An Unusually Attractive Set,
In Fine Blue Morocco and with Extra Volumes
(BINDINGS - RINGER). HAWTHORNE, NATHANIEL.
THE COMPLETE WORKS OF NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE. [bound with] HAWTHORNE, JULIAN. NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE AND HIS WIFE: A BIOGRAPHY.(Cambridge: Printed at the Riverside Press, 1883; 1884). 241 x 171 mm (9 1/2 x 6 3/4"). Two items (the 13-volume set of "Works" and the two-volume biography) bound in 15 volumes. Introductory notes to each volume by George Parsons Lathrop. The "Riverside Edition" (our copy being #233). ONE OF 250 COPIES.
EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE CONTEMPORARY NAVY BLUE STRAIGHT-GRAIN MOROCCO, PLEASINGLY GILT, BY RINGER (stamp-signed on the front pastedown of each volume), covers with double fillet frame and small gilt trefoil cornerpieces, raised bands, gilt spine compartments formed by plain and broken rules and featuring volute cornerpieces and delicate fleuron centerpiece, wide turn-ins with elaborate gilt tooling, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt, other edges untrimmed, TWO VOLUMES UNOPENED AND EIGHT OTHERS PARTIALLY SO. All 15 volumes with frontispieces and title pages with etched vignette. A Large Paper Copy on laid paper. Title pages in red and black. Clark B-10; BAL 7643. Spines uniformly faded to a pleasing blue-green, trivial marks to a handful of covers, one volume with barely perceptible effects of damp (lower corner of the covers just slightly darkened, and top inner margin of many leaves with very faint wrinkling), one opening with minor marginal spot, otherwise A VERY FINE SET, the lovely bindings with no significant wear, and the text, set within very spacious margins, almost entirely very bright, fresh, and clean.
One of the major figures in the history of literature in the United States, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-64) was among those who first inspired the idea of "American literature," a national literature that could take its place alongside its long-established European forebears. Probably more than any other writer of stature in 19th century America, Hawthorne combined vivid imagination with careful, structured craft. In addition to his great achievements--"The Scarlet Letter" of 1850 and "The House of Seven Gables" (1851)--our handsome edition includes all of the lesser narrative and non-fiction writings, including voluminous entries from his journals, said to contain upwards of 300,000 words. The Riverside Hawthorne was originally published in 12 volumes, and it is normally sold that way. Our copy has, in addition, a 13th volume containing "Doctor Grimshawe's Secret," as well as a uniformly bound, separately published, biography of Hawthorne (and his wife) by Julian Hawthorne. Our binder is apparently the P. Ringer who was well established in Chicago at the time of publication. He hired the German emigré Ernst Hertzberg about 1870, and eventually the two became Ringer and Hertzberg. In giving a summary of important American binders in the second half of the 19th century, "Appleton's Annual Cyclopædia" from 1901 listed the Ringer firm in the same paragraph with such eminent binders as Stikeman, Matthews, MacDonald, and the Club Bindery. (Ringer was eventually bought out by Hertzberg, and the latter's establishment came to be known as the Monastery Hill Bindery, named after the monastic ruins in the owner's birthplace of Gramzow in Germany.) It is possible that Ringer had a contract with the Riverside Press to supply deluxe versions of the bindings for their sets: in addition to the present bindings, we note that there was a set of the Riverside edition of the works of Longfellow (11 volumes, 1886) in a Ringer binding (of half morocco) sold at Bonham's in 2003. Our edition does not often appear at auction: only four copies are listed in ABPC since 1975, and none of those is in full leather. (CAB07074)