New York: Paul R. Johnson, 1808. Full leather. Volume four only [of a four-volume set], octavo size, 498 pp. Good +. Item #13092405
What we would today likely have called a "biographical encyclopedia", this set presented short biographies of the "most eminent persons in every nation, but more particularly of Those who have signalized themselves in America" (title page).
We have only volume four (alas), with entries beginning with Sir Joshua Reynolds and ending with Zoroaster, followed by a 45-page appendix. As of this writing, there are only two complete sets offered online; we offer this single volume due partly to scarcity and partly due to the interest we find in extensive prior owner annotations throughout.
This volume opens on the front free endpaper with the following, all written in an old, flowing script: "Daniel Robinson, OWNER, Price $1.50, No. 114 (which is crossed through), Of my Bound Books, No. 89. This is but the fourth volume of the original work, it being comprised in four volumes. It happened, by some means, that a considerable number of odd fourth volumes was printed. These being bound without numbering, were sold singly, as if the whole work had consisted of only one voume. D.R."
Annotations in the same hand can be found throughout; some give more detail on a particular circumstance, others correct spelling or grammatical errors. Many entries consist of vertical lines drawn in the margins; here and there can be found the occasional mathematical calculation. Most annotations are in ink, some in pencil. The recto of the rear free endpaper, and the top portion of the rear pastedown, contain a lengthy inscription; however, the ink has faded to the degree where it is difficult to read. We tried to track down "Daniel Robinson", however, the name is common enough that our search went unrewarded. However, the annotations provide a fascinating glimpse into the mind of this owner, who may have been the original purchaser of this volume.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full leather, red leather spine label with gilt lettering and ruled border, this volume without a frontis (no evidence of removal, it may never have been bound in); octavo size (8" by 5"), pagination: [1-3] 4-456, ff. by the appendix  2-45; note that the printer made two errors in the pagination, such that p. 402 is followed by p. 405; and in the Appendix, p. 4 is followed by p. 6; the book collates complete using the signature marks, no pages are missing. There is a single plate bound into the book between pp. 446. and 447 of General Wayne. Please note that this is volume four ONLY of a four-volume set; we usually do not offer single volumes but due to the scarcity of this, and the interest in the prior / original owner annotations, we believe there is a place for it.
___CONDITION: A bit better than good, the leather binding scuffed and a bit worn but not powdering, the red leather spine label present and firmly attached, straight corners without rubbing (the top front corner looks as though it may have been restored at some point), and with a strong, square text block with solid hinges; some offsetting and foxing to the endpapers, the interior pages with some overall toning, a few pages darker than others but all easily readable, a few signatures sprung but still attached to the text block, and replete with prior owner annotations, as referred to above, including two old prices written on the front pastedown, "1.50" and "12/York currency", the rear flyleaf missing about one-quarter of its width at the bottom, the rear pastedown also with some loss (it does not appear as though any of the missing paper had annotations).
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