Friday, January 25, 2019

A Book That Flew Undetected Under the RADAR

When it comes to book collecting, it helps to know what you're looking for.  Take this listing on Amazon for instance:


Looking at the title, Vistas Iberoamericanas or, Latin American Sights, this book appears to be a travel book about Latin America.  It is.  And if the author's name were provided in the listing, there would have been increased interest in the book.  And a higher price as well.

Let's look a little closer at the listing.


It says the book was signed by the author and his father Eddie....  Eddie....  Eddie who?





 The cover of the book might give you a hint:





Give up?

Here's the title page:




And here is "Eddie's" signature:



This book is definitely a travel book.  It is a book about Eddie Rickenbacker's Goodwill Tour of Latin America in August, 1949, written by his youngest son, William.

In the Spring of 1949, Adhemer de Barros, the Governor of the State of São Paulo, Brazil invited Eddie Rickenbacker, the CEO of Eastern Airlines, to come and observe commercial aviation in Brazil and make recommendations on how to improve the industry.  Rickenbacker decided to expand the trip to include other cities in Latin America as well.  He broached the subject of a Goodwill Tour of Latin America with the State Department, got its go ahead, and introduced himself to the various Consulates and Embassies in New York and Washington.

Among his entourage for the tour, were eleven of the best men in Eastern Airlines, the formost aviation writer in the United States, Wayne Parrish, and the Editor of the Latin-American desk of the United Press, Gale Wallace.  Although the entourage already included an official photographer from Eastern Airlines, Eddie Rickenbacker invited an aviation enthusiast who took a thousand pictures during the tour:  my favorite ukelele player, Arthur Godfrey!  And yes, his ukelele accompanied him on the tour.  That's Godfrey, sans ukelele, third from the top on the right.



Here are some of the Latin American sights:










I have to admit that I knew exactly what I was looking for when I found this book on Amazon.  I even searched for the book by its title, Vistas Iberoamericanas, or, Latin American Sights.  This book was one of the treasures in My First Sentimental Airman Collection, which I sold en bloc in 2006, while waiting for my disability retirement from the Post Office to be approved (heart problems).

My second copy of this book gave even me a surprise!  "Bill" Rickenbacker gave this very copy to Leslie P. Arnold, the copilot of Chicago, one of the two single-engine biplanes that completed the first aerial circumnavigation of the world in 1924!



And so I add this treasure to My Second Sentimental Airman Collection!



Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Rochester Press: Number Seven of the Twelve Blog Posts for Christmas


   M E R R Y   H I SS !


Seven years ago, I began a custom that bookmen in the past have enjoyed doing, among them Luther A. Brewer and A. Edward Newton.  Each Christmas, they published a keepsake and sent it to their friends.  I decided to post my Christmas keepsakes on My Sentimental Library blog and share them with all my bibliophilic friends.  And I already had the resource to supply the material for the keepsakes: twelve essays from Contributions to Biblionotes, the "unofficial" newsletter of the "Bibliomites."  Walter Harris was its editor, which means he was the author of most if not all of the contributions to Biblionotes.



I posted Walter Harris's first six essays to Biblionotes as my first six Christmas blog posts:  Ex-Libris, Chapbooks, Grangerisers, Miniature Books, Peter Motteux, and The Bewicks and Their Bookplates.  This year I am posting one of Walter Harris's essays on obscure private presses:  The Rochester Press.

If you want to know more about Bibliomites, Biblionotes, and Walter Harris before reading this year's Christmas blog post, I recommend that you read my Dec 2013 Biblio Researching blog post:
About Bibliomites, Biblionotes, and Walter "Wally" Harris.


THE ROCHESTER PRESS


My Previous Christmas Blog Posts:
Christmas 2012:  Ex-Libris
Christmas 2013: Chapbooks
Christmas 2014: Grangerisers
Christmas 2015: Miniature Books
Christmas 2016:  Peter Motteux
Christmas 2017:  The Bewicks and Their Bookplates

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A Book With a Rather Dubious but Collectible Record of Ownership


In My Sentimental Library Collection, I have several shelves full of books that were formerly owned by some really, really famous people.  This book is not one of them.


Unlike one of its early owners, I am not interested in the subject matter of this book.  I bought it specifically because of its dubious but collectible record of ownership: Relics of Charles Lamb.




I, for one, do not believe this book was ever a part of Charles Lamb's library.  However, down thru the years, there were and still are bookmen who believe that books containing the printed label, Relics of Charles Lamb, actually came from Lamb's Library. And that has made these books collectible.  Today, I will tell you about the dispersal of Charles Lamb's library, how I first heard about the Relics of Charles Lamb, what I now know about it, and finally, I will tell you just a little bit about the provenance history of this book,  A Correspondence Between Noctua Aurita and Philomela.


When Charles Lamb died in 1834, his estate was placed in trust for his sister Mary.  But his books were bequeathed to his friend and publisher, Edward Moxon; however, they remained with Mary until her death thirteen years later.  During that interval, an unknown number of Lamb's books went out the door under the arms of the friends of Charles and Mary Lamb.  After Mary Lamb's death,  Moxon selected sixty volumes of Lamb's best books and sent them to America with his friend Charles Welford for sale.  Moxon "reportedly" destroyed the remainder of the books in Lamb's library.  Charles and Mary Lamb had cut engravings out of their books and pasted them on the walls, rendering the condition of many of the books deplorable.  I say "reportedly" because in their books, W. Carew Hazlitt  and R. L. Hine dispute the fact that Moxon destroyed the remainder of books in Lamb's library.

Charles Welford, then of the firm of Bartlett & Welford, put Lamb's books on exhibition in his bookstore, located in the Astor House, the first luxury hotel in New York City.   The books were quickly sold after The Literary World published a list of Lamb's books for sale in its Feb. 5, 1848 issue under the title, "A Descriptive Catalogue of the Library of Charles Lamb."   In 1897, the Dibdin Club published 100 copies of the catalogue for its members.  I have Vincent Starrett's copy.





On May 20, 2008, armed with Starrett's copy of the catalogue, I decided to catalogue Charles Lamb's library on Library Thing,  a social cataloguing website where members can catalogue their own libraries as well as the libraries of famous people.  Another LT member, Dave Larkin, had invited me to help him catalogue Samuel Johnson's library on Library Thing in January 2008.  And when we got done with Johnson, I invited him to help me catalogue Lamb's library.


In addition to the Descriptive Catalogue, I also had a set of The Letters of Charles Lamb that the Bibliophile Society in Boston published in 1905. Lamb received numerous books from his friends and fellow authors and thanked them in his letters.  I had already enjoyed reading Lamb's letters, but I would re-read them this time with an added purpose in mind.  Researching further, I discovered that both W. Carew Hazlitt and E. V. Lucas included in their books about Charles Lamb, additional lists of books they believed were in Lamb's library.  Moreover, their books were available for researching on Google Books.  Even better, the Lamb catalogue the Dibdin Club published was on Google Books as well.  And Dave worked from that while I pored over Lamb's letters.

I went one step further. On June 2, 2008, I queried the librarians on the ExLibris-L mailing list and asked them to identify any of Charles Lamb's books in their special collections:


The response from the librarians was overwhelming!  In addition to books containing inscriptions and marginalia in Lamb's hand, there were books from some rather prestigious libraries whose only record of ownership by Lamb was the printed label, Relics of Charles Lamb:  Cambridge University Library; Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University (two books); John Hay Library, Brown University; Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas; Pennsylvania State University Library; Dunedin Public Library (in New Zealand); and several more!  My cataloguing partner, Dave Larkin, then found several Lamb books at the Houghton Library at Harvard, including Johnson's Prayers and Meditations in the Donald and Mary Hyde Collection of Samuel Johnson (and I'm the Mary Hyde Collector)!

The renowned antiquarian bookseller, the late Norman Kane, responded that he remembered selling a 1697 copy of the tragedy Theodosius by Nathaniel Lee that had the Relics of Charles Lamb label. He sold it for $165.  The book was lacking one leaf that Kane reproduced in facsimile.  The book contained a manuscript note by a Richard Charles Jackson: "...This must have pleased the immortal St. Charles immensely."  Kane then mentioned that according to Claude A. Prance's book, Companion to Charles Lamb, Richard Charles Jackson claimed to be the grandson of Lamb's Capt. Francis Jackson.

I soon acquired a copy of Prance's book, and gathered a wealth of informatin about Richard Charles Jackson (1851-1923) and his grandfather, Francis Jackson.  The grandson was an eccentric bachelor who claimed to possess relics of Charles Lamb, Samuel Johnson,  David Garrick, and William Blake.  The sale of his estate in 1923 contained five pieces of furniture allegedly belonging to Lamb and 116 volumes of "the Lamb Collection of Books." Prance revealed that there was a Francis Jackson who was at Christ's Hospital a year after Lamb left.  Prance then refers to R. L. Hine's 1949 book, Charles Lamb & His Hertfordshire, where "it is stated that a Francis Jackson of the Red House, Mare Street, Hackney, bought Lamb's relics at the Moxon Sale in 1858 and some of them came into Hine's possession."

Yes.  I acquired Hine's book as well.  According to Hine,  Moxon sent upwards of sixty volumes of Lamb's books to America for sale and "with the exception of a few retained for his own use, including 'these relics,' he destroyed the remainder." Hine relates how Francis Jackson bought Lamb's books at the Moxon sale presumably shortly after Moxon's death in 1858.  Surprisingly, there appears to be no mention in the book by Hine of the grandson, Richard Charles Jackson.

The Victoria & Albert Museum was kind enough to send me the catalogue page containing the "Lamb" Collection of Books from the Goddard & Smith Auction on July 23-25, 1923 of the estate of Richard Charles Jackson.



The London bookseller, Thomas Thorp, bought the entire Lamb Collection of Books, lots 920 thru 925 for £4.4  The last three lots, 80 books in all, most likely were the books containing the printed label, Relics of Charles Lamb.


In 1939, Columbia University Press published a biography of Edward Moxon by Harold G. Merriam.  I acquired the book and read it hoping to find out if and when a Moxon Sale of Lamb's books ever occurred.  Merriam makes no mention of a Moxon Sale.  Moreover, I've searched bookseller listings and queried booksellers.  And no such auction catalogue of a Moxon sale has appeared to date.

One of the first bookmen to doubt the existance of Lamb's books bought at a Moxon Sale was Edmund Blunden (1896-1974).  I cite Luther A. Brewer in his 1932 book, My Leigh Hunt Library.  Brewer describes the bibliographical data of his copy of Flora Domestica, notes the attached Relics of Charles Lamb ticket of Lamb's books bought at the Moxon Sale, and adds "Mr. Blunden doubts this, saying that Jackson was accustomed to make all sorts of claims that were false."

Another bookman who doubted the existance of Lamb's books bought at a Moxon Sale was Carl R. Woodring (1919-2009). He wrote an extensive seventy-two page report, "Charles Lamb in the Harvard Library," that was published in the Spring and Autumn 1956 issues of the Harvard Library Bulletin.



Woodring meticulously inspected the books containing the Relics of Charles Lamb label Harvard had obtained after the 1923 estate sale for any evidence that they belonged to Charles Lamb.  I love his summation: "Unless it can be assumed that nobody but Lamb ever stained a book with coffee and tobacco, they bear no marks from Lamb's hands." Woodring, however, added a big "If."  He continued, "If any of the volumes with the Francis Jackson bookplate are found definitely to contain notes in Lamb's hand, the case for all of them will of course be greatly strengthened; otherwise, in the absence of further information, it must be doubted whether Lamb owned any of them."

I mentioned the Relics of Charles Lamb bookplate and Woodring's article on Charles Lamb's Profile Page on Library Thing.

John Windle, the antiquarian bookseller from San Francisco, listed a nonce collection of plays "supposedly once owned by Charles Lamb" in item 1144 of his 2009 Catalogue, William Blake:  A Catalogue of Books by and About Blake and his Circle from 1775-2008.  In the listing, Windle mentions Jackson's bookplate and that the examination of the books Harvard obtained after the sale of Jackson's grandson's estate "gives no reason to believe that any of the books with this label had ever belonged to Charles Lamb."

Bonhams in London held an auction of Law Books  belonging to LA Law Library on Mar 5, 2014.  Lot 432 contained several books about trials, including a third editon of The Genuine Trial of Marie Antoinette, which contained the printed label, Relics of Charles Lamb.  Bonhams made no claim of Lamb ownership of the book in the listing.

Bernard Quaritch LTD, in item 35 of its Summer 2017 Catalogue, English Books 1550-1850, listed an 1801 2nd edition of Rowland Hill's Village Dialogues... for £425 that was "possibly Charles Lamb's copy." And the book contained Richard Jackson's Relics of Charles Lamb bookplate.  The cataloguer concluded the listing with a ten-line explanation of the disposition of Lamb's library, a sales pitch that is well worth reading:
On Lamb's death, his books were inherited by the publisher Edward Moxon, who left them in situ with Lamb's sister, Mary (who Charles had lived with and cared for ever since she stabbed their mother to death in a bout of insanity).  When Mary herself died in 1847, Moxon sent sixty of the best books to America for sale, reportedly destroying the rest.  However, sometime after Moxon's death, a number of Lamb's books were apparantly purchased at 'Edward Moxon's sale' by one Francis Jackson, 'Citizen, Merchant and Ship Owner of London,' who inserted bookplates describing them as 'Relics of Charles Lamb.'  Some 116 such books later passed to his eccentric grandson Richard Charles Jackson.  At least one we have traced, Owen's Book of Fairs (1778) (Christie's, The Halsted B. Vander Poel Collection of English Literature, 3 March 2004, lot 107) seems to contain annotations in Lamb's hand.

Christie's indeed advertised Owen's Book of Fairs, lot 107 of the auction, as having annotations in Lamb's hand.  And it too contained Richard Jackson's Relics of Charles Lamb bookplate.  The words Lamb reportedly wrote to correct an entry were "April 20 for Horses and Cheese." The Christie's cataloguer concluded the listing with this sentence:  "Although upwards of 60 books from Lamb's library were purchased en bloc by Bartlett and Welford of New York early in 1848, the 'Relics of Charles Lamb' bookplate in this volume demonstrates that Moxon held a sale of books, which were not simply 'destroyed' as Lucas states (the Life of Charles Lamb, II, p.304)."

I do wonder if there was a question about the authenticity of Lamb's annotations after the auction was over.  Although the Invaluable website lists lot 107 of this Christie's auction as "sold," lot 107 is not listed as "sold" on the Results List of Past Auctions on the Christie's website.  The reason I ask myself this is because  "Lamb's copy" of Owen's Book of Fairs appears at auction in Boston thirty-two months later, on November 19, 2006.   "Lamb's copy" of Owen's Book of Fairs appears as part of lot 272, along with two copies belonging to Robert Southey, in Skinner Auction No. 2341 Books and Manuscripts.  The provenance of Owen's Book of Fairs is listed simply as "Lamb, Charles (1775-1834), his copy."  There is no mention of annotations in Lamb's hand.  The estimate for this lot was $600-800.  The lot sold for $499.

Cambridge Rare Books, the bookseller who recently sold me a copy of A Correspondence Between Noctua Aurita and Philomela that included the printed label, Relics of Charles Lamb, made no  claims or mention of provenance:



Disregard the "W R" for now, but upon receiving this book, and analyzing this handwriting, I had one of them "holy ___! What if..."  moments and sent this photo to several of my friends asking if they thought it was written in Charles Lamb's hand:


Counting the capitals, there are 52 letters to examine and compare between Lamb's writing and the writing shown in this photo.  And the first 25 letters or so that I checked looked awfully similar to the way Lamb wrote them. But as Mike Slicker, Proprietor of Lightouse Books in St. Petersburg, pointed out to me, as far as penmanship is concerned, we were all taught how to write the same way from the same penmanship books.  And that's why the handwriting from a given period looks similar.  My friend Asta Beckett was able to find a noticeably different version of Lamb's word before that convinced me I has hoping for glory that just wasn't there. :-(

There is, however, more provenance history to research concerning the former owners of this book.




W. R.,  the one who incribed the verso on the front free endpaper, was one of the earliest owners.  Richard Charles Jackson acquired the book, possibly from his grandfather Francis Jackson.  The London bookseller Thomas Thorp acquired the book in 1923.  The London bookseller Townley Serle acquired the book and listed it in his 1930 catalogue:


Agnes Arber, the Britsh botanist, bought the book from Serle and gave it to her geologist daughter, Muriel Agnes Arber for Christmas in 1931.


At first I thought that Agnes Arber gave her daughter the book because Muriel was a fan of Charles Lamb.  But that might not have been the case.  Agnes Arber's maiden name was Robertson.  And she had a grandfather who was a botanist.  Moreover, there was a botanist named W. Robertson in England in the early 1800s.  Is it possible that Muriel Roberston Arber somehow learned that this book once belonged to her grandfather and wanted her daughter to have it?  The idea is a stretch.  But I'll believe that before I will believe that books containing the printed label, Relics of Charles Lamb, were from Charles Lamb's library!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

An Historical Account of Thomas Williams and his Copy of Livy's Historiarum





It was an old leather book that I recently acquired from a local Friends of the Library bookstore.  It contained the first five books of the History of Rome by Titus Livius (Livy) (59 B.C.-17 A.D.)  The entire text, however, was in Latin, a language that is Greek to me.  But I would want the book anyway.

 The book, published in Utica in 1821, was the third edition of Livy's Historiarum  that William Williams, the largest publisher west of Albany at the time, published.  His name rang a bell.  I remembered reading a paper about him by the bibliophile and author  Madeleine Stern.  But that wasn't the reason why I wanted the book.

The book itself was formerly owned by a Thomas Williams, who wrote his name on the title page.

I googled "Thomas Williams" and I got "about 1,580,000 hits.  There were many people by that name, including a novelist, a theologian, and even a Thomas Williams who came to America on the Mayflower.  But the Thomas Williams I was looking for acquired a copy of Livy's Historiarum while attending Dickinson College in September 1822––at least, that's what he wrote on the front pastedown of the book.



Now this Thomas Williams who went to Dickinson College was the reason why I wanted the book.
Further research revealed that he made a name for himself as a politician and as an orator before, during and after the Civil War.  Here's a portion of one of his speeches.  It was recorded during a parliamentary skirmish between the majority and the minority of the Judicial Committee of the House of Representatives on July 20, 1867:
When I find a President of these United States asserting kingly powers, claiming the force of statutes for his proclamations, living in habitual contempt and violation of your laws, suspending their powers or trampling them under foot, bartering away untold millions of your property for rebel use, claiming to rule without a Congress, insulting the legislative power and defying its authority, and ruling this nation as if he were its master, so help me God, I will uncrown him if I can.
To learn more about him, I acquired a copy of The Life and Speeches of Thomas Williams:  Orator, Statesman and Jurist, 1806-1872, A Founder of the Whig and Republican Parties by Burton Alva Konkle, Philadelphia: Campion and Company 1905.





And yes, the portion of his speech above was from Konkle's biography, volume II, page 651 to be exact.  Williams was giving his reasons why he believed that President Andrew Johnson should be impeached.  Williams himself became one of the ten "prosecutors" in the President's impeachment trial.

For me, reading Konkle's historical account of the life of Thomas Williams was a lesson in American history.  Konkle used the speeches of Williams and copies of government documents to cover the rise and demise of the Whig Party, the formation of the Republican Party, the Civil War, the Reconstruction Period thereafter, and then the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.

I knew that the Senate was one vote shy of impeaching the President, but I never really knew why Congress tried to impeach him.  Konkle, however, laid it all out for me, using almost 100 of the 757 pages to enlighten me.   It all had to do with Reconstruction versus Restoration.

Thomas Williams and other Republicans believed that the rebel states had to jump through several hoops and hurdles and then some before being readmitted to the Union.  Congress passed the Military Reconstruction Act on March 2, 1867.  This act divided the rebel states into five military territories under the administration of the Secretary of War, Edward M. Stanton.

President Andrew Johnson, on the other hand, believed that the rebel states should be immediately readmitted to the Union.  He believed the Military Reconstruction Act to be unconstitutional and vetoed it.  But Congress overrode his veto.

Thomas Williams and President Andrew Johnson were playing a chess game, so to speak.  But Williams thought several moves ahead.  Williams surmised that the President would fire Secretary of War Stanton and replace him with someone more favorable to his state restoration viewpoint.  So Williams introduced the Tenure of Office Act in March 1867.  This act required the Senate's consent before the President could dismiss a Presidential Cabinet member.  The President, of course, vetoed it, but Congress overrode his veto.  The President then tried to fire Stanton and replace him.  So Congress tried to impeach him.  The rest is history.  And well worth reading.

Konkle actually mentions the Thomas Wiilliams copy of Livy's book in a footnote in his book, as well as what Williams wrote on the front pastedown:


The name of Thomas Williams appears one more time in his copy of Livy's Historiarum, along with two other names.  It was not written in his hand, but in the hand of one of his sons. And in pencil at that!



The writing is barely visible.  But here is what it says:

Thomas Williams
Dickinson College
Carlisle, Penn.
1822

Thomas Williams Jr.
Pittsburgh
Western University
1848

A. R. Williams
Miami University
Oxford
1853



Livy's book was used as a rite of passage when someone in the Williams family first entered college.  Thomas Williams entered college at Dickinson College and acquired this copy of Livy's book in September 1822.  Thomas Williams Jr. entered college at Western University in 1848 and his father gave him this copy of Livy's book.  Thomas Williams Jr. was a student himself at Miami University when he passed Livy's book onto his brother Alexander R. Williams (when Western University burned down for the second time in four years in 1849, Thomas Williams Jr. transferred to Miami University).

All three owners of Livy's book made notations in the book.   The notation of Thomas Williams on the second page of the epitome (page 4) is barely visible and practically indecipherable.




I can make out the two  "Oh!"s, but that's all for sure.  It almost looks like it reads, "Oh tom Jones! Oh More!" (See Addendum)

  The notations of Thomas Williams Jr. are easier to decipher.   He identified every fifth line of the first fifty-one pages of the book.



The notations of Alexander R. Williams, although easy to read, required the assistance of a Google search to decipher.  Alexander was a merchant in Washington D. C.  And what we wrote on the rear pastedown of the book were the names of merchant ships.  Go figger!





  In his book, Konkle refers to a "Williams Collection."  Because Konkle's book was published in 1905 and, because Konkle mentions the Livy book by name, the book must have made it back home to the "Williams Collection."  There are no university library markings in the book so I believe that Livy's book remained in the family library until the books of the Williams Collection were eventually dispersed by one of his descendants.

Shortly after Thomas Williams passed away on June 6, 1872 in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, The Dispatch wrote that "few men leave such extensive or judiciously selected libraries as that which is numbered among the deceased.  He delighted in books of travel, but abhorred novels, or fiction in any form."

Konkle added a footnote to that statement and wrote:
Mr. Williams' love for history is indicated in some degrees by the fact that his library contained about 400 volumes on that subject alone.  It is also suggestive to know that there were over 200 volumes on voyages and travels, nearly the same on religion and theology, while it might readily be surmised that he would have above 100 on poetry and the drama and a like number on rhetoric and belles lettres, or nearly that many on ethics and politics, which he classes together.  The possession of about 200 volumes of the best fiction, wit and humor would not indicate that he 'abhorred' fiction in any form hardly.  The number of volumes do not, however, make the impression on one that their high character do, of course, and the really significant fact about it all is that he made great books his companions.
Addendum:  Nicholas Smith deciphered Thomas Williams' notation.  It's from Cicero: O tempora! O mores! (Oh, the times, Oh the customs).





























Saturday, September 22, 2018

Learning About The Crockett Almanacks, Sabre-Tooth Revisited, and Bill Cole


Question:
What do Bill Cole, "Sabre-Tooth Revisited," and The Crockett Almanacks all have in common?

Answer:
The Caxton Club.

Bill Cole (1917-2011) was a member of the Caxton Club, a bibliophilic society in Chicago.

"Sabre-Tooth Revisited" was the title of the discourse that Bill Cole delivered before the Caxton Club on Feb. 10, 1965.

The Crockett Almanacks was the title of the book that the Caxton Club presented to Bill Cole in appreciation for his talk, "Sabre-Tooth Revisited."

I have Bill Cole's copy of the book!






I acquired the book on eBay this past July.   I had two reasons for wanting this book.  One was Davy Crockett.  As a kid, I watched Walt Disney's miniseries of Davy Crockett in 1954 and 1955.  And over 60 years later,  I can still recite the words to the song:  "Da-vy, Davy Crockett! King of the Wild Frontier...."

There are several things I should tell you right off about the Crockett Almanacks:  According to Crockett scholars, Davy Crockett (1786-1836) had nothing whatsoever to do with the Almanacks.  And to this day, scholars still do not know the identities of the authors, printers, or publishers of the early issues of the Almanack. There was one S. N. Dickinson who, in 1840, claimed  that his firm started the Crockett Almanacks.  But scholars have never been able to substantiate his claim.  The first four issues were printed in Nashville, and are included in full in Franklin J. Meine's book, The Crockett Almanacks, which was published by the Caxton Club in Chicago in 1955.

Meine himself calls the Crockett Almanacks "damn rare." Only three or four complete sets of the Nashville imprints were known to exist when his book was published.  The first four Nashville imprints, however, were included in a collection of 21 Crockett Almanacks that were sold at auction by Dorothy Sloan Books on October 26, 2007.  The price realized was $58,750.

The story of the finding of these Crockett Almanacks sounds like something out of Rebecca Rego Barry's Rare Books Uncovered.  It seems they were having a paper drive in Spencer, Iowa in 1947 to raise money to pay for uniforms for the high school band.  And a collector and his daughter found the Almanacks on the curb in front of a house.  The daughter kept the Almanacks until the auction in 2007.

The other reason why I wanted the book was because all the Caxton Club members who attended the meeting and listened to Bill Cole's presentation signed the inscription sheets.  And I am one of the bibliophiles who readily recognizes some of the names!




A former owner of the book, possibly a Caxton Club member himself, identified some of the 59 signers:


I can identify another one of the signers:  the bookbinder Harold W. Tribolet.  I have three books in My Sentimental Library Collection from his library.

I liked the idea of the Caxton Club members signing the book.  And now another bibliophile society is doing the same thing!  As President of the Florida Bibliophile Society, I presented books to the speakers at our meetings.  And I inscribed and signed them "on behalf of the Florida Bibliophile Society." No more!  For our September 16th meeting, we had not one, but two books to present.  And our Vice President, Charles Brown, created perfect inscription sheets ready for signing by our members!



As for the choice of the first book, Gary Simons is a Samuel Johnson collector, and I knew he'd enjoy reading it.

As for the choice of the second book, Lee Harrer's friend, the late Bob Fleck, published the book and even wrote the Introduction.  So I knew the book would have a sentimental value to Lee.  And yes, I checked with Oak Knoll to make sure that Lee didn't already have the book.
             
                                                  –––––––––––––––––––––––––––




When it comes to books, I am one for turning over every leaf––or at least as many leaves as a can.  And after reading the inscription on the Crockett book that the Caxton Club gave to Bill Cole, I wanted to learn more about him and the nature of his discourse, "Sabre-Tooth Revisited."  I soon learned that there were a lot of Bill Coles.  But only one of them, William G. Cole, was the author of "Sabre-Tooth Revisited."  And this article was printed in a 1965 issue of Liberal Education:  The Bulletin of the Association of American Colleges.  

Researching further, I found William G. Cole's Obituary online in The Chicago Tribune.

I was now more curious than ever about "Sabre-Tooth Revisited."  I wanted to read it!  I attempted to find a copy of the Liberal Education issue that contained Cole's article.  I found it!  ABAA bookseller Willis Monie-Books in Cooperstown, New York had several copies of Liberal Education, including Volume LI, containing all the issues published in 1965.  And "Sabre-Tooth Revisited" was published in the October 1965 issue.

Bill Cole's article, "The Sabre-Tooth Revisited," is an article about education that is well worth reading.  And I can now share it with you, and in an educational setting no less, thanks to the Association of American Colleges and Universities.  I received permission from its Director of Publication and Editorial Services to post a hyperlink to a PDF of "The Sabre-Tooth Revisited" in my post.  Enjoy!


The Sabre-Tooth Revisited
by William G. Cole
Click on the hyperlink above, The Sabre-Tooth Revisited, and click on + ZOOM 125% to enlarge


Cole, William G.  "The Sabre-Tooth Revisited." Liberal Education. October 1965: 427-34.