Description

    Includes an Early Appearance in Print of The Stamp Act of 1765

    [Benjamin Franklin]. Richard Saunders [pseudonym]. Poor Richard improved: Being an Almanack and Ephemeris of the Motions of the Sun and Moon; the True Places and Aspects of the Planets; the Rising and Setting of the Sun; and the Rising, Setting and Southing of the Moon, for the Year of Our Lord...1764-1768. Philadelphia: Printed and Sold by B. Franklin, and D. Hall, [1763-1765] and Philadelphia: Printed and Sold by D. Hall, and W. Sellers, [1766-1767].

    Sixteenmo. Bound as such: 1764: [4] pages; 1768: [46] pages (no initial pages); 1765: [32] pages (missing [33-36]); 1766 [36] pages (complete); 1767 [30] pages (missing [27-32]). Textual woodcut illustrations throughout, including small woodcuts illustrating the different signs of the zodiac accompanying each month of the almanac. The illustration, "The Anatomy of Man's Body, as govern'd by the Twelve Constellations," appears on page [5] of the 1765-1767 editions.

    Beautiful Vauthrin binding commissioned by a previous owner while in Paris in 1905. The binding is modern dark green morocco with gilt spine titles inside five raised bands and double-ruled gilt inner dentelles. All edges gilt. Marbled endpapers. Spine faded to brown. Minimal edge wear. Many paper repairs to pages throughout. Brown dampstain to bottom half of most leaves. Age-toning to the textblock. Scattered contemporary marginalia. Same previous owner's (probably the original owner's) signature on each title page except for 1765.

    Close inspection yields a binding error as follows: the first two leaves are from the 1764 edition (the only leaves which appear here from that edition). The next 23 leaves correspond to the 1768 edition (and perhaps some pages from other years, but it is difficult to ascertain) which has been misbound behind the two leaves of the 1764 edition (1768 initial page(s) not present). Afterwards continue the 1765, 1766, and 1767 editions, the 1766 edition being present in full. All in all, a good compendium of Franklin's almanac in a wonderful binding.

    Separate autograph notes signed appear on two different front flyleaves from previous owner Mary Van B. Harding, one dated 1921 and one 1922. Harding was an early 20th-century children's book author who in the 1921 note seems to imply that she is a distant relative of Benjamin Franklin.

    The 1764-1766 editions constitute the last three Poor Richard's Almanacks that involved Benjamin Franklin directly, as he became more and more embroiled in colonial affairs and, eventually, in the American Revolution. Also, included in the 1766 edition, the last that Franklin personally oversaw, is some commentary about and the full text of The Stamp Act of 1765.

    C. William Miller, Benjamin Franklin's Philadelphia Printing, pp. 425, 440, 450.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    16th-17th Tuesday-Wednesday
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