Philadelphia: H. C. Carey & I. Lea, 1824. First edition. 4 volumes. Uncut in original printed paper wrappers. Housed in a custom brown cloth box, black morocco label. Spines of parts I, II and IV chipped, parts I and II with residue of old tape repair to spines, joints splitting at ends, chipping around wrapper extremities, rear cover of part II loosening with large chip at head, foxed. Still a very good copy in the scarce and fragile wrappers.
First edition of Irving’s collection of short stories, published under his pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon, all of which are here printed for the first time. Irving wrote to his sister Catharine that "for my own part, I think there are in it some of the best things I have ever written" (Washington Irving: The Definitive Biography). The American and British editions (the latter published by John Murray, and including five additional stories) were published simultaneously (ibid).
The book presents an interesting bibliographic specimen: the printer C. S. Van Winkle of New York initially put his own name on the wrappers, but Carey & Lea rejected this and requested their own imprint. To salvage the paper, the wrappers were reversed and reprinted, and used for parts I and IV, with the Van Winkle title page covered by the rear pastedown. Additionally, BAL notes an issue with the title page misspelling the publisher’s name “I. Lee”, here corrected; part II is in Langfeld’s first state, with “at housand” on p. 99, subsequently corrected to “a thousand”. The copy has an old catalogue description from the American book dealer James F. Drake loosely inserted, where they boldly state that “this is undoubtedly one of the most interesting copies of a book in parts which we have ever seen”.
BAL 10116. Langfeld 25. (Item #2502)