she rather incline to live at Duxbury" then half the rent of the land at Duxbury to be given her during her life; "my son Edward shall have the sole dispose of it as to the letting of it out for the house I acknowledged it to be his," he also to receive household goods; to "my son John I have formerly given him his portion of land and my will is that he rest satisfied ... which was fourscore acres of upland and four acres of meadow lying at Namatakeesit" and the moveables in his hands, "one cow, a short gun, a small iron kettle I give unto my grandson Experience and the remainder I give unto my son John"; "as for my land lying in the town of Middlebury I give it to my daughters Mary Shaw, Sarah Haward and Hannah Haward and to my grandson Experience Mitchell the son of my son John to be equally divided"; to "my daughter Mary Shaw 20s."; to "Hannah Haward 40s."; "and if my stock stand I give to my grandson Thomas Mitchell one cow and to my granddaughter Mary Mitchell one cow"; "I leave the dispose of my granddaughter Mary Mitchel with my son Edward and Joseph Bartlett"; residue of moveables and chattels to "my son Edward Mitchell," executor [MD 4:150-51, citing PPR 1:44-45; Small Gen 518-20].
      The inventory of the estate of Experience Mitchel of Bridgwater was taken 14 May 1689 and totalled 21 17s., including no real estate [MD 4:152, citing PPR 1:45; Small Gen 520-21].

      BIRTH: By about 1603 based on estimated date of marriage.

      DEATH: By 14 May 1689 when his inventory was taken.

      MARRIAGE: (1) By about 1628 Jane Cooke, daughter of FRANCIS COOKE. She died before 1641, and perhaps some years earlier.

      (2) By about 1641 Mary _____. She died after about 1662 (birth of last child).

      With first wife

      i ELIZABETH, b. Plymouth say 1628; m. Plymouth 6 December 1645 John Washburn [PCR 2:94], son of JOHN WASHBURN.

      ii THOMAS, b. Plymouth say 1630. In 1936 Merton Taylor Goodrich argued at length that this Thomas Mitchell was the same as a man of that name who appeared on Block Island by 1678 and had a family there [TAG 12:93-99; see also NEHGR 82:457-58, which does not make this claim]. Others who have agreed with this position are G. Andrews Moriarty [TAG 19:226] and Robert S. Wakefield [MD 38:187-89].

      iii MARY, b. Plymouth say 1632; m. (1) Plymouth 24 December 1652 James Shaw [PCR 8:14], son of JOHN SHAW; m. (2) John Jenny [BrLR 3:61].

      With second wife
      iv SARAH, b. Plymouth about 1641 (aged "about ninety years" December 1731 [Plymouth County Court Records 2:125]); m. by April 1661 John Hayward.

      v JACOB, b. say 1643; m. Plymouth 7 November 1666 Susanna Pope [PCR 8:31], daughter of THOMAS POPE. (On 5 March 1677/8 Experience Mitchell, Edward Mitchell and Joseph Bartlett were appointed guardians of the children of Jacob Mitchell [PCR 5:188, 252].)

      vi EDWARD, b. say 1645; m. (1) about 1668 Mary Hayward ("and lived with her forty years without children" [TAG 59:31]); m. (2) Plymouth 26 August 1708 Alice Bradford [PVR 89].

      vii JOHN, b. say 1650; m. (1) Duxbury 14 December 1675 Mary Bonney; m. (2) Duxbury 14 January 1679[/80] Mary Lathrup; m. (3) Duxbury 24 May 1682 Mary Prior.

      viii HANNAH, b. say 1662; m. by 1682 as his third wife Joseph Hayward (eldest child b. Bridgewater 20 March 1682/3).

      ASSOCIATIONS: Thomas Mitchell, nephew of Experience Mitchell, wrote two letters to his relatives in New England, one dated 23 April 1661 [NS], and the other in 1689 [Pilgrim Notes & Queries 3:101-4]. In the earlier of these two letters he asks his uncle Experience, "to present my respects and my sisters' and their husbands' to my Aunt Jean Gunn and my cousin Joseph." Jean Gunn remains unidentified and no record of her has been found in New England.

      COMMENTS: In 1973 John B. Threlfall pointed out the likelihood that Jane Cooke was not the mother of all the children of Experience Mitchell, with daughter Elizabeth and son Thomas as the only two who could be certainly ascribed to this mother [NEHGR 127:94-95]. Ten years later Robert S. Wakefield emphasized the same points, with the additional point that Jane (Cooke) Mitchell must have died before Bradford prepared his accounting of Mayflower families early in 1651 [TAG 59:28-31].
      Both Threlfall and Wakefield note the possibility that daughter Mary was also a child of Jane (Cooke) Mitchell. The dates assigned above indicate a gap of nearly a decade between Mary and the next child of Experience Mitchell, with all later children following at more or less normal intervals. This chronological analysis places Mary in the same sequence as Elizabeth and Thomas and separates her from the other children. Although the evidence is not as strong as that for Elizabeth and Thomas, we feel more strongly than Threlfall or Wakefield that Mary was a daughter of Jane (Cooke) Mitchell.

      In this connection it should also be noted that the last child, Hannah, seems to be considerably younger than all the others, raising the possibility that Mary was the third wife of Experience rather than the second.

      In 1980 John B. Threlfall presented a document showing that on 3 April 1633 Mary Smedley and Mary Michell of Amsterdam "(where their husbands and children remain)" wished to return from England where they had been visiting friends. Mary Michell was described as the wife of Thomas Michell and Threlfall suggested that Thomas was a brother of Experience [TAG 56:97-98].

      On 20 June 1654, Experience Mitchell, Miles Standish, John Alden and Philip Delanoy were ordered to settle the bounds between Arther Howland and Thomas Doged [PCR 3:62].

      BIBLIOGRAPHIC NOTE: Lora A.W. Underhill prepared a lengthy treatment of Experience Mitchell as part of her examination of the Small and allied families [Small Gen 507-98]. [2]
    Person ID I3622174  7_families
    Last Modified 31 Aug 2006 

    Father Thomas Mitchell,   b. Abt 1566, , Cambridgeshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Mother Margaret Williams,   b. Abt 1568, , , England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married Abt 1590  , , England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F3163150  Group Sheet

    Family 1 Jane Cooke,   b. Bef 1613, Leyden, Zuid, Holland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1650, Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 37 years) 
    Married 22 May 1627  Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    +1. Elizabeth Mitchell,   b. 1628, Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 5 Dec 1684  (Age 56 years)
     2. Thomas Mitchell,   b. 1627-1628, Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     3. Mary Mitchell,   b. Abt 1634, Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1679  (Age ~ 45 years)
    Last Modified 8 Jul 2007 
    Family ID F1199122  Group Sheet

    Family 2 Mrs. Mary Mitchell,   b. 1615, Of, Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married 1639  Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Sarah Mitchell,   b. 1640, Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1731  (Age 91 years)
     2. Jacob Mitchell,   b. Abt 1643, Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1675  (Age ~ 32 years)
     3. Edward Mitchell,   b. Abt 1645, Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     4. John Mitchell,   b. Abt 1650, Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     5. Hannah Mitchell,   b. 1644, Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
    Last Modified 10 Nov 2001 
    Family ID F3163149  Group Sheet

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - Abt 1609 - Leyden, Zuid, Holland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 22 May 1627 - Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 1639 - Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - Abt 11 May 1689 - Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Maps 
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    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Sources 
    1. [S7689] Francis Cooke of the Mayflower and his descendants for four generations, Robert S. Wakefield, (Plymouth, Mass. : General Society of Mayflower Descendants, c1987), 2 (Reliability: 3).

    2. [S7707] Great Migration Begins, Robert Charles Anderson, (Boston : New England Historic Genealogical Society, c1995), CD containing all volumes..