Boston: Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1896. Watson, Amelia M. First Edition. Hardcover. First printing with the illustrations by Amelia M. Watson, two volumes (complete), duodecimo size, 395 pp. Very good. Item #CNJS11
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was a leading transcendentalist writer, poet, historian, and abolitionist, best known for his works "Walden" and "Civil Disobedience". This work, "Cape Cod", is a wonderful paean to an area he visited several times, and is part of his writings known as his "excursion" books - he famously advised others to read as much travel literature as possible, so as to "live at home like a traveler" (n.b., quote from "The Writings of Henry David Thoreau").
This lovely set is perfectly enhanced by the multiple marginal illustrations by Amelia Montague Watson (1856-1934) who travelled to Cape Cod when commissioned to provide the illustrations for this publication of "Cape Cod", making her drawings directly on a copy of the book itself, which were then reproduced using chromolithography.
The publisher's trade binding was designed by Sarah de St. Prix Wyman Whitman (1842-1904), one of the most successful binding designers of her time; she designed over 200 bindings, drawing heavily on the Arts and Crafts movement for inspiration.
___DESCRIPTION: Both volumes bound in green cloth over boards, lettering and design in gilt on the fronts and spines, design on the front boards mirrored on the back boards in blind, top edges gilt, each volume with a different full-page tissue-guarded illustration as frontis, title pages in red and black, both volumes replete with illustrations in the margins and as chapter head-pieces; duodecimo size (7.5" by 5.25"), pagination: Volume I, [i-v] vi-viii,  2-173; Volume II, [i-vi]  2-208 includes an Index at the rear.
___CONDITION: A solid very good set, the boards clean, straight corners with minimal rubbing, strong, square text blocks with solid hinges, the interiors are clean and bright, and the sold prior owner markings being what appears to be a contemporary gift inscription on the flyleaves of both volumes ("Caroline L. Williamson / January 11, 1897 / Sara Graff"); some sunning to the spines, some wear to the head and tail of the spines with a small amount of loss to the heads, and minor darkening to the fore-edges of the boards.
___CITATION: BAL no. 20192; web site of the Boston Public Library (images of SWW bindings).
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