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A History of New-York,
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[IRVING, Washington.] Diedrich Knickerbocker.

A History of New-York,

from the beginning of the world to the end of the Dutch dynasty; containing, among many surprising and curious matters, the unutterable ponderings of Walter the Doubter, the disastrous projects of William the testy, and the chivalric achievements of Peter the Headstrong - the three Dutch governors of New Amsterdam; being the only authentic history of the times that ever hath been or ever will be published. A new edition, containing unpublished corrections of the author, with illustrations by Geo. H. Boughton, Will H. Drake, and Howard Pyle, and etchings by Henry C. Eno and F. Raubicheck.

Published: New York: for the Grolier Club, 1886

Stock code: 107086

Price: £2,250

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

First and only Grolier edition, limited to 175 copies printed on Holland paper (with a further two on vellum): a conscious attempt by the Grolier Club “to make a book with illustrations and typography worthy of the subject-matter. Many of the head-bands are from Dutch models; the paper is Dutch; the types, new to this country, are fac-similes of those used by Elzevir, at Leyden, in 1659” (preface). The text itself differs substantially from the first edition, published in 1809, as it is based instead on the manuscript of Irving’s “entirely revised” version dating from 1848. Washington Irving’s first book was a sly satire on self-important local history and also a Federalist critique of Jeffersonian democracy, narrated by the imaginary “Dietrich Knickerbocker”, supposedly an eccentric Dutch-American scholar. The pen-name (literally meaning “toy marble-maker”) was borrowed from Irving’s friend Herman Knickerbocker, and the word subsequently entered into American usage and the English language. DAB estimates that this “sprawling burlesque … may be reasonably called the first great book of comic literature written by an American.”

2 volumes, octavo. Full dark green crushed morocco by the Club Bindery (signed 1901), raised bands milled gilt to spine forming compartments, titles to second, third and foot gilt, remaining compartments with elaborate floral corner- and centrepieces gilt, French fillet to covers within foliate roll-tool border and enclosing dotted roll and elaborate arabesque cornerpieces gilt, all edges gilt, red and yellow endbands, broad turn-ins richly gilt, marbled endpapers. Housed within matching green straight-grain morocco-effect roan slipcases. Etched frontispiece in 3 states to each volume, 5 plates of which 1 folding, wood-engraved head- and tailpieces in brown and figurative initials in black, several historiated. Pencilled annotation to vol. I, p. 312. A fine copy.

Bibliography: BAL 10098; Howes I-85.

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