“YOU WILL NOT FIND THE ROAD DULL”: THE BREAD OF OUR FOREFATHERS, WILLIAM ASHLEY’S IN-DEPTH STUDY OF BRITISH BREAD, 1928
ASHLEY, Sir William. The Bread of our Forefathers: An Inquiry in Economic History. Oxford: Clarendon, 1928. Octavo, original blue cloth, uncut. $150.
First edition of Ashely’s significant study in British agrarian history, with several illustrations, including two large folding maps of grain stocks and soil distribution.
Holder of the English-speaking world’s first chair in economic history (established at Harvard in 1892), Ashley was in 1923 “appointed Ford’s lecturer at Oxford, and took as his subject the place of rye in the dietary of the English people. His work on the [post-World War I] agricultural tribunal made it impossible for him to deliver the lectures, but on his retirement in 1925 he returned to the subject with great enthusiasm… Although soon stricken with disease, he struggled on with great courage, and the manuscript of his book was completed a few weeks before his death [in 1927]… It appeared posthumously” in the present volume (DNB). In its pages, Ashley demonstrates how the question of bread in 12th-to-18th century England, “at first sight purely antiquarian… is bound up with some of the most fundamental problems of our economic and social history,” such as liturgical controversies, class status and the physical effects of industrialization and urbanization. Bitting, 17. Bookplate. Pencil owner signature.
Light foxing to folding maps, text generally clean. Slight toning to spine, a few negligible abrasions to boards. A near-fine copy.