"THE JOHNNY APPLESEED OF THE GRAPE, URGING EVERY AMERICAN TO PLANT THE VINE AND MAKE WINE": FIRST EDITION OF GEORGE HUSMANN'S CULTIVATION OF THE NATIVE GRAPE, AND MANUFACTURE OF AMERICAN WINES
HUSMANN, George. Cultivation of the Native Grape, And Manufacture of American Wines. New York: Geo. E. & F.W. Woodward, 1866. Small octavo (5 by 7-1/2 inches), original blind- and gilt-stamped brown cloth, brown endpapers; pp. 192. $1300.
First edition of Husmann's landmark "first substantial book," published the year after the end of the Civil War, written in a Whitmanesque spirit that heralds his vision of a "glorious land of the free with smiling vineyards," featuring 13 full-page and numerous in-text illustrations, in original cloth.
Scientist and horticulturalist Geoge Husmann was "the Johnny Appleseed of the grape, urging every American to plant the vine and make wine." Cultivation of the Native Grape, which is his "first substantial book,… is written in a kind of euphoric excitement that combines the spirit of victory in the Civil War with a vision of wine growing spread all over the nation. Everyone who plants a vine, he wrote in Whitmanesque exaltation, is a 'laborer in the great work to cover this glorious land of the free with smiling vineyards'" (Pinney, Makers of American Wine, xiii, 46). Also known as the "Father of the Missouri Grape Industry," Husmann was "one of the three framers of the Missouri Emancipation Ordinance of 1865," making it the first Union slave state to abolish slavery prior to adoption of the 13tth Amendment (Fuller, Religion and Wine, 32). On moving to California in 1881, Husmann soon became a major force in the development of the California wine industry. He also is credited with saving the French wine industry when he "supplied pest-resistant American vines as stock… [for] the phylloxera-ravaged vineyards of Europe" (Gabler, 135). Containing numerous in-text and 13 full-page illustrations. Gilt-stamped spine reading "Grapes and Wine." Four-page publisher's catalog at rear. Issued in brown (this copy) and green cloth, no priority established. Gabler G24690.
Interior very fresh, faint rubbing, light soiling to cloth. A near-fine copy.