Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2010 Issue

Almanacs, Atlases and City Guides from the George S. MacManus Company

Macmanus405

Almanacs, atlases and city directories from the George S. MacManus Company.


By Michael Stillman

The George S. MacManus Company has published a new catalogue of Americana Featuring Almanacs, Atlases, Directories, Gazetteers and Guides. There is a particularly large group of city and town directories and guides from the 19th century. These were the books that told you who lived in a city and where, what the businesses were, and how to get around. They mostly disappeared or lost their importance in the 20th century, probably replaced when the invention of the telephone brought about telephone books and yellow pages to take over their role. However, the guides tended to be more informative about their towns and cities and today offer a look at the details of a location during their era.

Item 333 is Thomas Stephen's directory of Philadelphia from long ago: Stephen's Philadelphia Directory, for 1796. Along with detailed information about the city and its residents and locations, it contains information about organizations such as the Public Library and Humane Society, and one that is no longer necessary, the Abolition Society. Among the many forgotten residents of the city in 1796 is one we all remember, "Washington George, President of the United States, 190, High Street." This was before the city that bears Washington's name was built, and the then President lived in modest housing compared to today's White House, which he rented from Robert Morris. It would also serve as John Adams' "White House," but it was torn down early in the 19th century and no one knows exactly what it looked like. Priced at $4,500. Item 334 is another copy, priced at $1,500.

The nation's capital had long since moved south when Rae's Philadelphia Pictorial Directory & Panoramic Advertiser was published in 1851. This rare item was one of the most impressive of directories to be published. Author Julio Rae devised a new advertising plan. He provided a panorama display of the buildings on eight blocks of Chestnut Street, both sides, in downtown Philadelphia. Text was provided with the illustrations of all those who advertised in the directory. Among the merchants to be found were jewelers, tailors, grocers, druggists, picture framers, daguerreotypists, Welch's National Circus and Theater, and P.T. Barnum's museum. The latter would be destroyed by fire later that year. Rae intended to publish new editions of his fabulous directory annually, as well as preparing one for Market Street. However, the undertaking was apparently a bit too ambitious as no others were produced. Item 324. $5,000.

Item 14 is a copy of Poor Richard Improved, though evidently not enough, Benjamin Franklin's almanac for 1749. This was the first printed by Franklin's partner David Hall, and Franklin discovered a couple of egregious printing errors. In the 1750 edition, speaking of this issue, he wrote, "This was Mr. Printer's Fault; who being also somewhat niggardly of his Vowels, as well as profuse of his Consonants, put in one Place, among the Poetry, mad, instead of made, and in another wrapp'd, instead of warp'd; to the utter demolishing of all Sense in those Lines, leaving nothing standing but the Rhime." $12,500.

Not to take anything away from its importance today, but in 1819 Cincinnati was likely America's most important inland city. In the days when travel and trade was mainly accomplished by river, its location on the Ohio was of great importance. Item 277 is the first Cincinnati directory, Cincinnati Directory, Containing the Names, Profession and Occupation of the Inhabitants of the Town, Alphabetically Arranged... It contains details about its residents and businesses, their locations, trade, foundries, and the steamboats and canals in the area. A map illustrates the city blocks. $3,000. Item 278 is another copy, $2,250.

Item 52 is the 1908 Atlas of the Rural Country District North of New York City Embracing the Entire Westchester County, New York. Also a Portion of Connecticut. Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Wilton and Ridgefield... These are hardly rural communities today. Rather, they are some of the most expensive suburban communities in America. $1,250.

The George S. MacManus Co. may be reached at 610-520-7273 or books@macmanus-rarebooks.com. Their website is www.macmanus-rarebooks.com.

You will find many of the George S. MacManus Company's books listed in "Books For Sale" on this site. Click here.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Bibliothèque littéraire<br>Hubert Heilbronn<br>11 May 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s May 11:</b> Breton, André. <i>Nadja.</i> Paris, N.R.F., Gallimard, 1928. €15,000 to €20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s May 11:</b> [Stendhal, Henri Beyle dit]. <i>Le Rouge et le Noir,</i> chronique du XIXe siècle. Paris, Levavasseur, 1831. €20,000 to €30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s May 11:</b> Dumas, Alexandre. <i>Les Trois mousquetaires.</i> 1844. 8 vols. In 4. Paris, Baudry, 1844. €30,000 to €50,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s May 11:</b> Mallarmé, Stéphane -- Edgar Allan Poe. <i>Les Poèmes d’Edgar Poe.</i> Bruxelles, Edmond Deman, 1888. €18,000 to €25,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s May 11:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Le côté de Guermantes II. Sodome et Gomorrhe I. [and] Sodome et Gomorrhe II.</i> Paris, N.R.F., 1921 et 1922. €20,000 to €30,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Westvaco–Inspirations for Printers,</i> 3 volumes, 1938-61. $200 to $300.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Proef van Letteren, <i>Welk gegooten worden in de Nieuwe Haerlemsche Lettergietery,</i> 1768. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Paul Klee, <i>Bauhaus Ausstellung Juli – Sept.,</i> Weimar, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Michel Seuphor & Jozef Peeters, <i>Het Overzicht Nos.</i> 22-23-24, Antwerp, 1922. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> Wolfrum & Co., <i>Modern Graphik, Serie I…,</i> complete portfolio, 1909. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries, May 12:</b> <i>Gravure et Fonderie deC. Derriey: Specimen-Album,</i> Paris, 1862. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> CURRIER and IVES, publishers -- After Frances F. Palmer. The Rocky Mountains. Emigrants Crossing the Plains, 1866. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BIBLE, in English]. <i>The New Testament of Jesus Christ, translated faithfully into English.</i> Rheims, 1582. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BIBLE, in Latin]. <i>Biblia latina.</i> Venice: Franz Renner of Hailbrun [Heilbrunn], 1483. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> SHELLEY, Percy Bysshe (1792-1822). Autograph letter signed ("P. B. S."), to Charles Ollier. Florence, Italy, 15 December 1819. “MY PROMETHEUS IS THE BEST THING I EVER WROTE.” $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> RAMSAY, David (1749-1815). <i>The History of the Revolution of South-Carolina…</i> Trenton: Isaac Collins, 1785. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [BINDINGS]. MUIR, John (1838-1914). <i>The Writings of John Muir.</i> Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1916-1924. 10 vols. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [CHICAGO] -- <i>Park & Guide Map of Chicago.</i> Chicago: Jas. Van Vechten, 1873. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> CURRIER and IVES, publishers -- After Frances F. Palmer. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [ALLEN PRESS]. SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). <i>Romeo and Juliet.</i> Greenbrae: Allen Press, 1988. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <center><b>Hindman Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts,<br>Including Americana<br>Live and Online<br>May 12, 2021</b>
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> BEMELMANS, Ludwig (1898-1962). Pencil drawing on paper. 247 x 198 mm, sight, matted and framed. Showing a child shooting at a baby's balloon. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> [LOGAN ELM PRESS]. HARVEY, Rebecca. <i>Any Number of Things.</i> Ohio State University, 2013. Single sheet paper scroll. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Hindman Auctions, May 12:</b> BINYON, Laurence (1869-1943). A small archive of letters and pamphlets. $200 to $300.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions