Details
Autograph Leaves of Our Countrys Authors. Baltimore: Cushings & Bailey, 1864.

A gift to Melville's younger sister Augusta from Cornelia Van Rensselaer Thayer, memorializing Herman Melville. Inscribed on the front pastedown: “Augusta Melville from C.V.R. Thayer, January 1866.” Maria Gansevoort Melville, Herman and Augusta's mother, was descended from the Van Rensselaers, the dominant Dutch family of colonial New York family. Cornelia (1823-1897), known to Augusta as "Nilly," was possibly a cousin. Melville makes reference to his lineage in the first chapter of Moby-Dick when Ishmael describes going to sea "as a simple sailor," noting that the transition "touches one's sense of honor, particularly if you come of an old established family in the land, the Van Rensselaers, or Randolphs, or Hardicanutes." The present volume collects facsimile leaves from Francis Scott Key, Hawthorne, Emerson, Lincoln, Audubon, and many others, most notably Herman Melville, the recipient's brother. BAL 13672 for Melville’s “Inscription for the Slain at Fredericksburgh,” on p. 189, which was collected in Collected Poems (1947).

Small quarto. Original gilt-stamped cloth (a little fading to spine, wear along joints, a little loss at spine ends). Provenance: August Melville, 1821-1876 (gift inscription).
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