[Articles of the Carpenters Company of Philadelphia and Their Rules for Measuring and Valuing House-Carpenters Work. Philadelphia: Hall and Sellers, 1786.]

A rare survival, in its original binding, of a pre-1800 price bookpublished for the exclusive use of the members of the Carpenters Company of Philadelphia. Only a single leaf of text remains in this fragment. The CCCCP rules were a closely guarded secret: "any member showing it to outsiders was liable to expulsion ... Even Thomas Jefferson, writing from Charlottesville, was unable to obtain one as late as 1817" (Petersen). This copy still includes the printed bookplate of the Company, but seems to have passed into the ownership of the son or perhaps nephew of one of its members, Abraham Carlile. Possibly the text leaves were removed by a later descendant to obscure the "forbidden knowledge" of the Company's rules. For obvious reasons, the book is now extremely difficult to obtain; the last copy recorded at auction was in 1924, also incomplete with only 21 plates. See Charles E. Peterson, The Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia 1786 Rule Book (1971).

Octavo (182 x 113mm). 35 plates of various sizes, 2 of which folding, numbered irregularly in manuscript (some trimmed with losses, a little dustsoiled); a single leaf of text [pp. 29-30] with manuscript prices filled in beneath printed currency labels. Contemporary sheep (rebacked in the 19th-century, worn, text block cracked with some leaves detached). Provenance: full-page printed bookplate of the Carpenter's company with the name of "John Wilson" written in, covered over by a printed slip with the name of "Isaac P. Carlile" - effaced bookplate on front pastedown. Custom chemise and slipcase.

[With:] PETERSON, Charles E., editor. The Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia 1786 Rule Book. New York: Bell Publishing Company, 1971.
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