Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2005 Issue

The Pearl is a Gem

Saugerties as it looked in 1875


By Bruce McKinney

In building a collection of Hudson Valley [New York] material I've been buying things for years. Along the way I've acquired important and unimportant, expensive and inexpensive, common and rare pieces. I'm not anywhere near complete but probably have one of the better such collections in private hands. It's not that anyone would want to duplicate it. To me it's simply an interesting and compelling challenge.

Recently I ran across an intriguing item, The Pearl, a magazine complete in twelve issues, published in Saugerties and printed in Rondout during 1875. It is an early local photographic essay and history printed in monthly installments. In my research for AE on 19th century magazines I learned of it while running keyword searches for place names with date ranges. It's not in Mott's A History of American Magazines, a sure-fire indication it's either spell-blindingly rare or very unimportant. It is certainly rare and probably important at least to local history and photography collectors. The images, of which there are three per issue and thirty-six in total, portray local life in the same hard light Thomas Eakins painted his Schuylkill rowing pictures a few years earlier. These photographs, taken only ten years after the end of the Civil War, are stark in a Brady battlefield way.

The American Antiquarian Society has a complete set of the twelve issues which can not be identified online but are referenced in their Union List of Periodicals. The OCLC lists six locations. The Library of Congress has a copy but it is incomplete, having only 9 issues.

A month ago I found on Abe a complete set of twelve and a second, separate listing for 14 random issues. I bought the complete copy for $450, received it and then bought the random monthly segments for $220. This material is precious, a great find and continuing evidence of what I've only recently come to understand: the majority of collectible printed material has yet to be systematically catalogued. Like so much other early printed material it is important, rare and unknown. Every day obscuranta comes up and sells but fails to make it into any permanent record and so falls back into the unknown to be periodically rediscovered and lost again in the future. Much of what we do on AE is to document this dark side of the moon.


Now, let me quote the two men, Leon Barritt and Edward Jernegan listed as proprietors and actually the publishers of this gem The Pearl, explaining their purposes in its first issue,
"The Pearl...comes...monthly, inlaid, as it were, with perfect little pearls of photographic views of our public buildings, private residences, and the choicest of the great natural beauties in the very midst of which Saugerties is situated..."

For each issue "three pages will be devoted to photographs, four to reading matter, and one only will be used as an advertising medium, making, when bound at the end of the year, a volume of ninety-six pages, thirty-six of which will be mounted with photographs. The reading matter will treat principally upon the illustrations, and home topics, and shall be made, to the best of our ability, moral and instructive."

Rare Book Monthly

  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Theodor de Bry, Indiae Orientalis, 1598-1625. Est: € 80,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD

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