THE COMPLETE WORKS.(Cambridge: Printed at the Riverside Press, 1883). 248 x 159 mm (9 3/4 x 6 1/4"). 13 volumes. Introductory notes to each volume by George Parsons Lathrop. No. 68 OF 250 COPIES of the "Riverside Edition."
Restrained but attractive early 20th century brown crushed morocco by Ernst Hertzberg & Sons (stamp-signed on rear free endpaper), covers with frame formed by pairs of plain gilt rules and a single gilt dot at each corner, raised bands, spine compartments gilt in the same design as the covers, gilt titling, turn-ins densely gilt in a palmette pattern, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt, other edges rough trimmed. All 13 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 faintly and evenly sunned, just a hint of wear to the tops of three spines, but A BEAUTIFUL SET, the lustrous bindings almost entirely unworn, and the text unusually clean, fresh, and bright.
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 contains all of the lesser narrative and non-fiction writings, including voluminous entries from his journals, said to contain upwards of 300,000 words. This copy has the original 12 volumes that normally make up the set, along with an additional 13th volume containing "Doctor Grimshawe's Secret," edited by Julian Hawthorne. Ernst Hertzberg, who learned to bind in his native Germany, went to work as a finisher for the Ringer bindery after immigrating to Chicago, and he eventually became a partner in the business. He also collected Napoleonic prints and documents with the goal of binding an extra-illustrated edition of William Milligan Sloane's "Life of Napoleon Bonaparte." The completed project was exhibited at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, where it won top honors for bookbinding. Hertzberg sold the set to a private collector for the then-staggering sum of $12,000, which allowed him to buy out his partner and set up his own bindery. Our edition does not often appear at auction: only five copies are listed in ABPC since 1975, and none of those is in full leather. (ST11462a-239)