Friday, October 4, 2013

Serendipity at the Library

In my essay "A Research Trip to Cleveland," I wrote about two Hoyles I saw in the White Collection that were gathered in nines. I quoted Fredson Bowers from his Principles of Bibliographical Description:
There do exist, however, a very few extraordinary books for which it would be acceptable to use odd index numbers when the odd leaves indicate a consistent method of printing a whole book and not simply of an isolated gathering...Jacob Blanck in a recent article on Washington Irving's Salmagundi pamphlets (1807-1808), which often exhibit the initial gathering in 9's and even in 11's, refers to several early nineteenth-centruy books regularly gathered in 9's. (page 228-9)
Today I went to the San Francisco Public Library to read the Blanck article, "Salmagundi and its Publishers" in Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Volume 41, First Quarter 1947, pp1-32.

Salmagundi is a periodical written by Washington Irving, his brother William, and James Kirke Paulding. It was issued in 20 parts in 1807 and 1808. The Blanck article describes each part according to the (pre-Bowers) bibliographical standards of the day and provides an interesting overview of the publisher, David Longworth of New York. Blanck details a number of Longworth's eccentricities, such as puffing his own business in city directories he published in the early 19th century and habitually not capitalizing "new-york."

As to the nine-leaf gatherings, Black notes:
Another of Longworth's eccentricities becomes evident when one collates Salmagundi and discovers the existence of many gatherings in nine, and one in eleven, the full significance of which can be appreciated only by a printer.6a 
The footnote continues:
6aBooks in nine are so infrequent that other examples may be of interest. Longworth was responsible for at least one other: Willia Dunlap's Ribbemont, Or The Feudal Baron, A Tragedy in Five Acts..., New-York. Printed And Published by D. Longworth...1803; this collates: [A]-D9. Longworth had no monopoly and this peculiar for of book-making. Another example is Joe Miller's Jests...A New Edition, London: Printed [by T. Kaygill, Strand] For Duncombe...[n. d., ca, 1810]. The "Jest Book," a bibliographical jest indeed, collates: [A]1, B-H9, I8.
And the serendipity? The publisher David Longworth is quite familiar to me. He published the second edition of Hoyle in America, a book I describe in "The New Pocket Hoyle, New York, 1803." The Blanck article made me wonder whether Longworth's New Pocket Hoyle might be gathered in nines--I had never collated it.

I came home to examine my copy and found it was gathered in eights, with a prosaic collation of A-G8. I must say, I was a bit disappointed! But it was amusing to seek out the PBSA article for a footnote and be entertained by the entire article!

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