Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2005 Issue

Collecting has its Moments


A rare Ulster Co. Munsell imprint

Upon receiving both I found the county records begin with notes on the regular meeting of the Ulster Historical Society, held June 7th, 1860, at the Reformed Church in New Paltz including the names of the participants and corresponding members. It seems likely both of these pieces belonged to one of the men mentioned although I haven't determined which one.

This volume reads "Kingston: Printed For The Society" but Munsell lists it as his work. This may explain why so few Munsell imprints show up. The place given is the location of the issuer, not the printer and the name of the printer is omitted.

Both pieces are fragile but in good condition and I am incredibly lucky to have acquired them. That they were inexpensive makes the story a little more interesting.

As an aside it isn't clear if either one of these items would be interesting enough for a conventional auction house to list. Neither piece has any auction history nor have they been included in dealer catalogues I've seen. Auctions want material with track records. Their rarity is, in any event, apparent but their importance less clear. Such material, for focused collectors, is an interesting challenge.

Next I bought three items on ABE that appear in Hermann E. Ludewig's "The Literature of American Local History; A Bibliographical Essay." This interesting, if sometimes imperfect, bibliography is an early attempt [1846] to document local and state history. We'll add it to the AED in August. Among the items Ludewig describes is "A Statistical Account of the Towns and Parishes in the State of Connecticut," by Timothy Dwight, dated 1811. On the title page it says Vol. 1, No. 1 but in fact the second volume wasn't published for 8 years. It's an unsophisticated copy and entirely original. I bought it from David Lesser.

Another Ludewig item is "An Address Delivered at the Request of the Citizens of Hartford on the 9th of November, 1835" by Joel Hawes that relates the history of Hartford from its settlement to the present. This is an 80 page pamphlet in its original printed wrappers. The third is "A Historical Discourse, delivered by request Before the Citizens of New Haven, April 25, 1838, The Two Hundredth Anniversary of The First Settlement of the Town and Colony" by James L. Kingsley, New Haven, 1838. This is a 115-page account in original boards, again a very nice copy.

To close out a busy month another interesting book came up on eBay as a "Poughkeepsie" item. It is "Memoirs of the Rev. John H. Livingston..." by Alexander Gunn, 1829. The AED has four records for the Reverend and one for this title offered by Harper in 1905 who described it as a memoir of the revolutionary war period with material on Poughkeepsie. The copy on eBay had problems but there was a very nice copy in boards on ABE for about the same money and I bought it. It came from the inventory of George S. MacManus of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

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