Saturday 12 December 2015

Harvard Library Company, 1793

I have an octavo volume of Eliza Haywood's The Female Spectator which, acording to a printed label in it (above), was once "The Property of Harvard Library Company, constituted January 1793." The label has a section for a price; the annotation in this area has been erased, but other annotations (below) suggest that the book was disposed of by the Harvard Library Company by 1845, since the new owner ("W.D."?) has added "Bought at Auction Feb. 17/45" and "No.58" to the fixed endpaper.

I have been unable to find a trace of the Harvard Library Company, constituted (by coincidence?) in the same month as the execution of Louis XVI, by guillotine, at the Place de la Révolution. Which is a shame, it would be nice to know more about a library founded, it seems, in imitation of The Library Company of Philadelphia sixty years earlier. If you have any information on this Library Company of Harvard, I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday 10 December 2015

Portraits of James Annesley

As Wikipedia says, James Annesley (1715–60) "was an Irishman with a claim to the title Earl of Anglesey, one of the wealthiest estates in Ireland. The dispute between Annesley and his uncle Richard Annesley was infamous in its time, but his story is perhaps best known today as a possible inspiration for the 19th century novel Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson, among other works of literature"—later mentioning "Eliza Haywood's novel Memoirs of an Unfortunate Young Nobleman (1743) … [which] narrates a wildly inaccurate imagining of James' life in the American Colonies." I'd dispute the "wildly inaccurate" but two contributors to this Wikipedia entry are engaged in a war and I have no desire to get involved!

Anyway, I know of three engravings of James Annesley, all appear to be based on one (above), published in March 1744, attributed to George Bickham the Younger (1706–71; fl.1736–58), after an original by Kings—possibly Giles King (fl.1732–46). Two of the three appear on eighteenth-century editions of The trial … between Campbell Craig, Lessee, of James Annesley, plaintif, and the Right Honourable Richard Earl of Anglesey, Defendant which I have. There were many, competing, editions of this trial, the two illustrated editions (below) being that printed "for R. Walker" (ESTC: n13750; online here) and "for Jacob Robinson" (ESTC: t195578).

As you can see below, by comparing each of the reprints with the original, the Walker plate is reversed. The ship, on the left of the original, is now on the right (below); and Annesley, who is facing left is now facing right. I flipped and paired the portraits below to show the background in the same position in both plates, reversing details on Annesley.

Although major features are flipped, minor ones are not, so that, when reversed like this, they do not match: note, in particular, that his buttons and button-holes are now on the reverse side. This is because, if the copiest had copied these features along with the others, in reverse, they would appear be on the wrong side according to prevailing fashions: men's buttons always being on their right, or the viewer's left!

With the Robinson plate (below), the background has simply been erased, so no reversal of major and minor features is necessary. Note how the features of the original ornate frame are retained, and the crown, though the frame is at odds with such an austere background.

Saturday 7 November 2015

More Eighteenth-Century Dildos

On 15 April this year The Mirror reported that the dildo (above and below) had been discovered by archaeologists excavating an eighteenth-century toilet in Gdansk, Poland (see here).

Someone from the Regional Office for the Protection of Monuments, noted that cleaning revealed (as can be seen below) the dildo to be well-preserved and “in excellent condition” (see here): it is eight-inches long, with a pair of balls. It is covered in high-quality leather, filled with bristles, and has a carved wooden tip. Such an object—described by Herodas in the 3rd century BCE—would have been “certainly expensive.”

The History blog picked up the story (here), adding a few details: that the latrine is in the Podwalu suburb of Gdansk, and the dildo dates from the second half of the 18th century. The latrine is believed to have once belonged to a school of swordsmanship, since old swords were previously discovered at the site.

Marcin Tymiński, suggested—according to the History Blog— that the dildo was “probably dropped in the toilet, either deliberately or in a tragic slippery-fingers accident”; elsewhere this is stated more politely: “According to the archaeologists, it was mistakenly dropped in the toilet by the person who was using it.”

Oddly, it seems to have occurred to only one reporter (here) that, since fencing schools were occupied almost exclusively by males, there is a reasonably good chance that “the person who was using it” was a male. (Such luxury items almost certainly being beyond the reach of female staff or servants.)

For my April 2010 post on Eighteenth-Century Dildos, see here.

Friday 6 November 2015

Connubial Happiness and Boston editions of The Wife

I have previously posted on the subject of the nineteenth-century, Bowdlerised Boston edition of Ab.70.5 The Wife (1756), one of the last works by Eliza Haywood to be published before the modern revival of interest in her as an author (see here). I know of three issues of the Boston edition by Andrew Newell (now, only two are in my Bibliography).

Yesterday, I discovered an 1836 reprint of this Bowdlerised Newell edition, also published in Boston, this time by James Loring (1770–1850). The title has been changed to The Young Bride at Home: Or, A Help to Connubial Happiness: with a Comparative View of the Sexes.

Two copies of the book are available online (here and here), attributed to Hannah More (1745–1833), since her name is attached to the Comparative View of the Sexes which occupies the final nine pages of the text.

As far as I can tell, nobody has previously recognised The Young Bride at Home as a reprint of Haywood's The Wife or Newell's Bowdlerised reprint of the same. But the discovery that The Young Bride is a reprint of Newell's Bowdlerised edition will now make it possible for Haywood scholars to compare the two texts, who did not have access to one of the five copies the Boston edition (all in US libraries), or to the 1983 History of Women microfilm collection which contains it.

Because The Young Bride is a nineteenth-century reprint of Ab.70 The Wife, the OCR rendering of it is almost perfect, unlike the two eighteenth-century editions on Google Books—a “plain text” view of either of which offers no text at all, just page images, though the text appears when you do a general Google-search.

* * * * *

Below is an example of what I mean, taken from [1] Ab.70.1 (the 1756, 1st, ed. here), [2] Ab.70.4 (the 1773, 3rd ed. here), the [3] British Library here and [4] Harvard University copies here of The Young Bride

[1] ' 5 Sir, It is a fancy which all good subc' jects and true protestants must approve 5 e and I think you have no pretence to -* find fault with my fancy; .-- you, who ' yesterday thought yourself very fine, I 5 suppose, in the livery of a highland S ragamuffin, a silly flOWer with scarce Fany smell or "taste, and a bundle of a stinking leaves for a cockade!

[2] Sir, 'it-is a fancy which all. good subzfijects and true protestants must approve; '* and l-think you have no pretence' to 'Ofind faultwith my fancy ;-you, who '*- yestirirdasthought yoursels veryfine, I * suppose, in the livery of a highland ' ragamuffin, a sllly- flower with scarce Aianysssrncillrz or taste, and a bundle of it stinking leaves' for a cockade i'

[3] ‘Sir, it is a fancy which all good subjects and true protestants must approve; and I think you have no pretence to find fault with my fancy; you, who yesterday thought yourself very fine, I suppose, in the livery of a Highland ragamuffin, a silly flower with scarce any smell or taste, and a bundle of stinking leaves for a cockade l’

[4] 'Sir, it is a fancy which all good subjects and true protestants must approve; and I think you have no pretence to find fault with my fancy; you, who yesterday thought yourself very fine, I suppose, in the livery of a Highland ragamuffin, a silly flower with scarce any smell or taste, and a bundle of stinking leaves for a cockade!'

There are 333 characters (including spaces) in this passage: there are no errors in the Harvard University copy, one in the British Library copy [=3 errors per thousand characters], but eight in Ab.70.1 [24 per thousand] and forty-three in Ab.70.4 [129 per thousand]—the main errors being adding random characters and running together text.

* * * * *

The above example from The Young Bride indicates how much of the text remains unchanged. I compared the whole of this section (SECT. III. Difference of opinion in affairs of Government), to the same section from the text, as edited for the Pickering and Chatto edition. While the word-count varies somewhat, depending on hyphenation and so forth, there are approximately seventeen hundred and thirty words in this section: the Boston edition adds ten words, and cuts forty-five, reducing the length by roughly two percent.

The change in length is minor, and many of the changes are inconsequential: “talk on those affairs” becomes “converse on these subjects”; “endued with” becomes “possessed of”; “without all question” becomes “without doubt”; “these sheets” and “close this section” becomes “these pages” and “conclude these remarks.”

The consequential changes are the ones which indicate modernising: by de-emphasising the immediacy of events (“About the middle of last May” becomes “Not long since”), the politics (“flagrant marks of Jacobitism” and “harmless Jacobites” becomes “political marks” and “harmless politicians”)—“King GEORGE, and the Hanover succession” is retained as a rallying cry since a succession of Hanoverian Georges occupied the throne from 1715 to 1830!—and toning down the sex (“the man, in whose arms she lies” becomes “the man, who is the object of her affections” and “feasting and visiting took up their days, and love engross'd their nights” is shorn of its love-engrossed nights all together. So much for “Connubial Happiness”!).

* * * * *

That Haywood's work continued to find an audience in 1836 (eighty years after her death) suggests the continuing appeal of her writing, independant of any appeal she may or may not have had as a writer. This 1836 edition is now the latest of any Haywood work before the modern revival of interest in her, and the latest in the main section of my Bibliography, post-dating Ab.36.7 The Fruitless Enquiry (1819). The code for The Young Bride at Home is / will be Ab.70.6.

Sunday 1 November 2015

Limitless opportunities for collecting Haywood?

Two years ago last month, Vic Zoschak from Tavistock Books penned a blog entry “Eliza Haywood, Overlooked Authorial Pioneer”—which has been reposted by ILAB (International League of Antiquarian Booksellers) in the “Collecting Tips” section of their “Reading Room,” under the title “Collecting Rare Books and First Editions—Eliza Haywood, Overlooked Authorial Pioneer” (see here and here).

Zoschak’s article advises that “collectors can build an expansive and diverting personal library around [Haywood’s] many works”; and concludes: “Haywood offers limitless opportunities to build a rich collection. A truly prolific author, Haywood could keep the dedicated completist busy for a lifetime! And her fascinating relationships with other authors offer numerous directions to extend a collection.”

As (possibly) the only active collector—and (certainly) one of the few collectors ever—of Eliza Haywood, I find this promotion of Haywood collecting rather astonishing. Zoschak is both endearingly naïve and amusingly cynical: naïve for reasons I’ll explain shortly, cynical, because Tavistock Books has an Eliza Haywood item that has been priced by simply doubling the market price, then doubling it again, then spruiked by writing an essay on the joy of collecting the works of etc. etc.

The item concerned, is not a first edition but, as a uncommon reprint, has some interest to the collector and therefore some value. Firsts of the work concerned (the Memoirs of Utopia) are worth approximately USD1000–1500, so a Dublin edition might be worth USD500–750; but the Tavistock price is ca. USD2000. It was listed in January 2013 and, despite the call-to-collect published in October of the same year, remains unsold. It joins the set of The Invisible Spy being sold by David Brass Rare Books, which has been online at USD6500 for the last five years.

The failure of dealers such as Brass and Tavistock to sell Haywood items at these speculative prices suggests that the market for Haywood items remains small, and limited to only a few of her works. My prediction is that demand will not significantly increase in under a decade, possibly two, but that speculative pricing will make ABE and ILAB a graveyard for unimportant and wildly over-priced books unless such dealers decide they actually want to actually sell books.

(I discussed “Collecting Eighteenth Century Literature,” the second-hand market for Haywood and rise of speculative pricing in this 2011 post.)

Which brings us back to “endearingly naïve”: I take it that building “an expansive” and “rich collection” of “Rare Books and First Editions” by Haywood, suggests building a collection containing a significant percentage of her seventy-odd works, including at least some of her best-known works. Speaking as someone who has been attempting to do this over the last twenty years, my advice is: forget it. It can’t be done. It is a fool's errand.

The most successful Haywood collector of all time and, without-doubt the richest, was Sandy Lerner, who collected nineteen Haywood items between 1990 and 2004 as a part of a larger project at Chawton House to promote research into the writings of English women before 1830. (Chawton House have subsequently added four.) It is certainly a useful collection in its context (as a part of a larger collection of writings by English women before 1830), but it is neither “expansive” nor “rich”—lacking, for example, first of The Female Spectator, Betsy Thoughtless and Love in Excess—nor is it comprised entirely of “First Editions.” If a woman who retired on ca. $85 million in the late 1980s (see here)—wealth sufficient to endure the malice** and cupidity of gouging dealers—was unable to build “an expansive and diverting personal library around [Haywood’s] many works” as Zoschak’s article advises, then you have to ask, who can?

The key word here is personal: only very long-lived and rich institutions, which already have some key Haywood works, might have a chance to build “an expansive” collection. Going no further than the most obvious title: Betsy Thoughtless. There has not been a first of this title sold in living memory but it is not uncommon in institutions. A library already holding Betsy Thoughtless might hope to add lesser titles to it (like Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy).

An assiduous, individual collector, however, might wait a lifetime and not see a copy, or wait fifty years and miss out on it, or not be able to afford it. And Betsy Thoughtless is only uncommon in trade; of all of the Haywood firsts, it one of the most common—the one to survive in the largest numbers in institutions. If it becomes sufficiently valuable, a small institution might be tempted to sell a copy ... but might is not much of a foundation to build a collection on!

Also, there are probably more than a dozen Haywood titles that are very, very unlikely to ever appear on the market, because the only surviving copy or copies are in large institutions that will never sell them. An assiduous, individual collector will never obtain firsts of titles like Fatal Fondness, The City Jilt and The Distress’d Orphan. No matter how long they live; no matter how much money they have. Even a long-lived and rich institution can only hope to get a couple of these early works, meaning that even institutions can never expect to have a truly expansive collection, if they do not have a very good one already.

So my advice to anyone reading Zoschak’s article is, as I said, forget it: opportunities are not “limitless”—as claimed—and, at present, are largely limited to encouraging speculative prices on insignificant works and editions. (Which is, of course, the endearingly naïve and amusingly cynical aim of said article.)

** or the “knavery” of the seller, in this translation of Richard de Bury’s The Philobiblon.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Merryland in French, not 1805

In January 2010 I posted images of an "1815" (actually, 1872) edition of a French translation of Thomas Stretzer’s A New Description of Merryland (1740) that I had recently bought, but which is now in the Monash University rare books collection (here), having appeared in a Monash exhibition: Lewd and Scandalous Books (July–September 2010), item 58 (here).

I recently acquired another copy of Description Topographique, Historique, Critique et Nouvelle du pays et des Environs de la Forêt Noire Situés dans la Province du Merryland (above), which also has a false imprint and date (below): “A Boutentativos, chez les veuves Sulamites, aux petits appartements de Salomon. L'an du monde 100,800,000,500.” [Boutentativos: among the widows of the Sulamites, in the small apartments of Solomon. The year of world 1805]

“Boutentativos” is, seemingly, an invented adjectival, and plural masculine form of bouter (to push, pin or enter, from Middle French bouter, from Old French bouter)—so, somewhere that men enter the small apartments of the widows of Solomon. Hysterical.

This is one of a number of falsely dated French reprints of Merryland. In this case, the title-page is 1805, but the paper is clearly watermarked with the date 1863. Catalogue entries for this edition usually give the date as “1863?” without offering any explanation for how the date was arrived at (as here—citing the British Library, citing Gay). Below, you can see the evidence.

I see no real justification for the question mark, but librarians frequently add them without the slightest provocation. Tens, hundreds (?) of thousands of new books, issued with a date on the verso of the title-page, are catalogued every year with one of these question marks when there is do doubt whatever that the new book concerned was published in the year indicated. In this case, it would be a strange, costly and elaborate deception to publish Merryland with a falsely-dated imprint, and a falsely-dated watermark.

Unfortunately, this copy lacks the rather odd, but eye-catching frontispiece (below). It was also miscataloged as a copy of the first edition of 1770. That is didn’t have the frontispiece and it wasn’t correctly catalogued was probably for the best, since a copy of this edition with the frontispiece sold for four hundred Euro six years ago (see here) in the Karl Ludwig Leonhardt sale (Un Enfer Privé: Collection Sieglinde et Karl Ludwig Leonhardt (3 December 2009), no. 279), a discount on the copy in the Gérard Nordmann sale (pt.2: 15 December 2006, no. 505), which sold for 720 Euros.

The frontispiece in the Leonhardt and Nordmann copies is copied from the sepia version (above, right) in the first edition (1770) held at the Bibliothèque nationale de France and available on Gallica (here), along with a second plate (here), very similar, but on a smaller page, which appears to have been tipped in. Unlike the wonderful frontispiece to the eighth edition of the English text, neither image contributes anything to the somatopic text.

BTW: Another copy of my edition (sans frontis) is presently available from Madoc Books here, for GBP400.

Monday 26 October 2015

Lisping Booksellers and La Belle Affemblee

Earlier this year I stumbled bought two odd volumes of Haywood’s La Belle Assemblée. I located the first (below) in a general search of eighteenth-century books on eBay—which surprised me, way since I have a number of searches which run continuously on eBay that should have picked it up and sent me an alert. It took a moment to realise why none of my searches had worked: the book was listed as La Belle Affemblee!

Since just about everyone reads the long esse and an eff the first time they see it, it should have occurred to me before to go looking for lisping versions of her titles. But it hadn’t. So I did a search for Belle Affemblee and found another odd volume straight away. What amused me about the second one was, while the first seller was obviously an enthusiastic amateur, the second was sold by “World of Rare Books”!

You’d think, that a specialist “rare book” dealer—who has sold 37,656 items on eBay, has over one hundred and twenty thousand books presently listed, including over five hundred eighteenth-century books—could distinguish an esse from an eff. But that would be a no.

However, “World of Rare Books” did know exactly how much to charge for it: an excessive amount, but not so excessive that I wouldn’t buy it. That I bought it at all, as a duplicate no less, says something about my present priorities. (And, possibly, that there really is a sucker born every minute.) Here is the description:

Brown leather hardback with gilt lettering and decoration to spine. Prelims missing. Internal hinges cracked. Wear and tear to pages with some losses. Heavy use marking, foxing and tanning present. Some pages creased. Text remains clear and legible throughout on yellowed pages. Illustrated. Binding has weakened due to hinge cracking. Heavy scuffing, edge wear and use marking present with sunning to spine. Bumped and torn corners.

I believe this is called lowering buyer expectations. I wish I could say that this was the ugliest Haywood volume I have bought, but it isn’t, not by a long shot. (this one might be, or possibly this one.)

* * * * *

Returning to the first Belle Affemblee—which had an old diary cover sticky-taped over the original full calf binding (so, also ugly)—I am grateful to the vendor (Billy), who bought this camouflaged volume, without realising it, in a huge box of books at an estate sale in West Virginia. Not only is there a battered Caesar Ward and Richard Chandler trade card pasted onto the front fixed endpaper (below; compare this to my other copy here)—which suggests both that Ward and Chandler may have been the original vendors of the volume and that it was sold, bound, with their trade card in place—but there is also some provenance and reading records in this volumes, which are gold for my present research.

A faded note has been tapped onto the front free endpaper; it reads:

To John from Cystlina Feb. 1953 | [I] bought this book over | from England when I | returned after 11 months | absence”

“John J. Jones, Malden WVA” and “John J. Jones — Malden, W Va. | Telephone WA53-838” are stamped on the endpaper and in the middle of the volume. There are also two dates, which appear to indicate where John (?) had reached with his reading, when he picked up the book nine years later: “Sep 29, 62” (on page 194) and “Dec 27, 62” (page 198). And, as you can see on the title-page at the head of this post, John (?) worked out that his book was 234 years old in 1966, which he updated to 238 years in 1970.

It is not clear whether it was, but it is certainly tempting to conclude that the huge box of books Billy bought was, from the estate of John J. Jones, of Malden, West Virginia. It is also not clear whether it was, but it is certainly tempting to conclude that it was, John who (read and) annotated this volume. But whether or not there were other owners since Cystlina in 1953, John is certainly the most important for my purposes. So, if anyone reader knows anything at all about John J. Jones, Cystlina or even Malden, West Virginia—the Wikipedia entry here is not particularly informative—I’d be grateful if you could drop me a line.

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Routledge and the fate of my Bibliography

Routledge have bought out Pickering and Chatto. The Pickering and Chatto site ( now redirects here, where the reader is informed that "Routledge is pleased" with their acquisition of my publisher.

Although Routledge appear to have created listings for the "more than 750" Pickering and Chatto titles they acquired (on 1 July, according to this page), the detail from the old Pickering and Chatto site has not been carried over. Worse, the interface on the Routledge is appallingly designed, with entries listed horizontally behind a large search box (as below), which obscures much of the screen.

Anyway, I discovered all of this a few weeks ago when I went looking for the URLs of a few of my publications for a post I was working on. When I eventually found a URL for my Bibliography of Eliza Haywood—which was not easy, either on Google or via the Routledge site—I discovered that it was listed as "out of stock"—which seems highly unlikely. My annual royalty statements from Pickering and Chatto suggest that I am (or should be) "in print" for a while yet. So I sent an email asking what was going on. Routledge have not replied.

Since my 27 other Pickering and Chatto Routledge publications are all available, I suspect that Routledge has actually read my contract, which included (at my insistence) a sunset clause that gave Pickering and Chatto the "exclusive right" to publish my Bibliography only "for a period of ten years from publication". That ten years expired in 2014.

What this suggests is that Routledge has the right to sell the copies it has acquired from Pickering and Chatto, but no longer has exclusive rights as publisher. At any point from now on I could sell the rights to a (revised or not) Bibliography to another publisher or simply publish it myself online—something I have long planned to do.

I am guessing Routledge have decided to despose of the copies it has—without consulting me about it, although I hope not. My original contract included a clause allowing the publisher to remainder my Bibliography—but required them to notify me in writing of their intention to do so and giving me "the option for twenty-eight days of purchasing such copies at the remainder price." (I am not sure why I would want scores of remaindered copies of my Bibliography, but if Routledge were proposing to sell them very cheaply, I might use them to make a papier mâché monument of some sort ...) Perhaps they simply destroyed them. It would be nice to know either way. So, if anyone reading this sees piles of my Bibliography at a remainder sale, please let me know!

Thursday 8 October 2015

Little Victories

Above and below are photos of a set of four volumes of Eliza Haywood’s The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless, 5th ed. (London: H. Gardner, 1772)—Ab.67.8 in my Bibliography of Eliza Haywood (2004), but now Ab.67.8a for reasons I explain at the end of this post.

What makes this set remarkable is not its rarity, though I could only locate three sets in 2004, but both the provenance and the fact that I bought volume 4 in 2005 (from a US dealer) and volumes 1–3 last month (from a UK dealer who has had his incomplete set in his back room since the mid-1980s). The UK dealer bought his three volumes while he was in the States, but it seems unlikely that we bought our volumes from the same dealer, twenty years apart. Rather, I suspect the original vendor sold the volumes, at different times, to different dealers. Whether or not I am right, this “broken” set, which I have just re-united, had been broken for at least thirty years.

The reason that I don’t think that all four volumes were sold by the same vendor is that [1] no dealer worth their salt would sell an incomplete set unless that were 100% sure that the set was really incomplete—since incomplete sets are worth less than complete ones— and [2] the volume I bought in 2005 has been “improved” in a way that the other three volumes have not. Notice (above) that a pink-red tint has been applied to the leather binding of volume 4 and that the upper edge (below, fourth volume from the left) has been sanded in an attempt to brighten the dust-darkened page edges, so that it matches the un-darkened lower edge (below, right).

(That volumes 1–3 were not darkened after the set was broken is evident from the uneven effect that the sanding has on gatherings in volume 4 which are sewn in lower than the others. Beyond the reach of the sandpaper, these low-set gatherings remain dark—just as dark as the volumes that were not sanded. As well as removing dust, this sort of sanding damages the paper in distinctive ways, softening the edges, giving the paper a rounded and blurred look which is hard to describe.)

Re [1] above, there will always be dealers who disregard their own best interests, who sell odd volumes so vacuous ninnies can advertise their ignorance by decorating their homes with odd volumes, but such dealers are rare. And re [2] it is possible that the hack-dealer who slapped on some leather stain and sanded the edges of volume 4 bought this volume from a dealer who had bought a complete set but sold it off in odd-volumes, but this also seems unlikely.

I think that it is more likely that the vendor sold off the volumes at different times, to different dealers. My reason for thinking this brings me to the second remarkable thing about this set: their provenance: I think it is possible to trace the history of these volumes from eighteenth-century to today.

* * * * *

This set is half bound in early twentieth century brown roan morocco. All volumes contain the book label of “Richard Ashhurst” which has been removed from the original endpapers and reattached to new endpapers.

Richard Ashhurst appears to be Richard Lewis Ashhurst (1784–1809) who, ca. 1809, married Elizabeth Beck Crotto (1777–1857)—a widower; Richard and Elizabeth were the parents of Catherine Helen Ashhurst (1814–1910); mother of Richard Ashhurst Bowie (1837–87), father of Richard Henry Bayard Bowie (b. 1868), who sold the 11,887 volumes of his father’s “most interesting and very remarkable” library to Harvard in 1908 for USD10,000, stipulating “that any books containing the name or bookplate of Richard Ashhurst … be removed as belonging to Bowie's grandmother.”

All of the books belonging to Bowie's grandmother were removed (set aside, or preserved) from among those going to Harvard and kept by Mr. R. H. Bayard Bowie of 171 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. It is unclear what happened after 1908, but it seems likely that Mr Bowie spent some of this ten thousand dollars on having this set rebound. The family portraits—including portraits of Richard Ashhurst, his wife Elizabeth and daughter Catherine—and the “Richard Ashhurst” library were passed onto his son Richard Henry Bayard Bowie Jr. (d.1961) and then to Williams Cadwalader Bowie, who died, childless, in 1991 (his wife died in 1996).

I suspect Williams Cadwalader Bowie was the one who sold the “Richard Ashhurst” library, though it is possible that the volumes had passed to other family members and were sold off before the mid-1980s. Williams Bowie dropped out of University to join the Marines, unlike his many university-educated, gentlemanly, ancestors, and, also unlike his every ancestor back to Richard Ashhurst, he did not stay in Philadelphia, so he seems like a good candidate for disposing of the family heirlooms.

(Two of the important family portraits by Thomas Sully, mentioned above, were given away after the death of Williams’ father in 1961, including one of Elizabeth Crotto (1833) [below]; reproduced in Charles H. Hart, “Portrait of Mrs. Richard Ashhurst, painted by Thomas Sully,” Art in America, vol. 5 (April 1917): 140–43 [available here and here]; and Lewis Richard Ashhurst (1833). See also “The Misses Ashhurst” reproduced in The Life And Works Of Thomas Sully, 1783–1872 (Philadelphia, 1921), 124 [here] and Mrs. Thomas Ashurst.)

* * * * *

James E. Walsh's account of the “Richard Ashhurst Bowie Collection” (in A Catalogue of the Fifteenth-Century Printed Books in the Harvard University Library, vol.5 (1997), 21–25 [here]), which I have drawn on above, describes Richard Ashhurst as “Bowie's maternal grandfather,” but Richard Ashhurst was actually the grandfather of Richard Ashhurst Bowie—the book collector—not his son Richard Henry Bayard Bowie, who sold his father’s library, and whose actions are the subject of Walsh's account at this point.

It is possible that Walsh has confused father and son and that he is referring to Richard Ashhurst Bowie’s maternal grandfather, so that, when he says “books containing the name or bookplate of Richard Ashhurst” belonged “to Bowie's grandmother” he means that books containing the name or bookplate of Richard Ashhurst belonged to Richard Ashhurst’s wife: the book-collector’s grandmother, Elizabeth Crotto (above).

But it is also possible Walsh is simply inconsistent: mistaking Richard Ashhurst as “maternal grandfather” to the man selling off the library, but correct in identifying “books containing the name or bookplate of Richard Ashhurst” as belonged “to Bowie's grandmother”: the book-seller’s grandmother, Catherine Helen Ashhurst (below, at right; daughter of Elizabeth).

It is unclear why, if Elizabeth Beck Crotto—daughter of Henry Crotto and Catherine Van Flick, who married (first) Captain Joseph Hughes on 17 June 1794 (ætat 17) and (second) Richard Ashhurst ca. 1804 (ætat 27)—did own this set, it would contain the name plate of her husband. But if the books belonged to her daughter—Catherine Helen Ashhurst (1814–1910), who married Thomas Latimer Bowie—the presence of the name or bookplate of Richard Ashhurst in them would suggest that Catherine inherited them from her father’ meaning that Richard Ashhurst was, in fact, the original owner of this set (as his name-plates suggest).

I am inclined to think that the latter is true, that Walsh is inconsistent, and the relevant passage should read:

He [R.H.B. Bowie] stipulated a few conditions: first, that any books containing the name or bookplate of Richard Ashhurst, [R. A.] Bowie's maternal grandfather, be removed as belonging to [R.H.B.] Bowie's grandmother.

(And since I am in the middle of marking undergraduate essays, I have to say avoid implied subjects—and don’t start a new paragraph with an implied subject—or, perhaps, just unclear!. This confusion of father and son is exactly the sort of muddle that occurs when writers make liberal use of implied subjects—Walsh refers to “he” twice before he gets to “stipulated”, by which time even the author has forgotten who “he” is.)

Unfortunately, the Thomas Sully portrait of Richard Ashhurst, “Merchant” of “No. 263 Arch St., Phila. … begun March 7th, 1826, finished April 13th, 1826” was “destroyed” prior to 1921 “having been injured beyond repair.” Consequently, I do not have a portrait of the man behind the name, but it is certainly satisfying to be able to trace this set—re-united after having been “broken” for at least thirty years—through six generations of the Ashhurst and Bowie families, from the eighteenth century through to the twenty-first.

* * * * *

As a final note, I should mention that I had not thought to buy another copy of this fifth edition, but I was offered the volumes with another Haywood item that I very much wanted. As a result I now have three complete sets of the fifth edition, and a fourth (incomplete, but seemingly unique) set of an undated re-issue that I did not know about when my Bibliography was published (thus Ab.67.8a and Ab.67.8b).

Four sets might be considered excessive but—as David Levy reminds me—there are no duplicates in the hand press era. And so, already having a Haywood item is “no reason to hinder a man from the buying of [another], if he has the money that is demanded for [it]”—as Richard de Bury writes—“unless it be to withstand the malice of the seller or to await a more favourable opportunity of buying.”

Friday 31 July 2015

Miss Gaswell the Sand Witch, a 19C meme

I have previously posted on the subject of mysterious late 19C/early 20C postcard memes (see here for my attempt to work out what donkeys have to do with Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”).

Today’s nineteenth-century meme concerns the “sand witch.” What is a Sand Witch? Below are a series of postcards featuring sand witches.

After a lot of digging I think I have discovered the origin of this meme: it is a joke—first published in the Pittsburgh Chronicle-Telegraph—that did the rounds in 1902.

The Sand Witch.

“Look at Miss Gaswell as she sits on the sand in her bathing-suit,” exclaimed a Pittsburgher at Atlantic City. “She is pretty enough to eat.” “That’s what she is,” assented his hearer. “She is a regular sand witch.”

Cue postcard-caption for any bathing beauty; anyone on the sand who is “pretty enough to eat.”

So, not a witch made of, or sculpted out of, sand and animated like a Golem. Though, it seems, modern sand-sculptors are fond of sculpting hag-witches. And not an actual, or Halloween, witch practicing real or Hallowe’en witchcraft on a beach, like Fairuza Balk in The Craft (1996).

And, despite the fact that, since 1998, The Library of Congress Subject Headings has contained an entry for “Sand Witch” that glosses it as “Fictitious character,” no such fictitious character existed pre-1902.

In the above painting by C. Coles Phillips, used as the cover art for Life Magazine, 22 July 1909, “The Sand Witch” is a bathing beauty, positioned between two men. In this scenario, Miss Gaswell is literally “sandwiched” between two men.

(Phillips’s art may be taken to suggest that you could caption any postcard of a woman—on a train, in a crowd, anywhere—positioned between two men as a “Sand Witch,” since any woman who is “pretty enough to eat may be considered a “witch”—because she is bewitchingly alluring—but the “sand” in “sand witch” makes the beach a necessity for the caption to work.)

As for Miss Gaswell, she is not a real person, just a stock name used in jokes in the late 19C/early 20C, along with Mr Gaswell and Mrs Gaswell. I presume gas-well is itself a joke meaning “joke-well” or “bluff-well,” related to the slang uses of gas recorded in the OED under, v.1, 7a “To mislead (a person) by clever or persuasive talk; to tease, to bluff” (as in “she’s gassin’ you” or “I used to gas you about this”).

* * * * *

Below are fifteen Gaswell jokes recorded in newspapers from 1889 to 1908, which give some context to Miss Gaswell the Sand Witch. I have not been able to find even a passing mention of this genre of jokey anecdote, so I have included as many as I could find, with titles where they had them.

“I want the library,” said Mr. Gaswell to the architect, “to be the largest and airiest room in the house.” “I don’t see what you want with a library,” interposed Mrs. Gaswell, “you know very well you don’t smoke.” [The Brooklyn Daily Eagle [Brooklyn, NY] (7 July 1889): 8]

Nautical Blood in Her Veins. “You may sit in the stern of the boat and work the tiller, Miss Gaswell,” said the young man, as he took the oars, “if you think you can steer.” “I think that won’t be hard to do,” responded the proud young heiress. “I have heard mamma say she was a good steerer, because she crossed the ocean in the steerage.” [The Topeka State Journal [Topeka, KA] (18 March 1891): 5]

A Finished Education. “Oh, Uncle George!” exclaimed Miss Gaswell, “why didn't you come a week ago? I graduated last Wednesday.” “Ah,” replied Uncle George, who takes a great interest in his niece’s education, “what did you graduate in?” “Why, in the loveliest white India mull, made up over the sweetest white silk.” [The Wichita Daily Eagle [Wichita, Kansas] (16 August 1891): 2]

Unfortunate. Miss Gaswell “Pop, did you see the Prince o’ Wales while you was in Europe, and did you talk with him?” Pop “I saw ’im, but the crowd was so big he didn't see me.” [The Evening Visitor [Raleigh, NC] (7 April 1891): 3]

Attractive to Bicyclist. “Have you visited the Phipps’ conservatory lately, Miss Gaswell?” “No, Mr. Dukane, I haven’t” “I think you would enjoy a visit very much. You are such an enthusiastic wheelwoman.” “Pardon me, but I do not exactly see the connection between a conservatory and bicycling.” “Well, tho conservatory is full of bloomers, you see.” [Evening Sentinel [Santa Cruz, CA] (22 June 1896): 3]

Presumption Rebuked. “One of the strong points about this carpet, ma’am,” said the salesman, “is that it won’t show dirt as plainly as some others. You wouldn't have to sweep it nearly as often as.” “I shouldn’t have to sweep it at all young man,” interrupted Mrs. Gaswell, with much sharpness. “We keep a hired girl.” [The Daily Democrat [Huntington, IN] (29 April 1896): 8]

A Connoisseur. Sir Gaswell, accompanied by several members of his family was looking through the stock of the picture dealer with a view to making a purchase. “What is the name of that one” he asked pointing with his cane at a painting banging on the wall. “That is St. Cecilia” replied the dealer. “How does that strike you” said Sir Gaswell, turning to his daughter. “It wont do” answered Miss Gaswell, with much positiveness. “She wears a style of halo that's twenty-five years old.” [Chicago Daily Tribune (15 May 1897): 12]

Mr. and Mrs. Gaswell had moved only a few weeks before into a fashionable neighborhood and were preparing to issue invitations for their silver wedding. “I’m afraid,” said Mr. Gaswell, looking dubiously at the pile of costly stationery before him, “most of these will go begging.” “Why, James,” responded Mrs. Gaswell, “that's what we are sending them out for.” [Ann Arbor Argus (8 July 1898)]

Mrs Gaswell: “The Emperor of Germany took 102 trunks with him on his pilgrimage to Jerusalem.” Mr Gaswell: “I suppose his wife was with him.” Mrs Gaswell: “Yes; the Empress’ clothes were in two trunks.” [Mataura Ensign (27 April 1899): 4]

Mr. Gaswell: “I wonder why Minister Conger’s messages are all undated. Do you suppose he omits the date to save cable tolls?” Mrs. Gaswell: “No, I don’t. It’s my opinion those Chinese Boxers have stolen his calendar.” [The Sacred Heart Review, no. 11 (15 September 1900)]

Mrs Gaswell: “The Czar of Russia now has four daughters”. Mr Gaswell: “Oh, the dear little Czardines” [San Francisco Chronicle (4 August 1901): 27]

Mrs. Gaswell: “I thought you wanted to go to London for the summer. Now you're talking about Paris. What has made you change your mind?” Mr. Gaswell: “Well, in London I'd be worth only £200.000, while in Paris I’d be Worth 5,000,000 francs, and I tell you, there,s a heap of difference in the way it sounds.” [Indianapolis Journal, vol. 52, no. 184 (3 July 1902)]

Had Heard of It. Young Professor (who has taken her down to dinner): “By the way, Miss Gaswell, have you ever seen the nebula of Andromeda?” Miss Gaswell: “No; I was abroad with papa and mamma when that was played. But I’ve heard that it drew crowded houses.” [San Francisco Call, vol. 97, no. 21 (21 December 1904)]

Natural Mistake. Mrs. Gaswell (making a call): “Ah, I see you have here a volume of poems. I’m ashamed to confess it, Mrs. Highmus, but. I never could appreciate blank verse.” Mrs. Highmus: “Why—er—that’s a catalogue, Mrs. Gaswell.” [Lompoc Journal, no. 44 (21 March 1908)]

Sunday 12 July 2015

Pope's Pen-portrait of Haywood

Alexander Pope included Haywood in his Dunciad (Book 2, ll. 149–56, 179–80; published 18 May 1728). The portrait is unflattering—which is no great surprise, Pope was a sexist pig—but it is one of the only pen-portraits we have. And for this reason, although it is a poisonous pen, it is quoted with tedious regularity in relation to Haywood. Here is the text:

  See in the circle next, Eliza plac'd,
  Two babes of love close clinging to her waste;
  Fair as before her works she stands confess'd,
  In flow'r'd brocade by bounteous Kirkall dress'd.
  Pearls on her neck, and roses in her hair,
  And her fore-buttocks to the navel bare.
  The Goddess then: "Who best can send on high
  The salient spout, fair-streaming to the sky;
  His be yon Juno of majestic size,
  With cow-like-udders, and with ox-like eyes."
  Thou [Curll] triumph'st, victor of the high-wrought day,
  And the pleas'd dame soft-smiling leads away.

152. Kirkall, the Name of a Graver. This Lady’s Works were printed in four Volumes duod. with her picture thus dressed up, before them.

The features mentioned (a low-cut brocade dress and a rose in her hair) make it clear that Pope had seen the Vertue engraving, or the Parmentier painting on which it is based, before he penned these lines. (For more about the portrait, see this post.)

* * * * *

The following poem was written as a response to The Dunciad. I think it should be quoted just as regularly in relation to Pope. The poem appeared in The Daily Journal (28 May 1728) under the title "Alexander Pope's Nosegay: or, The Dunciad Epitomiz'd" (a transcript is available online here. I have glossed the blanks, as appropriate.).

If the following Verses, at first Sight, be thought too gross for a Place in your Paper, you'll however not refuse it that Favour, when you find it to be the faithful Contents of a Piece, lately publish'd, intitled the DUNCIAD, from P. 18, to P. 34. The whole of which is certainly the most filthy and indecent Instance of the True Profund that ever defiled the English Language. If, as a great Poet says, Want of Decency is Want of Wit, I am sure nothing can be a greater Instance of Folly than the DUNCIAD, and nobody can be so fit to exhibit the intended Progress of Dulness, as the Author of it.
I am, Sir,
Yours, &c. A. B.

First Jove strains hard to give Ambrosia Vent,
And wipes the Ichor from his F—da—nt.
C—l's Vomit, and his Mistress's Discharge
By Stool and Urine, next are sung at large.
Then with her T—d our Bard embrowns C—l's Face,
   [turd, Curll
And fills with Stench the Strand's extended Space.
Eliza's Breasts, in Language most polite,
Are two Fore Buttocks, or Cows Udders hight.
Ch—d by C—l at Pissing overcome,
   [Chetwood, Curll
Crown'd with a Jordan, stalks contented home.
But who can bear the Stink from muddy Streams
Of Fleet-Ditch, rolling Carrion to the Thames?
Or the foul Images he draws from Jakes?
Or what a Dutchman plumps into the Lakes?

Thus P—e is dwindled to a Bog-house Wit,
And writes as filthy Stuff as others sh—.
Who reads P—e's Verses, or Dean Gully's Prose,
Must a strong Stomach have, or else no Nose.

The poem was reprinted in Gulliveriana; Or, A Fourth Volume of Miscellanies (1728), 315–16.

Sunday 8 March 2015

A French Review of A Letter from Henry Goring

The following review of Lettre de H.... G....g ecuyer, un des gentilshommes de la chambre du jeune Chevalier de S. George, a French translation of Haywood’s A Letter from H---- G----g, Esq; One of the Gentlemen of the Bed-Chamber to the Young Chevalier, appears in L’Année littéraire, 7 (1756): 38–43 (here).

The review is comprised mainly of a summary of the contents of Ab.66 A Letter from H---- G----g, but it begins with an explanation that the pamphlet was sold by monsieur Prault, on the Quai de Conti (a wharf, over-looking the Seine), towards the Pont Neuf (the "new Bridge" to Sainte Chapelle and Notre-Dame Cathedral on Île de la Cité). This appears to be the same "Chez Prault l’Aîné, Quai de Conti" who later published the French translation of The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless early in 1754 (Ab.67.11 L’Etourdie).

The anonymous review concludes with a pithy assessment of the writing: "That, sir, is how far the author of this Letter led his hero. He does not tell us what he is, or what is the purpose of his journey. This pamphlet is also very poorly written."

* * * * *

Lettre sur le Prétendant.

  L'histoire des disgraces du Prince Edouard a fait autrefois, Monsieur, le sujet d'une de mes Lettres.* Les voyages de ce Prince depuis son départ d'Avignon jusqu'à son arrivée en Lithuanie font la matière d'une brochure in-12 qui se vend chez Prault, Quai de Conti, à la descente du Pont-Neuf. Elle est intitulée: Lettre de H..... G.... G.... Ecuyer, un des Gentilshommes de la Chambre du jeune Chevalier de Saint George, [et] la seule personne de sa Cour qui l'ait accompagné d'Avignon dans son voyage en Allemagne [et] autres lieux: contenant plusieurs aventures touchantes [et] remarquables qui sont arrivées à ce Prince pendant le cours de son voyagé secret: à un ami particulier; traduite de l'Anglois par M. l'Abbé ***.
  On raconte dans cette Lettre vraie ou prétendue qu'un gentilhomme, qui se faisoit appeller le Chevalier de la Luze, étant arrivé à Avignon, eut avec le Prince des conférences secrettes, [et] partit peu de jours après. Le Prince ne tarda pas à le suivre, accompagné seulement d'un gentilhomme, d'un valet de chambre [et] de deux domestiques. Pour n'être point connu, il se fit appeller le Comte d'Espoir, [et] il prit sa route par Lyon. Il descendit dans un village à deux lieues plus loin que cette ville; il s'enferma dans une chambre, passa la nuit à écrire des lettres, [et] le lendemain il renvoya tout son monde excepté son gentilhomme. L'hôte chez lequel il logeoit lui trouva d'autres domestiques. Le Prince continua sa route par Dijon [et] par Nancy, [et] il arriva à Strasbourg où le Chevalier de la Luze lui avoit fait préparer un logement. Quelques jours après le feu prit pendant la nuit dans une maison qui étoit vis à-vis de son appartement. Il fut bientôt éveillé par le bruit; il s'habilla [et] sortit pour aller au secours. Ses gens voulurent le retenir: Eh quoi, s'écria-t-il, sommes nous donc nés pour avoir soin seulement de nous mêmes? Et aussi-tôt il vole à l'endroit où le feu faisoit le plus de ravage. L'objet qui le frappe d'abord est une jeune femme qui avoit la moitié du corps passé hors de la fenêtre, [et] qui crioit au secours parce qu'elle étoit dans une chambre où le feu avoit pris de toutes parts. Le Prince lui dit de se jetter en bas, [et] qu'il la recevroit dans ses bras. Il la reçut en effet sans qu'elle se fît aucun mal; [et] comme elle étoit en chemise, dit l'auteur, il l'emporta chez lui, la mit dans son lit, l'enveloppa dans ses couvertures pour empêcher qu'elle ne s'enrhumât. La crainte du danger avoit fait perdre connoissance à cette jeune [et] aimable personne, de sorte que pendant tout ce temps elle sut totalement insensible au soin qu'il prenoit d'elle. Le Prince de son' côté, loin de profiter de l'état où elle se troavoit, ne s'occupoit qu'à la saire revenir de son évanouissement. Quand elle eut repris ses sens, il la, recommanda à la maîtresse du logis, [et] retourna au feu qui duroit toujours. Le lendemain il dîna avec la jeune Demoiselle, le Chevalier de lu Luze, [et] son gentilhomme. Le repas sut gai, la conversation tendre [et] galante; [et] la Demoiselle, pénétrée de reconnoissance [et] frappée des vertus [et] de la bonne mine de son libérateur, se troubla, quitta la table, [et] alla prendre l'air un moment à la fenêtre. Le Prince la suivit [et] lui parla; la Luze [et] son gentilhomme voulurent le laisser seul avec elle. Il les retint auprès de lui dans la crainte qu'un tête à tête ne lui fît perdre le prix de son bienfait. Il se sépara de cette charmante personne, comme Alexandre qui voyant la beauté des filles de Darius se retira sur le champ de leur présence.
  Tandis que le Prince Edouard étoit à Avignon, un Anglois, qui se disoit gentilhomme, étoit venu lui demander un emploi auprès de fa personne. Comme ìl n'y en avoit point de vacant, le Prince lui donna quelque argent, [et] lui permit de venir manger dans son palais. On le soupçonna bientôt d'être un imposteur [et] un espion. On communiqua ces soupçons au Prince: cela pourroit bien être, répondit-il; mais nous n'en sommes pas certains; nous sçavons seulement qu'il est dans le besoin; [et] j'aimerois mieux secourir cent ennemis que de refuser à un ami, sur un simple soupçon, le peu de secours que je puis lui donner. Cet homme avoit disparu quelque temps avant le départ du Prince; on sut fort étonné de le retrouver à Strasbourg dans l'hôtellerie où logeoit son Altesse Royale. Le jout même le Prince quitta Strasbourg, passa le Rhin, [et] continua sa route par Wirtzbourg. A quelque distance de cette ville, cinq hommes bien montés, masqués [et] armés, déchargèrent leurs pistolets tous à la fois [et] sans dire mot dans la chaise où étoit le Prince. Aucune des balles ne le blessa; il sauta de sa chaise, sit feu à son tour contre les assassins, en tua deux, [et] mit les autres en suite. Un des morts écoit le traître à qui son Alteste Royale avoit donné de l'argent à Avignon.
  Le Prince partit pour Léipsick, [et] le Chevalier de la Luze, après avoir exécuté sa commission en le conduisant en une certaine Cour d'Allemagne où il demeura dix jours, prit congé de lui. Edouard, accompagné seulement de son gentilhomme [et] de deux domestiques, passa dans différens Etats dont les Souverains n'étoient pas tous également disposés en sa faveur. A son arrivée en Lithuanie il reçut la visite d'une personne très-illustre qui lui est intimement attachée. Il eut avec elle plusieurs entrevues secrettes dans un château appartenant à la maison de Wizinski. Bien des gens, dit l'auteur, ont assûré que ce Prince étoit marié; mais rien n'est plus faux; il est vrai, ajoûte-t-il, qu'il aime une Princesse [et] qu'il en est aimé, [et] que, si ses affaires prennent une face plus favorable, cette union ne tardera pas à se faire; mais dans la position où il est actuellement il ne veut point se marier, pour ne pas devenir père, comme il dit lui-même, de mendians Royaux. Voilà, Monsieur, jusqu'où l'auteur de cette Lettre a conduit son héros. Il ne nous apprend ni ce qu'il devient, ni quel est le but de son voyage. Cette brochure est d'ailleurs très-mal écrite.

*Voyez l'Année Littéraire 1756, Tome II page 289.

Thursday 26 February 2015

Wall of Shame

On this page I plan on memorialising some of the negative, dismissive, outrageous and idiotic statements made about Eliza Haywood and her (actual or putative) works. (I have already discussed Haywood's reputation before the twentieth century, and collected together some of the more positive statements made about Haywood here.)

I think that it is worth collecting some of the misogyny, prejudice and ignorance of the last two centuries in one place so that the (admirable) restraint of modern scholars—who are prone to tell students that Haywood's works have been "overlooked" or "dismissed"—is more obvious.

[1731]. Jonathan Swift [letter dated 26 October 1731], in Letters to and from Henrietta, Countess of Suffolk (1824), 2.29 (here)

Mrs. Heywood I have heard of as a stupid, infamous, scribbling woman, but have not seen any of her productions.

[1815]. Sir Egerton Brydges, Censura Literaria: Containing Titles, Abstracts, and Opinions of Old English Books, 2nd ed. (1815), 10.312 fn (here):

Secret Histories, Novels, and Poems, Written by Mrs. Eliza Haywood, 1732, in 4 vols. and third edition. Unless there was some omission, or a subsequent reprint with addition, it seems doubtful which story of this disgraceful detailer of lascivious passion, rapes, adultery, and murder, is referred to.

[1823]. Anonymous reviewer of Peveril of the Peak in The Monthly Review, 2nd ser. 100 (February 1823), 188 (here):

The productions of Mrs. Heywood, or of Mrs. Behn, would be little compatible with the delicacy of modern days: but, indeed, the scale of feeling on such subjects, more especially among women, has been very much raised since that period.

[1833]. Lord Dover [annotation] in Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, to Sir Horace Mann, edited by Lord Dover (1833), 1.325 (here):

Eliza Heywood, a voluminous writer of indifferent novels; of which the best known is one called "Betsy Thoughtless."

[1842]. Charles Whitehead, Richard Savage: A Romance of Real Life (1844), ch. 15 fn (here):

Eliza Haywood, although now nearly forgotten, attained during her life-time to an enviable celebrity. Pope, in his Dunciad, has heaped terrible infamy upon her head. Her plays I have not seen; but I have looked into her novels of which "The History of Betsy Thoughtless " and "Jenny and Jemmy Jessamy " are the most considerable. They possess no common degree of merit, but are altogether unfit for modern perusal.

[1848]. Thomas Wright, England Under the House of Hanover: Its History and Condition During the Reigns of the Three Georges (1848), 1.91 (here).

It is clear, indeed, that the national taste had become as vulgar as the national manners, and as corrupt as the principles of a large majority of the public men of that period. The works which received the greatest encouragement were scandalous memoirs, secret history surreptitiously obtained and sent forth under fictitious names, (such as the books which came the pens of Eliza Haywood, Mrs. Manley, and other equally shameless female writers, and from the press of Edmund Curll,) and ill-disguised obscenity.

[1856]. Anonymous, "Daniel De Foe," The Dublin University Magazine, vol. 48, no. 283 (July 1856): 70 (here):

Have any of the readers of these pages perused Eliza Heywood's other works? … If the ladies are ignorant of this literature, let them be advised and remain in their ignorance.

[1859]. David Masson, British Novelists and Their Styles: Being a Critical Sketch of the History of British Prose Fiction (1859), 98–99 (here); reprinted (Boston 1859), 106 (here):

Passing by these, however, and also those short novels of licentious incident by Mrs. Heywood and other followers of Aphra Behn, which are to be found bound up in old volumes, four or five together, in the neglected shelves of large libraries, we alight, in the reign of George II., on a new group of British Novelists, remembered pre-eminently under that name.

[1872]. Hippolyte A. Taine, History of English Literature, translated by H. Van Luen, 2nd ed. (1872), 2.206 (here):

In no age were hack-writers so beggarly and more vile. Poor fellows, like Richard Savage …; courtesans like Eliza Heywood, notorious by the shamelessness of their public confessions; …. These villanies, foul linen, the greasy coat six years old, musty pudding, and the rest, are in Pope as in Hogarth, with English crudity and preciseness.

Monday 23 February 2015

Not The Only Copy

The Wellcome Library has acquired copies of the 1787 and 1788 editions of Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies. Which is great, and certainly to be celebrated. It is also, apparently, big news, since quite a few people have read Hallie Rubenhold's sensational, well-promoted and insubstantial books on the subject (which, for reasons that will become clear, I will neither name nor link to).

According to The Guardian (here) and The Independent (here) the Wellcome Library bought "the book" or "a copy" (NB singular) from a London dealer for "a low five-figure sum"—which I take to mean about twenty to thirty thousand pounds for the two editions.

Another thing that The Guardian and The Independent agree on is that the 1787 edition is unique, claiming: it is "the only surviving 1787 guide" and is "a unique surviving … copy"—a claim that is repeated in every newspaper to reprint the story, such as The Sunshine Coast Daily (here), The Mackay Daily Mercury (here) and The Toowoomba Chronicle (here).

Dr Richard Aspin, Head of Research and Scholarship at the Wellcome Library, is more cautious than The Guardian and The Independent: stating in his blog entry about the purchase (here) that the 1787 edition "appears to be the only one in existence."

Unfortunately for Aspin (and the reporters at The Guardian and The Independent), the Wellcome copy of Harris's 1787 List is not unique. A simple Google search for "Harris's List of Covent-Garden Ladies" and "1787" locates the Bavarian State Library copy immediately. It has been available online since 14 December 2011 and has appeared in my list of Eighteenth-Century Erotic Texts Online since 14 July 2013.

Although the Bavarian State Library has had their copy since the eighteenth century, have published it online, and it has appeared in major bibliographies of erotica since 1889, it is not surprising that it was overlooked. Rubenhold appears only to known of eight editions/years of Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies: 1761, 1764, 1773, 1774, 1779, 1788, 1789 and 1793. She gives the impression that these are the only survivors. Obviously, she is wrong.

During my research into eighteenth century erotica, I located seventeen editions/years of Harris's List. Some were easier to locate than others, appearing in major bibliographies and collections, and some are easier to locate now, than they were a decade ago. However, the fact that Rubenhold located only seven of at least seventeen copies, while preparing a series of books on the subject, suggests that her research was pretty shallow. Woeful, in fact.

I can't help wondering if the Wellcome Library paid a premium for the 1787 edition on the basis that it was "unknown to Rubenhold". (Since the claim that the 1787 edition is "unique," crops up in every article I can only assume that this claim is important to the Library because the did pay a premium.) If so, they probably won't be pleased to discover that they are wrong.

Saturday 14 February 2015

The Book-Lover's Library Series, 1886–1902

"The Book-Lover’s Library" (BLL) was published in London by Elliot Stock. The series was edited by Henry Benjamin Wheatley (1838–1917), Vice-President and President of the Bibliographical Society, 1908–10, 1911–13. There appear to have been 26 volumes in the series, published between 1886 and 1902, all of them aimed at "the Bibliographer and all Book-Loving Readers." Since I am a Bibliographer and Book-Loving Reader, I have a hand-full of them (above), and I have read them all.

Volumes in the BLL series were issued (as advertised in 1902, below [NB "was first published"]) in three printing and binding styles: (A) on antique paper, with rough edges, in cloth, bevelled [178x110mm] (B) on hand-made paper, Roxburgh half morocco, with gilt top [185x110mm; 250 copies "for sale in England" thus] (C) on large, hand-made paper (by Van Gelder), bound in Roxburgh half morocco [220x178mm; 50 copies "for sale in England"]. In 1902 the prices in the UK were A: 4s 6d; B: 7s 6d; C: £1 1s; the prices in the US (ca. 1892) were A: $1.25; B: $2.50. As you can see in my first picture, at left, binding B dosen't age well.

My Checklist of the 26 volumes in the BLL series is below, numbered in the order that they I think they were released. I haven't been able to find a full list online, and the few claims I have seen about the number of volumes in the series both disagree about the total number of volumes and don't list the individual volumes. So, for instance, the British Library has a catalogue entry for the series, which claims that there were 28 volumes, but notes that their set "includes more than one edition of certain Works"—which are not named.

In 2010, a lot of 32 volumes was sold at auction (lot 347, here) as a "complete set," but only "some" of titles are mentioned in the catalogue entry for the lot, so it is not clear which volumes I exclude that the auctioneer believed had belonged to the series. However, the photograph that accompanies this lot (above) suggests why there might be some confusion about the number of volumes in this series (i.e., why the auctioneer might have been wrong that there were 32 volumes in the series). As you can see, partly visible, at the left of the photo, is W. Davenport Adams, Byways in Book-Land (1888).

If you look here you can see that Byways in Book-Land is not a part of the BLL series, although the paper, binding and price matches those in the BLL (i.e., it "is another of Mr. Stock's dainty little volumes, ever tempting in their cool green covers … [with] clear type and wide margins" as a reviewer states in The Reliquary 3 (1889): 59). Elliot Stock was famous for this type of book, it was his house style, rather than the distinguishing feature of volumes in the BLL series alone. Stock issued many dainty little bookish volumes, which cannot be differentiated from titles in the BLL by their appearance alone. Below, for instance, is J. Rogers Rees' Diversions of a Bookworm (1886) and The Pleasures of a Book-Worm (1886).

Volumes in the BLL series can only be established as belonging to the series if they appear in one of the publisher's lists of volumes in the BLL or if the text "The Book-Lover's Library" appears on the page facing their title-page. I have compiled the list below from four publisher's lists, two printed at the back of volumes from the series, and two leaflets from the publisher that I have otherwise acquired. The four lists (illustrated after the checklist) are:

1892a = A list of 14 titles printed in the back of Books Condemned to be Burnt (1892).
1892b = A list of 16 titles on a ca. 1892 leaflet advertising in the BLL series.
1902 = A list of 25 titles printed in the back of How to Make an Index (1902)
1910 = A list three reprints from the BLL on a ca. 1910 leaflet for "The 'How To' Series."

(The 'How To' series was comprised of J. D. Stewart, How to Use a Library (1910) and reprints of BLL nos.1, 11, 26). I have provided a code to show the order in which titles appear in the three main lists: 1892a and 1892b have the newest volumes, first; 1902 has the oldest volumes first.

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01 Henry B. Wheatley, How to Form a Library (1886 on IA here; 2nd ed. 1886 on IA here; 3rd ed. 1887 on IA here; "Popular Edition" 1902 on IA here; 1886, New York 2nd edition on HT here; 1887, New York 3rd edition on HT here) [1892a.14; 1892b.16; 1902.01]

02 W. C. Hazlitt, Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine (1886 on IA here; rpr. "Popular Edition" 1902 on IA here) [1892a.13; 1892b.15; 1902.02]

03 G. L. Gomme, Literature of Local Institutions (1886 on IA here) [1892a.12; 1892b.14; 1902.03]

04 H. Trueman Wood, Modern Methods of Illustrating Books (1886 on IA here; 1887 edition [=2nd ed.; author's name omitted] on IA here; 3rd ed. 1890 [author's name omitted] on IA here; 1887 New York edition on IA here) [1892a.11; 1892b.13; 1902.05]

05 Henry B. Wheatley, The Dedications of Books to Patron and Friend (1887 on IA here; 1887 New York edition on IA here) [1892a.10; 1892b.12; 1902.06]

06 W. C. Hazlitt, Gleanings in Old Garden Literature (1887 on IA here) [1892a.09; 1892b.11; 1902.07]

07 Frederick Saunders, The Story of Some Famous Books (1887 on IA here; 2nd. ed. 1888 on IA here; 1887 New York edition on IA here) [1892a.08; 1892b.10; 1902.08]

08 William Blades, The Enemies of Books (1888 on IA here; Popular Edition, 1902 on HT here) [1892a.07; 1892b.09; 1902.09]

09 W.A. Clouston, The Book of Noodles (1888 on IA here; Popular Edition, 1903 on IA here; 1888 New York edition on IA here) [1892a.06; 1892b.08; 1902.10]

10 Edward Smith, Foreign Visitors in England (1889 on IA here; 1889 New York edition on HT here) [1892a.05; 1892b.07; 1902.04]

11 Henry B. Wheatley, How to Catalogue a Library (1889 on IA here; 2nd ed., 1889 on IA here; 1889 New York edition on HT here) [1892a.04; 1892b.06; 1902.11]

12 John Pendleton, Newspaper Reporting in the Olden Time and To-day (1890 on IA here; 1890 New York edition on HT here) [1892a.03; 1892b.05; 1902.12]

13 W. C. Hazlitt, Studies in Jocular Literature (1890 on IA here; Popular Edition, 1904 on IA here) [1892a.02; 1892b.04; 1902.13]

14 L. A. Wheatley, The Story of the "Imitatio Christi" (1891 on IA here) [1892a.01; 1892b.03; 1902.14]

15 J. A. Farrer, Books Condemned to be Burnt (1892 on IA here; Popular Edition, 1904 on IA here) [1892b.02; 1902.15]

16 William Blades, Books in Chains (1892 on IA here; 1892 New York edition on HT here) [1892b.01; 1902.16]

17 Henry B. Wheatley, Literary Blunders (1893 on IA here) [1902.17]

18 Gleeson White, Book-Song. An anthology of poems of books and bookmen from modern authors (1893 on IA [ex GB] here) [1902.18]

19 R. B. Marston, Walton and Some Earlier Writers on Fish and Fishing (1894 on IA here; Popular Edition, 1903 on IA here) [1902.19]

20 P. H. Ditchfield, Books Fatal to their Authors (1895 on IA here; 1895 New York edition on IA here) [1902.20]

21 William Roberts, ed., Book-Verse. An anthology of poems of books and bookmen from the earliest times to recent years (1896 on IA here; undated New York edition on HT here) [1902.21]

22 James E. Matthew, The Literature of Music (1896 on IA here) [1902.22]

23 Frederick G. Kitton, The Novels of Charles Dickens (1897 on IA here) [1902.23]

24 John Lawler, Book Auctions in England in the Seventeenth Century (1898 on IA here) [1902.25]

25 Frederick G. Kitton, The Minor Writings of Charles Dickens (1900 on IA here) [1902.24]

26 Henry B. Wheatley, How to Make an Index (1902 on IA here; 1902 New York edition on HT here)

* * * * *

[UPDATE 2022.03.05 I am indebted to Jerry Morris: his blog post "About Elliot Stock, Henry B. Wheatley, and The Book Lover's Library Series" (29 March 2017; here) does exactly what you'd expect it to do with such a title. In his post Jerry mentions an excellent article on the BLL series: Claude A. Prance, "The Book Lover's Library," The Private Library, Series 3, vol. 4, no.3 (Autumn 1983): 132–39. Prance lists 34 editions of the 26 titles in the BLL (including four reprints and four Popular editions). Prompted by some very welcome feedback, I have now added links to as many editions of the BLL titles that I can locate on the Internet Archive (IA) and Hathi Trust (HT); where more than one copy was available, I favoured the one which best shows the original binding and endpapers. I now list 52 editions above (including seven London reprints and seven Popular Editions—three more of each than Prance lists—plus twelve New York editions—which Prance only mentions in passing [p.133: "Apparently the green cloth issue could be bought in the U.S.A. for $1.25"). It is likely that there were more New York editions than I have located online, but I trust that the listing of London editions is complete. However, if a reader finds an edition online that I have not listed above, please let me know, and I will add it.