Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Boston: John P. Jewett, 1852. First Edition. Cloth. 2 vols. 1st edition, and a unique set of it, with 1st printing sheets in the publisher’s Feely binding. Fine condition, and Uncle Tom is rarely seen in fine condition, regardless of the binding. Morocco backed slipcase with a fine 1st edition of A Key To Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1853). Here’s the story as best we can untangle it. 5,000 1st editions were printed. 3,000 were sold the first day (300,000 the first year, and a million copies in England, becoming the best–selling novel of the 19th century). The publisher, John Jewett, knew he could keep his presses running and supply demand for sheets, but binding that many copies of the book so quickly was beyond his resources, so he immediately turned to an outside bindery for help. It is well known that by the 3rd or 4th printing (20th and 25th thousand) sets were being bound in huge numbers this way, in cloth but with completely different blind stamping, Jewett’s imprint moved to the very baseline of the spine (almost lost it’s so low), and with the gilt cover vignette redone, and signed by the engraver of this new vignette, “Feely” in tiny print at the lower right (the vignette on the title page varies from the cover on this binding, see for example, the axe head on the left, and is signed “Smith” and this vignette is the one used for the cover on all other copies of the 1st printing). What was not known until now, was that (at least) one set of 1st printing sheets were bound in the Feely binding, perhaps as a sample, or trial, or for the publisher’s or binder’s files. This is that set, the first discovered and the only one known to me, and unknown to, and unsuspected by, B. A. L. (The Bibliography of American Literature). As an added frill, the Feely binding sheets were given gilt page edges, unlike the usual trade binding with its plain edges, though there were gift bindings with gilt edges. Near fine. Item #266

Price: $40,000.00

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