Cyrus Griffin's Copy of Two Very Rare Early American Imprints

    [Continental Congress President Cyrus Griffin]. The Proceedings of the Convention of Delegates, Held at the Capitol, In the City of Williamsburg, In the Colony of Virginia, on Monday the 6th of May, 1776. Williamsburg: Printed by Alexander Purdie, Printer to the Commonwealth, [1776]. [Bound with:] Ordinances Passed at a General Convention of Delegates and Representatives, From the Several Counties and Corporations of Virginia, Held at the Capitol, In the City of Williamsburg, on Monday the 6th of May, Anno Dom: 1776. Williamsburg: Printed by Alexander Purdie, Printer to the Commonwealth, [1776]. First editions. Two quarto volumes bound as one (8.125 x 6.375 inches; 206 x 162 mm). Title-page with the contemporary signature of Cyrus Griffin, last President of the Continental Congress; front free endpaper with the late 19th-century ownership inscription of U.S. Navy Captain J.H.B. Smith, of Long Island, New York, and the later ownership inscription of Sarah H. Miller (i.e., "Mrs. J.H.B. Smith") in pencil. Contemporary full reverse calf, double-fillet borders rolled in blind, decorative border rolled in blind on the inside of the borders closest to the spine, five raised bands, 19th-century manuscript spine title in second and third compartments. J.H.B. Smith's small, manuscript ownership inscription to top outer corner of front board; rear board with a few minor pen trials and tracing along three elements of the decorative border. Occasional light foxing, as is usually the case. Corners bumped just slightly. Shelf wear to board edges, exposing the pasteboard in a few places. Joints starting at head and foot of spine so that the gatherings are exposed just slightly, but boards still holding tight. Overall a very good copy.

    Cyrus Griffin's copy of these foundational documents of Virginia and American history, with his signature on the title page. Griffin (1749-1810) was a Lancaster-based lawyer and member of the Virginia House of Delegates when he became a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1778 to 1781. He served as an appeals court judge from 1781 until 1787, when Griffin served once more as a delegate and then last President of the Congress, from January to November, 1788. Griffin resigned his position following the ratification of the U.S. Constitution; in November 1789 President George Washington appointed him to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Virginia, a position he held until his death. Both titles are very rare, having come up just once at auction in the past ten years, and in not nearly as good condition as the present copy. Evans 15198, 15199. Sabin 100028, 100026.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2014
    2nd Wednesday
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