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Peabody, Elizabeth Palmer.

Aesthetic Papers.


Black Tulip
Beautiful Copy in Original Wrappers
Peabody, Elizabeth, ed. Aesthetic Papers. Boston / New York: The Editor / G.P. Putnam, 1849.
8vo.; printed wrappers; near fine. In a specially made quarter-morocco slipcase.
First edition of this anthology of cornerstone works of American philosophical thought, edited by Elizabeth Peabody.
Nearly all institutionally held copies of Aesthetic Papers are from a stack of unbound copies discovered in Peabody's attic after her death. A copy in original wrappers is described as "one of the black tulips of American collecting" (Firsts, September, 1999, devoted to Thoreau).
Provenance: acquired from a private collector who writes, "When I purchased it in the opening minutes of the Boston Book Fair a decade ago [i.e. ca. 1995], I casually mentioned my lucky find to a Thoreau expert in attendance-and the word spread quickly around the floor. By the end of the evening three dealers had offered to buy it from me.
It is noteworthy that the original interest for collectors was more in the first appearance of Hawthorne's 'Main Street'-and then Emerson's 'War.' The 20th century has focused (appropriately) on the first of 'Civil Disobedience' in its original form, 'Resistance to Civil Government.'
I looked again in the Stephen Wakeman catalogue and noticed that his copy of Aesthetic Papers was unbound.  I also looked in C E Frazer Clark's "Hawthorne at Auction" (which covers 80 years or so of Hawthorne's appearance at auction ... from the 1890s through the 1970s).  While Aesthetic Papers does show up over the years, when I looked carefully it seems to be the same two copies (one with uncut pages, the other with the owner's name clipped) that cycle through again and again.

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