"May blessings be upon the head of Cadmus, the Phoenicians, or whoever it was that invented books." -Thomas Carlyle
Welcome to my virtual book collection. Since collecting actual books is somewhat cost-prohibitive, I've begun to amass all of the books I would love to have if I had the means. Some are new, lots are old, all are unique or beautiful or unusual or in some other way have captured my fancy. Enjoy browsing!
Special Collections: Fine Bindings ~ Fairies and Fairy Tales ~ Terror and Madness ~ Poetry ~ Food, Drink and Apothecary ~ Science Fiction ~ Illuminations, Lettering and Hand-Coloring ~ Magic ~ Supernatural and Occult ~ Alchemy ~ Science and Technical ~ Maritime ~ Costumes ~ Humor ~ Children's books ~ Legend of King Arthur ~ Americana ~ 18th Century ~ 19th Century Authors and illustrators: Edgar Allan Poe ~ Jules Verne ~ Edmund Dulac ~ Kay Nielsen ~ Arthur Rackham ~ Edward Gorey ~ Charles Dickens ~ H.P. Lovecraft ~ William Hope Hodgson ~ Mark Twain ~ Lewis Carroll ~ Salvador Dali ~ George Cruikshank ~ Emily Dickinson ~ Geoffrey Chaucer ~ H.G. Wells
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Robert Louis Stevenson. London, Longmans, Green & Co.1886
First issue with “5” in 1885 ink changed from “6” by hand from the publisher. Also, an ad for the second edition of “A Child’s Garden of Verses” at rear. This wrapper bound issue precedes the cloth issue by about a week. “Like Shelley’s Frankenstein, this is an updating of the Faust theme which speculates on the dangers of science out of control…Stevenson’s theme of the human mind fragmenting into mutually exclusive, mutually destructive bits has been treated by countless later writers” – Lilly 21; Prideaux 17; Beinecke 349; Bleiler, Science Fiction (Early Years), pp.706-07; A Haycraft-Queen Cornerstone.
, 141, [1 blank] +  ad pp. 18x11.5 cm. (7x4½”), original buff wrappers rebacked with early matching paper, front cover stamped in blue and red, glassine wrapper, custom maroon drop-back box. First English Edition, earliest binding state, first issue.
Banbury Cross Series
Grace Rhys. London, J.M. Dent, 1894-95.
Eleven volumes of children’s books in the Banbury Cross series, with original folding box.
Includes: The Sleeping Beauty and Dick Whittington and His Cat. Illustrated by R. Anning Bell. * Aesop’s Fables. Illustrated by Charles Robinson. Little Red Riding Hood & The History of Tom Thumb. Illustrated by H. Isabel Adams. * Aladdin: or the Wonderful Lamp. Illustrated by Sidney H. Heath. * Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper and Jack and the Bean-Stalk. Illustrator not identified. * The Fairy Gifts and Tom Hickathrift. Illustrated by H. Granville Fell. * Blue Beard and Puss in Boots. Illustrated by R. Heighway. * The History of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. Illustrated by H. Granville Fell. * Banbury Cross & Other Nursery Rhymes. Illustrated by Alice B. Woodward. * Fireside Stories. Illustrated by Alice M. Mitchell. * The House That Jack Built & Other Nursery Rhymes. Illustrated by Violet M. & Evelyn Holden. Together, 11 volumes. 14.5x9 cm. (5¾x3½”), 1st in light green cloth, others in burgundy cloth, all decoratively stamped & lettered in gilt on front covers and spines, top edges gilt, others untrimmed, ribbon ties, pictorial endpapers by R. Anning Bell; folding burgundy cloth case pictorially stamped in gilt.
Charming set of the Banbury Cross children’s books, presenting classic tales, with notable illustrators of the late 19th century. There is a little space left in the box, perhaps there was one more at one time, and the first is a different color cloth.
George Eliot. Leipzig: Bernard Tauchnitz, 1863.
2 volumes. 12mo (159 x 113 mm). vi, 328; vi, 310 pp. Illustrated with 70 albumen photo plates. Original gilt-tooled vellum with blue morocco inlays, beveled boards, a.e.g., silk endpapers. Light rubbing to spine labels, but otherwise an excellent copy. “Copyright edition.”
Impressions of Theophrastus Such. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1879. 8vo. “Publishers’ note” slip at front. Original brown cloth stamped in gilt and black, lettered in gilt on spine, chocolate endpapers. Light wear to extremities. Provenance: J. Delicor (period ownership inscription).
FIRST EDITION. Published the year before her death, this was to be Eliot’s final work.
George Eliot. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood & Sons, 1871-72.
8 parts. 8vo (177 x 119 mm). Original green decorated wrappers. Custom chemises and quarter morocco slipcases. Light creasing to spines, spines of parts 1 & 2 fragile, a few chips to extremities, otherwise a bright, clean copy.
Provenance: Douglas C. Ewing (bookplates to chemises).
FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL PARTS. Advertisements conforming to Parrish with the following exceptions: ads differing on wrappers of part 1, 2 extra pp of ads at back of parts 1 & 2, without 4 pp ads at front and 4 pp ads at back of part 8. Middlemarch was something of an experiment in the serial form, appearing as it did in eight irregularly published ‘books,’ each with its own title. As John Sutherland notes, the format gave author and publisher simultaneous access to two markets, offering both “the stiff covers and narrative wholeness associated with the library volume” and “the price and deferred payment associated with the serial.” Eliot’s husband and acting business agent George Henry Lewes first proposed the idea to Blackwood, who required some persuading after the relative commercial failure of Felix Holt, which had sold far fewer copies than were printed. A compromise was struck, Blackwood printed close to 6,000 copies (Lewes had suggested 10,000), and the parts issue of Middlemarch sold out completely. The experiment was repeated with Daniel Deronda, also with great success. See Sutherland, Victorian Novelists, pp 188 ff. Parrish 29-31; Sadleir 815 (book form).
Irving, Washington. . London: 1876.
Illustrated by Ralph Caldecott. 8vo. Full green levant gilt by Kelliegram, morocco onlays to upper and lower covers depicting vignettes after Caldecott illustrations (from p.157 and p.26, respectively), all edges gilt.
The Juggler’s Oracle; or, The Whole Art of Legerdemain Laid Open
Herman Boaz. London, William Cole, 1826.
Consisting of all the newest and most surprising tricks and experiments, with cards, cups and balls, conveyance of money and rings, boxes, fire, strings and knots; with many curious experiments by optical illusion, chymical changes, and magical cards, 16mo, 40 engravings, paper boards
Herman Boaz was a German conjuror. During the last decade of the 18th century and in the earlier part of the 19th century, he appeared in Britain as the Sieur Boaz. In “The Lives of the Conjurors” (1876), Thomas Frost refers to him as a “small fry of the profession”. The Caledonian Conjuror, Mr Arbuckle, stated that he was one of Boaz’s pupils on his billing. In “Miracle Mongers and their Methods”, Houdini mentions that on his programme, Boaz employed a fire-eater billed as the “Man-Salamander”. Scarce.
The Mansions of England in the Olden Time
Joseph Nash, 1874.
First-Fourth Series bound in 1 vol., 4 additional pictorial titles and 100 plates, all tinted lithographs, additional title to First Series and letterpress general title both trimmed and mounted on blank leaves, some light foxing, handsome original black morocco over thick bevelled boards with elaborately gilt inlaid red morocco borders, by Sotheran & Co.
Adopted; or, The Serpent Bracelet
Ada L. Halstead [pseud]. [Laura Eugenia Newhall] San Francisco, Cal.: Golden Era Co., Publishers, 1886.
“Newhall’s first novel, a lurid pot-boiler of crime and romance—the evil Eugenia Marston attempts to secure the hand of dashing Sidney Westbrooke by immuring the lovely Ethel Lyle in old widow Wiggins’ cellar, where she plots to dispatch the heroine with a poisoned dagger…”
Grand Dictionnaire du Cuisine
Alexandre Dumas, 1873
First edition, half-title, title printed in red and black, 2 engraved portraits, offsetting, occasional spotting, contemporary half morocco, spine gilt, upper joint starting, rubbed, large 8vo, [Bitting 135; Vicaire 297], Paris, 1873; and an 1839 edition of Aulagnier on drink, 4to & 8vo (2)
B-A Note: I did not know that Dumas wrote about food. According to Wiki, it’s part encyclopedia and part cookbook. I find this kind of fascinating - think I’ll have to pick up a copy!
Caricatures of Twenty-Five Gentlemen
Max Beerbohm. FIRST EDITION, 25 plates, Leonard Smithers, 1896.
Caricatures of Twenty-five Gentlemen consists of portraits of many of the prominent writers and artists of the 1890s, including Richard Le Gallienne, Frank Harris, Rudyard Kipling, Aubrey Beardsley and George Bernard Shaw.
GILBERT, W.S. 1836-1911.
The “Bab” Ballads. [With:] More “Bab” Ballads. London: 1869[-1873]. 2 volumes. Illustrated throughout by the author. 8vo. Full blue morocco gilt extra by Bayntun, both volumes with multi-color onlay vignettes on both covers, original cloth covers bound in. Mild sunning to spines and joints lightly rubbed.
First editions in pictorial morocco. The four vignettes follow Gilbert’s illustrations for “Captain Reece,” “The Story of Prince Agib,” “The King of Canoodle-dum,” and “The Modest Couple” respectively.
Provenance: estate of Helen Dow Whiting.
Science and Art of Chess
J. Munroe. New York: Charles Scribner; London: Sampson Low, Son & Co., 1859
First edition, not a modern reprint. Designed for the beginner and novice, this was published during the early days of interest in the U.S. in chess as a social event. The first American chess congress was held in New York in 1857 and that certainly helped expand interest in the game. (Oddly, the founding of the first chess club in America did not come until 1877.)
Publisher’s green cloth stamped in blind on covers and in gilt on spine (with a knight, bishop, and castle in addition to author and title); a little cocked and bottom edges worn.
Our First Century: Being a Popular Descriptive Portraiture of the One Hundred Great and Memorable Events of Perpetual Interest in the History of Our Country
R.M. Devens. Springfield MA, C.A. Nichols & Co, 1876.
First Edition. 1007 pp. Chromolithograph title page; woodcut illustrations throughout. (Large 8vo) original brown cloth stamped in gilt. A centennial history of the United States.
A Book of Nonsense
Edward Lear (ca 1875 James Miller edition)
The limerick form was popularized by Edward Lear in his first Book of Nonsense (1845) and a later work (1872) on the same theme. Lear wrote 212 limericks, mostly nonsense verse. It was customary at the time for limericks to accompany an absurd illustration of the same subject, and for the final line of the limerick to be a kind of conclusion, usually a variant of the first line ending in the same word.