"WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, IN ORDER TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION.. DO ORDAIN AND ESTABLISH THE CONSTITUTION": FIRST SERIAL PRINTING OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION: MATHEW CAREY'S 1787 AMERICAN MUSEUM, ESPECIALLY RARE IN ORIGINAL BOARDS
(CONSTITUTION) CAREY, Mathew, editor. The American Museum, Or Repository of Ancient and Modern Fugitive Pieces, &c. Prose and Poetical. Volume II, Numbers I-VI. Philadelphia: Mathew Carey, July-December, 1787. Thick octavo, original marbled boards rebacked and recornered to style in calf gilt, red morocco spine label; pp. (i), (1-3), 4-11, (12-15), 16 (17), 18-103, (104-107), 108-199, 203, 201-206, (207-211), 212-311, (312-315), 316-415, (416-419), 420-518, (519-523), 524-600, 1-15, (16-17), 18-22. $18,500.
First edition of a true American classic: Mathew Carey's American Museum for 1787 (Volume II: Nos. I-VI), containing in the September issue the first serial printing of the U.S. Constitution and featuring the first serial printings of the first six Federalist papers issued outside of New York City, in original marbled boards.
As Mathew Carey foresaw in the Preface to this volume's July issue of The American Museum, its "good effects… are likely to extend beyond the present generation." Carey's vital and highly esteemed periodical "shares with Columbian Magazine the honor of being the first successful American magazine" (Mott, 100). The American Museum fast became the source of first resort for governmental information, including the proceedings of Congress, activities of cabinet departments, texts of state constitutions, treaties with foreign countries, and current international developments. The September 1787 issue herein contains the first serial printing of the U.S. Constitution—arguably the most important of all American documents (276ff). While Columbian Magazine also printed the Constitution in its September issue, evidence gathered from newspaper advertisements of the time suggest the The American Museum's issue preceded Columbian's by two days. This rare first edition also contains among the first serial printings of the initial Federalist papers, printing "the first six papers in November and December 1787" (Crane, Publius in the Provinces, 590; emphasis added). The American Museum is the "one magazine [that] reprinted some of the essays outside of New York City" (Maggs, Concise Guide, 816).
Carey's pioneering "magazine of great excellencies" also made history in featuring contributors who "were many of the most eminent writers of that day" (Evans 20195). Its distinguished contributors included George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Paine, John Jay, David Rittenhouse, Benjamin West, Philip Freneau, John Trumbull, Noah Webster and Benjamin Rush. Washington himself claimed that "a more useful literary plan had never been undertaken in America" (Sabin VI:145)). The American Museum firmly established Carey as the Revolutionary era's leading publisher and printer. With Federalist Essays I-II in the November issue, preceded by their first newspaper appearances on Oct. 27 and 31, 1787 (441-46), and Essays III-VI heading the December issue (523-34), preceded by their first newspaper appearances from Nov. 3-14, 1787 (Maggs, 842). With list of subscribers, including Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton and John Dickinson. Mispagination as issued without loss of text. Evans 20194. Sabin 1162. ESTC P5392. Early owner signature of Samuel L. Lewis. Trace of early inked initials to fore-edge. Occasional faint marginalia.
Interior generally fresh with light scattered foxing, faint occasional dampstaining, tiny bit of scattered marginal edge-wear without affecting text; mild rubbing to original marbled boards.