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Description

First Edition in English of Jefferson's Classic

Thomas Jefferson. Notes on the State of Virginia. Illustrated with a Map, including the States of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania. London: Printed for John Stockdale, 1787. First edition in English. Octavo. [vi], [1]-382 pages. With a large folding map, hand-colored in outline, bound just before the text, titled, "A Map of the country between Albemarle Sound, and Lake Erie, comprehending the whole of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania, with parts of several other of the United States of America." Contemporary full leather with gilt titles on a red morocco spine label (partially perished). Significant wear and abrading to boards. Corners exposed. Spine is approximately three-fifths perished. Front board re-attached along hinge. Very minor foxing, but mostly a wonderfully clean text. A few leaves with creased corners. Two-and-a-half-inch closed tear to the map, affecting the "T" in "ATLANTIC OCEAN." Light foxing to map, and some fold-line tape repairs to the verso. Overall, a wonderful, clean copy of Jefferson's classic work in very good condition.

John Stockdale, Jefferson's longtime bookseller, wrote to the author on November 20, 1786 to inquire about publishing the Notes in English: "Some time past two French Gentlemen call'd upon me, with a Copy of your Minutes of Virginia, with a View to have it Printed, but I inform'd them that I had some reason to believe that a New Edition was coming out with corrections by the Author, and ... a large Map was [being engraved] for the Work. I have some doubts wether it would pay the expences, at same time have a Wish to Publish it, with your Name, as I am convinced it is a Work of great Merit" (Thomas Jefferson Papers 10:545).

On February 1, 1787, Jefferson wrote Stockdale: "You have two or three times proposed to me the printing my Notes on Virginia. I never did intend to have them made public ... [b]ut as a translation of them is coming out, I have concluded to let the original appear also. I have therefore corrected a copy, and made some additions. I have moreover had a map engraved, which is worth more than the book. If you chuse to print the work I will send you the corrected copy, and when it shall be nearly printed I will send the plate of the map" (Thomas Jefferson Papers, 11:107).

Howes J78. Sabin 35896.

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Auction Dates
September, 2011
12th-14th
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