With 450 Extra, Sometimes Significant, Civil War Items Inserted into Eight Handsomely Bound Volumes


(New York: [Printed by The De Vinne Press for] The Century Co., 1887-88). 285 x 190 mm. (11 1/4 x 7 1/2"). Four volumes expanded to eight. First Edition in book form.

VERY HANDSOME SCARLET MOROCCO, covers elegantly tooled in gilt, spine panels with gilt floral frames surrounding a central tulip, gilt titling, NAVY MOROCCO DOUBLURES bordered by red morocco, with gilt rules and floral embellishments in each corner and along the sides, densely gilt turn-ins, cream-colored watered silk endleaves, leather hinges, top edge gilt. With numerous maps and black & white illustrations, and EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED WITH OVER 450 ITEMS in the form of views, portraits, telegrams, handwritten letters, signatures, and clippings. Eicher, David J., "The Civil War in Books: An Analytical Bibliography" 743. ◆Three volumes with paper missing across hinges after endleaves in front and/or back (but all volumes sound because of secure leather hinges at very front and back), occasional minor foxing, light browning, and other minor imperfections to extra-illustrated material, but A VERY FINE SET, the contents clean and bright, and the very attractive bindings scarcely worn.

This is a beautifully bound and physically very substantial set containing an important collection of first-hand accounts of the Civil War, extra-illustrated with an extraordinary assemblage of contemporary images, documents, and ephemera that provide a fascinating visual record of the era. "Written by dozens of [the Civil War's] leading participants," Eicher says, "this work sheds light on many major battles and minor skirmishes, as well as revealing much about the strategy and tactics of numerous campaigns." First published in the "Century" magazine from 1884-87, the series proved enormously successful and was issued in book form in 1887-88. Eicher gives us an overview of the contents by the numbers: "The 388 articles by 226 authors are accompanied by 197 well-drawn maps, [and] nearly 1500 engraved illustrations, statistical summaries, orders of battle, and editorial notes inserted by Johnson and Buel." He adds that "The engravings are among the best related to Civil War history." In addition to the extensive illustrations included in the original work, our special copy incorporates a trove of extra material consisting of portraits of Union and Confederate officers, scenes of battle, views of military sites and government buildings, autograph letters, original telegrams, signatures of contemporary statesmen, and clippings from contemporary publications--a number of which are satirical images. Among many others, signatures here include those of Confederacy president Jefferson Davis, George B. McClellan (Union general and organizer of the Union Army of the Potomac), James G. Blaine (Secretary of State under three presidents), Hannibal Hamlin (vice president during Lincoln's first term), Samuel French (Confederate general), and Phillip Sheridan (Union general and General of the Army under Grover Cleveland). Eicher considers the set an invaluable resource for historians, noting that its "Numerous accounts by general officers make this work a necessary, primary source for all Civil War libraries." While Eicher adds that the work "should be read carefully and often," our set has obviously been very little used. It survives in excellent condition, and the tall, handsome bindings make a fine appearance on the shelf. This set fetched $10,450 at Swann Galleries when it sold in 1990.

Price: $17,500.00