The Rainbow. 1848. Edited by A.J. MacDonald.

The Rainbow. 1848. Edited by A.J. MacDonald.
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Albany: A. L. Harrison, and New York, Bell and Gould, 1848. 8vo, engraved title, printed title-page, iii-viii(preface and contents), [9]-272pp. With 9 engraved plates. Original cream calf, color-stamped in red, dark blue/green, and gold, heavily gilt, all edges gilt, decorated glazed end papers in psychedelic blue and gold wavy border designs enclosing an elaborate calligraphic device, signed in gilt on the backstrip “A. L. Harrison Binder” at the head and “Patent Stereographic Binding” at the foot. Hinges cracked but sound, slight extremity wear, overall an amazingly well preserved copy of a quintessential American binding imitating the British bindings of the same period. First edition, second issue with the date changed to 1848. Kevin McDonnell who published on American gift books noted: “An anthology of works by William Gilmore Simms, James T. Fields (the publisher), Sarah Helen Whitman (Poe's fiancée), and a host of female writers. One of the most striking American bindings of the nineteenth century. Copies were later issued with the dates on the binding and in the text altered to make it appear to be an 1848 publication. This binding is one of only a handful of books pictured in BAL (I:202) and the details of its publication are described in [McDonnell’s] article on gift-books in Firsts Magazine (December, 2001). For many years this was regarded as a stenciled binding, but the original patent (#5327, granted October 9, 1847) describes the process using wood blocks inked with flannel and stamped on the leather after first blindstamping the pattern for the gilding. ‘This binding is unusually successful from a technical point of view.’--Maser. Not in Papantonio. Maser 47 (illustrated; first state only, describing the colors as "onlays"). BAL 5921 and 1027 (illustrated, and describing the binding as stenciled). In my experience with this kind of gift binding as created in England, onlays may be a more accurate description of the technique. (Item Id: 109257)

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