WANDERINGS AMONG THE FALASHAS IN ABYSSINIA, 1862 ILLUSTRATED FIRST EDITION
STERN, Reverend Henry A. Wanderings Among the Falashas in Abyssinia; Together with a Description of the Country and its Various Inhabitants. London: Wertheim, Macintosh, and Hunt, 1862. Octavo, original blue cloth rebacked, with original spine laid down, marbled endpapers. $2800.
First edition of this fascinating look at Ethiopian Jews, one of the earliest obtainable works in English on the Falashas, with eight tinted lithographed plates, in-text engravings, and one folding map.
Henry Aaron Stern was born a Jew in Germany in 1820. Upon converting to Christianity in 1840, Stern joined the Hebrew College of the London Jews’ Society with the intention of becoming a missionary. He traveled widely, working as a missionary to Jewish communities in Baghdad, Jerusalem, and Constantinople, among other places. The London Jews’ Society became particularly interested in the fate of Ethiopia’s Jews, and requested that Stern travel there. In 1863, he became a captive in Ethiopia, where he “was subjected to especially cruel tortures and indignities, for he was charged by the king with having reflected, in his book entitled ‘Wanderings among the Falashas,’ on the king’s ferocity, and with having stated that his mother was a vendor of Kosso” (DNB), a common medicinal plant.
Interior fine. Rebacked original cloth quite clean, with original spine laid down. An excellent copy.