BARBER’S HISTORY AND ANTIQUITIES OF NEW HAVEN, WITH EIGHT HAND-COLORED ENGRAVINGS, INCLUDING DOOLITTLE’S FAMOUS ENGRAVING OF THE BATTLE OF LEXINGTON, DOOLITTLE’S OWN COPY
BARBER, J, W. History and Antiquities of New Haven, (Conn.) From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time. Collected and Compiled from the Most Authentic Sources. New Haven: J.W. Barber, 1831[-32]. 12mo, early 20th-century full red morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $1250.
First edition, with eight hand-colored engraved plates, including Amos Doolittle’s famous 1775 engraving of the Battle of Lexington, re-engraved by Doolittle and Barber for this volume. The copy of Amos Doolittle, with his owner signature. Very handsomely bound by the Club Bindery.
After setting up shop in New Haven in 1823, J.W. Barber became one of the most important and prolific engravers of the early 19th-century. In 1827, Barber "traveled around the country in a horse and wagon, interviewing witnesses to local historical events and collecting data from books, newspapers, gravestones, and other sources that he thought would yield useful information on the nation's past… Barber was largely self-educated and never claimed to be engaged in rigorous historical scholarship. His work, however, has been valuable to historians, folklorists, and those engaged in American studies. The sheer volume of engravings that he produced makes him a unique figure in the mid-nineteenth century, and the mass of anecdotes that he collected on local levels has been fruitfully mined by later scholars" (ANB).
"This very rare volume contains 6 hand-colored plates, all drawn and engraved by Barber with the exception of the famous picture of the Battle of Lexington, originally drawn by Early and engraved by Doolittle in 1775, here re-engraved by A. Doolittle and Barber" (Bennett, 8). Engraver and silversmith Amos Doolittle was known as "The Revere of Connecticut." This copy bears Doolittle's ownership signature, "Amos Doolittle, New Haven 1831." With 1832 addenda slip to table of contents, as called for. Stauffer I:66-67. Howes B125. Sabin 3323. Bennett, 8. Hamilton 364. Bookplate. 1839 gift inscription beneath Doolittle's signature.
Plates and text generally fresh, binding handsome. A fine copy with an extraordinary provenance.