I posted on Monday that I was off to check out some books that had been locked away, unseen, for nearly fifty years. The caretaker in charge was sick on Monday, but I was able to see them yesterday afternoon.
Here's a quick recap of the experience, a chance for you all to walk in my shoes for the day:
The caretaker was nice enough to haul the books out of the dusty and unlit attic down to an upper floor. It was still unheated, however. Good thing I brought my sorting gloves.
Nearly all of the books were from the 1820s to the 1870s. They were part of a private reading library that belonged to a local organization.
About 750 books in all. There were lots of larger sets; Waverly Novels, Dickens' Works, encyclopedias - as well as a good collection of United States history, specifically the western states.
Here are some of the highlights:
Early edition of James Fenimore Cooper's "History of the Navy" from 1847. Published in Cooperstown.
An "Oddfellows" anthology.
There were many different titles on Abraham Lincoln.
A very early printing of Uncle Tom's Cabin from 1852 (25th thousand).
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" in two volumes.
Not particularly valuable, but I liked the cover.
There's nothing like a nice spine lineup.
This is a very early edition, perhaps a first American edition, of "David Copperfield." I was unable to find much information on this particular printing.
An early colorized atlas of the world. I believe there were four volumes originally, I was only able to find two.
There is something about engravings that resonate with me. Here is Grant and Sherman from a Civil War history. Don't stare at Sherman too long... his eyes start looking back at you.
A nice and clean two volume edition of Carlyle's "French Revolution" from 1848.
An early Lincoln biography; this book has "Honest Abe" embossed on the front cover, I believe it was one of the first mainstream uses of that nickname.
An early Elizabeth Barrett Browning edition.
Not a first edition, but a very early printing of Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter."
First edition of Washington Irving's "Astoria."
Another early Browning.
And I even found a forgotten bookmark in this history of Massachusetts:
I will probably end up going over to look at them again, do a little more research, then make an offer. I'll be sure to let you know if I bring them home.
-Click to enlarge photos-