HOUGH’S AMERICAN WOODS, WITH 237 FINE MOUNTED WOOD SAMPLES
HOUGH, Romeyn B. American Woods, Vols. I-III. Lowville, New York: Published and Sections Prepared by the Author, 1888-91. Three volumes. Octavo, original tan and navy wrappers, wood samples on card mounts unbound as issued, each volume with its wood samples housed in original blind-stamped cloth chemise and slipcase, metal clasps. $4800.
First editions of the first three volumes of Hough’s monumental compendium of American woods, with 237 wood samples mounted on cards.
Planned as a 15-volume series arranged geographically, only 13 volumes of The American Woods were completed before Romeyn’s death; a 14th volume on the trees of Florida was completed by Hough’s daughter Marjorie Hough in 1924. The present three volumes, the first three of the series, are devoted to the woods of New York and the adjacent states. Most remarkable are the 237 wafer-thin wood samples mounted on 79 card mounts, representing 75 different species of wood. In his introduction, Hough explains that this work is designed “primarily and principally to show, in as compact and perfect a manner as possible, authentic specimens of our American woods, both native and introduced. For that end three sections, respectively transverse, radial and tangential to the grain, are made of each timber, sufficiently thin to allow in a measure the transmission of light, and securely mounted in well made frames.” These beautiful samples were selected personally by the author and prepared by a process he perfected. Because of the long time period over which the series was produced and the fact that many buyers only purchased the volumes for one region, few complete sets were ever assembled; only two are recorded as having been sold at auction in the last 25 years.
Wood samples in excellent condition. Light offsetting to text wrapper for Volume I, repair to spine of text volume original wrappers of Volume III; without part of metal clasp for Volume III. A near-fine copy of this fascinating and beautiful work.