rmb  Recent Acquisitions :: March, 2011


BREWSTER, DAVID. The Edinburgh encyclopaedia, conducted by David Brewster ... with the assiatance of gentlemen eminent in science and literature ... The first American edition, corrected and improved by the addition of numerous articles relative to the institutions of the American continent... Philadelphia: Joseph and Edward Parker, 1832.      $4,000

18 volumes text, plus 2 volumes of plates; 4to, original mottled calf, red and black morocco labels on spines; some internal tears, minor rubbing and scuffing, occasional mild to moderate dampstains, some foxing, several flyleaves loose with tears, one partially torn away, but in all a very good, sound, reasonably clean copy, with no chipping, and no breaks at any of the joints or hinges. The plate volumes are generally clean but do exhibit modest offsetting and spotting.

Extra engraved title page in vol. I (with a New York imprint), and  with 533 (of 539) engraved plates (4 folding, 2 double-page, 1 with an overlay; 1 torn at fold, 1 with a small hole in the middle, several with short tears; some misnumbered, some bound out of order, some with duplicate numbers, and some numbers missing. Whether all 539 listed in the 18 plate lists were published is likely a matter of conjecture.Additionally, in the text volumes, and not noted in the plate lists, are 10 engraved maps (2 folding), 3 portraits (Franklin, Hamilton, and Fisher Ames), and a nice double-page engraving of Philadelphia by Campbell after Birch.

The work was first published in Edinburgh 1808-1830, and appeared in this American edition of 1832. However, in spite of its superb articles, it was a commercial failure, and no further editions were printed, although a second American edition seems to have been at least contemplated. In fact, the plate lists and first page of text (but not the title pages) in volumes I and II identify this as the second American edition, but no others, and the idea of a second American edition seems to have been dropped. The title pages in all volumes state "First American Edition."

Among the contributors were Charles Babbage, Jacob Berzelius, Thomas Carlyle, John Lizars, William Scoresby, Robert Stevenson, and James Watt.

MURRAY, JAMES A.H., HENRY BRADLEY, W.A. CRAIGE & C.T. ONIONS. A new English dictionary on historical principles; founded mainly on the materials collected by the Philological Society. Edited by James A.H. Murray … with the assistance of many scholars and men of science. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1888-1933.             $5,000

First edition, large, heavy 4tos, 11 vols. in 13, including the Introduction, Supplement and Bibliography volume (1933); original quarter red morocco over red pebble-grain cloth sides, gilt lettering on spine. The final Introduction volume is lightly scuffed and rubbed, extremely minor rubbing to a few of the other volumes, one corner bumped and bent, but an unusually fine, bright, firm set. Very handsome.

The greatest undertaking of the Oxford University Press. Printing & the Mind of Man 371: "The N.E.D., as it was originally cited, or the O.E.D., as it is now known, is the greatest tresure-house of any language in the world, unrivalled for its comprehensiveness and ease of consultation as well as for its reliability and scholarship."


SASSOON, SIGFRIED. Memoirs of an infantry officer ... With illustrations by Barnett Freedman. London: Faber & Faber, [1931].   $2,250

First edition limited to 320 signed and numbered copies by Sassoon (this being no. 50), also signed by Freedman, on hand-made laid paper; 8vo, pp. [10], 11-310, [1]; t.e.g., color pictorial endpapers, 15 color plates, other illustrations in the text; original lithographic covers and dust jacket, both fine. In a slightly worn publisher's box. 



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