Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2013 Issue

Books and Art from the Veatchs Arts of the Book

Colderie

Celebrating the Erie Canal.

Item 30 is an item of historic interest, along with being described as an “incunable” of American lithography: Memoir, prepared at the request of a committee of the Common Council of the City of New York, and presented to the mayor of the city, at the celebration of the completion of the New York Canals. Cadawallader Colden's work commemorated the huge celebrations in New York City to mark the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825. The canal connected the Great Lakes system to the Hudson River, and on to New York and the Atlantic Ocean. It opened huge amounts of land in what was then the American West to practical use, making the shipping of goods, notably agricultural commodities, from these areas to other markets for the first time practical. The reduction in shipping cost, versus horse drawn wagons, was enormous. The canal also opened up western New York to development and made the Port of New York City the most active in the nation. This memoir features lithographic prints from the parade that took place in New York. Along with expected participants such as the military, fire departments, and fraternal societies, trades, including those relating to books, were included. One hundred forty-four bookbinders marched in the parade, hauling a five-foot tall leather bound book. Two modern presses, including one from Hoe, drawn by four horses, printed 11,000 copies of an “Ode for the Canal Celebration” as they moved along. Publisher/bookseller Henry I. Megary carried a banner at the head of a contingent of booksellers, stationers, and music sellers. $900.

For fans of writers of wordy books, this will be an interesting title: Dr. Johnson and Noah Webster. Two Men & Their Dictionaries. The Veatchs refer to the gentlemen facetiously as “two harmless drudges.” That was Johnson's self-deprecating moniker for his job as a lexicographer. It is not exactly a profession of high excitement and adventure. This book was written by David Littlejohn and published for the Book Club of California in 1971. Tipped in is a pair of leaves from the letter “A” from Johnson's 1755 dictionary and from Webster's 1828 edition. Item 64. $250.

The Veatchs Arts of the Book can be reached at 413-584-1867 or veatchs@veatchs.com. Their website is www.veatchs.com.

Rare Book Monthly

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