Flora's Dictionary: WIRT, Elizabeth Washington Gamble (1784-1857) Flora's Dictionary: WIRT, Elizabeth Washington Gamble (1784-1857) Flora's Dictionary: WIRT, Elizabeth Washington Gamble (1784-1857)

Flora's Dictionary

WIRT, Elizabeth Washington Gamble (1784-1857)

Published by published by Lucas Brothers, Baltimore, 1855
Hardcover
From Donald A. Heald Rare Books (ABAA) (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

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(11 1/4 x 8 3/4 inches). Chromolithographic additional title and presentation leaf after John McLenan, 56 hand-coloured lithographic plates after Miss Ann Smith, numerous wood-engraved illustrations, letterpress title and each page of text with decorative wood-engraved page surrounds. Publisher's black morocco gilt, covers blocked in gilt with an overall design incorporating the title and a young couple seated on a grassy knoll, the spine in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in the second, the others with repeat decoration in gilt, gilt turn-ins, glazed endpapers, g.e. A very fine example of a popular 19th-century American colour-plate book: here in its most deluxe form, with the maximum number of plates and an exceptional "super extra" publisher's binding. The binding is an example of American mid-19th century design at its most exuberant: within a border largely composed from fresh-cut wooden poles with intertwining climbing plants, a pair of young lovers sit on a flower-bedecked knoll. They hold between them the present work which they examine carefully. Above and behind them is a giant epergne laden with Solomon's seal, roses, columbine and grasses. The main section of text of Flora's Dictionary is made up of about 230 entries arranged alphabetically from Acacia Rose (friendship) to Zinnia (absence). Each entry includes a brief definition (Laburnum: pensive beauty; Ranunculus: I am dazzled by your charms; etc.), followed by a selection of appropriate verses, from both the classics and contemporary authors. The next two sections deal with the botanical aspects of the flowers but also include the derivation of the name and the Linnaean classification of each flower. This is followed by a calendar with an appropriate flower for every day of the year. Finally, there is an index of sentiments arranged alphabetically with the appropriate flowers. Elizabeth Washington Gamble the author of the present work was the daughter of Robert and Catherine Gamble of Richmond, Virginia and became William Wirt's second wife in 1802. They purchased a house in Richmond in 1808 and went on to raise a family of ten children. The present work is based on Elizabeth Wirt's manuscript of favorite quotations about flowers, which was first published anonymously as Flora's Dictionary in 1829. Later editions (such as the present example) identified the author as Mrs. E. W. Wirt of Virginia. A very rare 1855 publisher's broadside in the University of Virginia collection (R.O. Hummel Southeastern Broadsides 4405) gives details of the three forms in which this edition was issued. The present example of this "most Splendid Gift Book of the Season! / and / A Gift Book for all Seasons!!!" is from the most expensive and luxurious issue (cost $16.00): "First. - Richly illuminated title and presentation plate. Fifty-six groups [i.e. plates] colored from nature, illustrating all the flowers in the book. Bound in Turkey morocco, super extra, gilt edges [this copy], and Turkey morocco, antique, gilt edges." The next most expensive cost $9.00: "Second. - Richly illuminated title and presentation plate. Twelve groups colored from nature. Bound in morocco, extra, gilt edges and full gilt sides." The $6.00 issue, included the title, presentation plate and six plates and was bound in "super extra muslin, gilt edges and full gilt sides." Bennett p.115 (1837 edition); McGrath p.36 (1837 edition); Reese Stamped with a National Character 52 (1837 edition); Sabin 104868 (1837 and 1855 editions). Bookseller Inventory # 20387

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Flora's Dictionary

Publisher: published by Lucas Brothers, Baltimore

Publication Date: 1855

Binding: Quarto

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To order, please telephone, fax or e-mail. Payment may be made by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, America Express, check, or by wire transfer (please ask for details). Paypal funds should be sent to info@donaldheald.com Any purchase may be returned within ten days of receipt. We ask that you notify us of the return as soon as possible. Donald Heald Donald Heald Rare Books 124 East 74th Street New York, NY 10021 Telephone: 212-744-3505 Fax: 212-628-7847 info@donaldheald.com


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