Notes on the Thoroughbred from Kentucky Newspapers

John L. O'CONNOR

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RARE FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY, OF THIS HISTORY OF KENTUCKY HORSE RACING, ONE OF ONLY 10 COPIES PRINTED, WARMLY INSCRIBED BY THE PUBLISHER TO HIS “BELOVED” AND BOUND IN DELUXE PUBLISHER’S MOROCCO

(THOROUGHBRED RACING) O’CONNOR, John L. Notes on the Thoroughbred from Kentucky Newspapers. (Lexington, Kentucky): Privately printed by Louis Lee Haggin, [1927]. Octavo, original green morocco. Housed in a custom cloth slipcase.

Rare first edition, presentation copy, of this important history of Kentucky race horses and the Kentucky horse-racing industry, one of only 10 copies printed, warmly inscribed by the publisher who oversaw the destruction of the original type to prevent more copies from being printed: “With all my love Beloved. Without you the small part I have done in this book would never have been made. Louis,” handsomely bound in deluxe publisher’s morocco.

“O’Connor was the first person to systematically research the foundations of Thoroughbreds in America. His work became the basis for the writings of Fairfax Harrison, who produced seven volumes [on the subject]. O’Connor, a Thoroughbred enthusiast from an early age, combed early Kentucky newspapers (1788-1833) for notes on racing and stallion advertisements for Thoroughbreds, as well as Quarterhorses and Saddlebreds. The resulting Notes on the Thoroughbred was privately printed by Louis Lee Haggin. [The book] does not have a publication date, nor are the pages numbered. The story goes that the printer missed his completion deadline one too many times. An incensed Haggin picked up the pages while still in galley proof form and had them bound elsewhere” (National Sporting Library Newsletter). According to one bibliographer, “not more than six copies of this work were printed and most were bound in green cloth [this copy is in green morocco]. All other known copies of this work are held in institutions or libraries” (Coleman 2290). In fact, in a 1928 letter, the publisher, Louis Lee Haggin, personally stated that 10 copies of the work were printed, but that “five of [them] I sent to [the compiler] John O’Connor and as I understood they were not to be given away.” Most copies exist in cloth. Presumably, this copy was specially bound for Haggin. Accordingly, this inscribed, morocco-bound copy is of exceptional rarity. Mackay-Smith, National Sporting Library Newsletter, March 1993.

Light rubbing and tiny puncture to binding and a bit of toning to spine. A near-fine copy, inscribed by the publisher and exceptionally rare.

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