BENJAMIN WEST’S BICKERSTAFF’S BOSTON ALMANACK FOR 1772
[WEST, Benjamin]. Bickerstaff’s Boston Almanack. For the Year of Our Lord, 1772. Being Leap Year. Boston: John Fleeming, . 12mo, disbound; pp. . $1250.
First edition of this charming early Bickerstaff’s Almanack, with humorous anecdotes and a full-page woodcut of “The Wonderful MAN FISH.”
In 1768 Benjamin West revived the name Isaac Bickerstaff, originated in 1707 by Dean Swift, and issued Bickerstaff’s Boston Almanac. This was the most important of several almanacs West helped produce, in part because it was the first extensively illustrated almanac series in America. West continued Bickerstaff’s annually from 1768 through the issue for 1779 and for 1783-93 (as published by Benjamin Russell). The present almanac contains an anecdote about the catching of the Man Fish (merman) in Oxford, England, to accompany the illustration. Title page with woodcut portrait of “The Right Honourable William Pitt,” with a dedicatory poem beginning “Hail first of Patriots!”; with a “man of signs” woodcut on page 3. Without last two leaves of text. Drake 3210. Evans 12281.
Two tears across fragile front wrapper (title page) seamlessly repaired, a few small closed tears throughout, including to woodcut illustration; much less edge-wear to text than often found in early almanacs. A very good copy. Scarce.