Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2020 Issue

Some Things Matter More


Recently I received a message from Scott DeWolfe of DeWolfe and Wood and mentioned they had a Poughkeepsie imprint that is shabby but intact and wondered if I would accept it if sent to me.  And I thanked them as such materials are perfect additions for the 7 counties database I’m building around Ulster, Dutchess, Putnam, Orange, Sullivan, Greene and Columbia Counties that lay midway between New York City and Albany along the Hudson River.  It would to be incremental to my evolving understanding of Poughkeepsie.  And this book arrived!


It’s The Charter of the City of Poughkeepsie, also The Ordinances Passed by the Common Council of Poughkeepsie, to January 1st, 1866.  Published at Poughkeepsie by Platt & Son, Printers, Daily Eagle Office, 1866.


It’s a gem as a remarkable way to see how safety, sanitation, and population issues were incrementally influencing local policies.


As a developing place this volume provides census data from 1800 to 1865 that contextualizes subjects many of which became relevant only as the number of citizens increased:


1800     3,246

1810     4,669

1814     5,673

1820     5,726

1825     5,923

1830     7,222

1835      8,529

1840    10,006

1845    11,791

1850    13,944

1855    12,763

1860    14,726

1865    16,099


The Charter of the City is first of interest.


The keeping of the peace has a high priority with various paragraphs called out under the titles:  Riots, Gaming, Circuses, Disorderly Houses, Public nuisances, Gunpower, horse racing and Vagrants, Public pounds, Cattle at large, Ringing of bells, blowing of horns, and crying of wares, Dogs and Bills of morality.


As to the streets, “the Common Council shall have power to cause such of the streets, lanes, alleys, or roads used as highways in said city, or any part or parts thereof, as shall have been heretofore laid out,  but not [yet] recorded or sufficiently described, and such as shall have been used for twenty years but not recorded,  to be ascertained, described and entered and recorded in a book to be kept by the Chamberlain of said city.” [pp.39]


There is a poll tax, which in common understanding was used in the southern states to limit the franchise.  In this case it seems to differentiate from newer residents who benefit from the city’s services that were developed by previous residents.


The enumeration of the laws that govern and apply to the establishment of the fire department, explaining the authority and powers of its officials with rules enumerated about the purchasing of “Fire Machines,”  to make rules for the government of the Fire Department including who is required to act as fireman as well, who and why some may be exempted.


The establishment of a lamp district which precedes, in the enumeration of the laws, the establishment of schools and the creation of the Board of Education.


There is only a single reference of race, “The Board of Education may establish and cause to be kept a separate school for the instruction of colored children.” It is dated 1864.  [pp.61]


Thereafter follows a section to maintain a public library, forever after to be called the City Library of Poughkeepsie whose stipend is drawn from the School budget. To which is added, “the Board of Education may make regulations respecting the use and imposing fines or penalties for abuse of books belonging to the City Library, and any person incurring any such fine or penalty shall be liable to an action for the same by the city, and the amount received shall be applied as aforesaid to the use of the library.” [pp.62]


Of further interest, under the title Chapter II, there is an act for the better support of the Poor, Passed April 29th, 1863, as amended.  Subsequently the City of Poughkeepsie wanted to independently supervise their poor, rather than to have their activities managed at the county level.


As amended in 1864, “the said commissioners, may cause to be constructed within, or within the vicinity of an Alms-house a cell or cells, or other place or places of confinement for the temporary imprisonment or the detention of vagrants.  And the Recorder of the city of Poughkeepsie is hereby required by his warrant, to be directed to and executed by one of the Police Officers of said city, to commit to the custody of the keeper of the said alms-house, to be confined in such cells or places of confinement, all persons adjudged vagrants, according to the provisions of the act concerning beggars and vagrants, and sentenced by him to imprisonment therefor; and the keeper of said Alms-House is hereby authorized to require all persons, so committed to his charge, to do and perform such work and labor as the Superintendent of the Poor of said city shall direct.


Further paragraphs enumerate that lunatics and bastards will also be resident there.


Taken together this appears to be a parallel justice system for its citizens with the Alms House as a way to jail and penalize vagrants, paupers, lunatics and bastards [they of uncertain parentage] while the regular residents can access the regular justice system.


As well, within the Ordinances section there is perspective on the risk of fire, with details about how gun powder must be stored.  As well, there are rules about how animals will be controlled and sidewalks must be swept.  In particular note there is a paragraph suggesting geese are particularly a problem.


There is also a cloud above those who would be caught selling things by weight using scales without city certification.


Games are also under a cloud, as Ten Pin Alleys, as called, must be played only at 10:00am while being mindful that on Sundays all hours are prohibited.  Neither can any person race their horse or wagons subject to penalties calculated by distances, corners and intersections.  Neither are the firing of cannons, guns, pistols, squibs, crackers, rockets or any other fireworks, within certain parts of the city of Poughkeepsie will earn you a fine and official attention.


Beyond these rules are others,  An ordinance is provided that “No horses, neat cattle or swine,  are prohibited from going at large in the streets of the city.  To enforce such regulations this city has created a position, the Pound Master, to establish a pound or pounds should the number and variety of beasts may need incarceration [my paraphrase].


If needed, the pound master has opportunities for wealth, because he [or they] can sell the sequestered animals, be they horses, cows, cattle or swine.


As well, as the concern has been for the city to be orderly, there has been recurring concern; fire.  The City has fire trucks and requires a full complement of 70 firemen for each such truck.  And within the fire department there are titles and responsibilities, pay, penalties and hats.


And I’ll stop there.


This is one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read.  That it’s in my possession is at the suggestion of Dewolfe and Wood, an experienced bookdealer whose experience with the printed word is even better matched with their prodigious memories and their understanding of what their clients appreciate.


To them I say thank you.  And to everyone reading this story please follow their weekly lists that are posted on Tuesdays, that are always interesting, and disappear, on average in about an hour.


Images:  A map of Poughkeepsie

A chart showing the population, increasing decade by decade [that suggests the place is always needing to provide new laws for the consequences and outcomes of grown and the changing types of their population.


Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>A third selection of 16th and 17th<br>Century English Books from<br>the Fox Pointe Manor Library<br>Thursday 21st October 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Hawking & Hunting.- Turberville (George). <i>The Booke of Falconrie or Hawking,</i> second edition, Printed by Thomas Purfoot, 1611. £6,000 to £8,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> George Steevens' copy.- Coryate (Thomas). <i>Coryats Crudities Hastily gobbled up in five Moneths travells in France, Savoy, Italy, Rhetia...,</i> first edition, complete copy, Printed by W. S[tansby], 1611. £4,000 to £6,00
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Butler (Charles). <i>The Feminine Monarchie: or The Historie of Bees,</i> second edition, Printed by John Haviland for Roger Jackson, 1623. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>A third selection of 16th and 17th<br>Century English Books from<br>the Fox Pointe Manor Library<br>Thursday 21st October 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Brathwait (Richard). <i>The English Gentlewoman, drawne out to the full Body: expressing, What Habilliments doe best attire her…,</i> Printed by B. Alsop and T. Fawcet, for Michaell Sparke, 1631. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Glapthorne (Henry). <i>The Ladies Priviledge,</i> first edition, Imprinted...by J. Okes, for Francis Constable, 1640. £1,000 to £1,500.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Witchcraft.- F. (H.) <i>A true and exact Relation Of the severall Informations, Examinations, and Confessions of the late Witches, arraigned and executed in the County of Essex,</i> first edition, 1645. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>A third selection of 16th and 17th<br>Century English Books from<br>the Fox Pointe Manor Library<br>Thursday 21st October 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Hobbes (Thomas). <i>De Corpore Politico. Or the Elements of Law, Moral & Politick,</i> first edition, 1650. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Early steam engine.- Worcester (Edward Somerset, 2nd Marquis). <i>A Century of the Names and Scantlings of such Inventions…,</i> first edition, 1663. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Cookery.- M[ontagu] (W[alter]). <i>The Queens Closet Opened. Incomparable secrets in physick, chirurgery, preserving and candying, &c,</i> 3 parts in 1 vol., 1674. £1,500 to £2,000.
    <center><b>Forum Auctions<br>A third selection of 16th and 17th<br>Century English Books from<br>the Fox Pointe Manor Library<br>Thursday 21st October 2021</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Speed (John). <i>An Epitome of Mr. John Speed's Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain,</i> 2 parts in 1, 90 engraved maps, Printed for Tho. Basset, and Ric. Chiswel, 1676. £3,000 to £4,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Le Boe (Franciscus). <i>Of Childrens Diseases... also a Treatise of the Rickets,</i> first edition, Printed for George Downs, 1682. £2,000 to £3,000.
    <b>Forum Auctions, Oct. 21:</b> Economics.- Locke (John). <i>Several Papers Relating to Money, Interest and Trade,</i> first collected edition, Printed for A. and J. Churchill, 1696. £2,000 to £3,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>26th-29th of October 2021</b>
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th- 29th:</b><br>Books from XV to XX Century
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th:</b><br>Manuscripts and autographs
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th:</b><br>Artist books
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th:</b><br>Cars & more
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th:</b><br>Magazines
    <b>Gonnelli Auction 31, Oct. 28th- 29th:</b><br>Books from XV to XX Century
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Luzzatto High Holiday Mahzor:<br>A Magnificent Illuminated Ashkenazic Prayer Book<br>19 October 2021</b>
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Luzzatto High Holiday Mahzor:<br>A Magnificent Illuminated Ashkenazic Prayer Book<br>19 October 2021</b>
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Luzzatto High Holiday Mahzor:<br>A Magnificent Illuminated Ashkenazic Prayer Book<br>19 October 2021</b>
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>The Luzzatto High Holiday Mahzor:<br>A Magnificent Illuminated Ashkenazic Prayer Book<br>19 October 2021</b>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Pancho Villa, passport for a news correspondent covering the Mexican revolution, signed, 1914. $1,000 to $2,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Nirvana’s <i>Nevermind,</i> CD insert signed & inscribed days after release by Cobain, inscribed by Novoselic, 1991. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Robert Indiana, <i>The Book of Love,</i> complete portfolio, artist’s proof set, 1997. $100,000 to $125,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Marcel Vertés, Colette, <i>Chéri,</i> two volumes, deluxe edition, signed by the artist, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Virginia Woolf, <i>Orlando,</i> first trade edition, first impression, London, 1928. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Mark Twain, receipt for payment of the Mark Twain Public Library Tax, 1908. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Oct 28:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk von Gustav Klimt,</i> portfolio, collotype plates, 1918. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> EARLY PRINTING IN COLOGNE. <i>Alphabetum divini amoris.</i> 1466/67. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> SCHEDEL, HARTMANN. <i>Liber chronicarum.</i> Nuremburg: 12th July 1493. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> DÜRER, ALBRECHT. 1471-1528. <i>Underweysung der messung.</i> Nuremberg: 1525. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> LANCELOT DU LAC. <i>Le premier [second/tiers] volume de Lancelot du Lac…</i> Paris: [1502-1504]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> CRUIKSHANK, GEORGE, ET AL. A group of 23 sketches by two generations of the Cruikshank family, various media, mostly pencil or ink with occasional color, c.1790s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> FÉNELON. <i>Les Aventures de Telemaque.</i> Paris: 1785. Hand-colored copy originally belonging to Jean Baptiste Tilliard. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> FRAGONARD. LA FONTAINE. <i>Contes et nouvelles en vers.</i> Paris: 1795. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> SAINT-NON. <i>Voyage pittoresque ou description des royaumes de Naples et de Sicile.</i> Paris: 1781-1786. WITH: Original manuscript contract signed for publication, c.1787. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> MAN RAY. <i>Revolving Doors, 1916-1917.</i> Paris: 1926. PRESENTATION COPY FROM THE ARTIST. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> MIRÓ, JOAN. <i>Il etait une petite pie.</i> Paris: 1928. MIRO'S FIRST BOOK, PRESENTATION COPY FROM THE AUTHOR, LISE [DELHARME] HIRST. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 15:</b> SCHMIED, FRANÇOIS-LOUIS. HOMER. <i>L'Odyssee.</i> Paris: 1930-1933. DELUXE EDITION OF SCHMIED'S MASTERPIECE, COLORED BY SAUDE. $12,000 to $18,000.

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