Member Blogs > Read'Em Again BooksGetting Ready for the VABA Book Fair in Richmond - 25 April 2016

  • Mon, 25 Apr 2016 10:58:25    Permalink

    This weekend on Friday and Saturday, 29 and 30 April 2016, the annual Virginia Antiquarian Booksellers Association Book Fair will be held at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond.  Admission is free and, as it says at the VABA site, there will be “more than 40 of the country's finest booksellers under one roof, offering books, manuscripts, maps, autographs, art and ephemera for every taste and budget.”
    We’ll be there in Booth 37, and we hope you stop and browse through our stock.  We’ll have a nice selection of Virginiana, Civil War material, and general books and ephemera on hand ranging in price from $10 to $5,000.  Here are a few the more interesting things we’re bringing:

    A Manuscript Ciphering and Surveying Book prepared by Samuel Crockett Draper in 1804 at Draper’s Meadow in Wyeth (now Pulaski) County.  Samuel, a member of one of the most prominent and prosperous families of Southwestern Virginia, was the grandson of John Draper Sr, the son of John Draper Jr, and the nephew of Mary Ingles.  He prepared this ciphering book after the family had successfully recovered from the infamous Shawnee massacre of the Draper Meadows settlement in which all of the nine men, women, and children who were present (including Samuel’s aunt, two cousins, and his father’s first wife) were either killed or taken captive. The book contains about 280 pages, many with finely drawn proofs and illustrations, covering not just arithmetic and algebra but far more advanced subjects related to surveying including geometry, trigonometry, logarithms, use of the survey chain, approximating heights, computation of areas, and division of lands. Three pages contain draft land indentures. Four land transfers and tax receipts (one of which references ownership of 16 slaves) are laid in.  ($1,500)

    A War of 1812 Manuscript Memorandum Book. In 1814, before he set off to fulfill his duties as the Quartermaster of the 92nd Regiment of Virginia Militia during the War of 1812, Ellyson Currie prepared these instructions for his family to use in keeping their Lancaster County farm running smoothly.  In it, he provides detailed guidance regarding provender, dung, weevils, potatoes, mending railings, sheep and cattle, hogs, tools (plows, hoes, etc.), the still, house security, hired hands, and possible live-in help.  The book also contains several records of payments including two to Billy and Ellie, “free negro lads.” ($1,000)

    A collection of War of 1812 Militia Order Book Pages from 1814-1815, prepared for units commanded by Colonel Moses Green and General Robert Porterfield.  The records are for the 2nd Elite Corps of Virginia Militia and the 2nd Virginia Militia Regiment and many contain the records of a number of interesting courts martial and their resulting sentences.  Unit orders are posted in the pages as well; the two most important include one in which the commander decries the behavior of his units' soldiers and inattention of its officers and the other provided directs the disbanding the unit and provides detailed guidance directing disposition of its personnel and equipment.  ($800)

    Joseph Martin’s New and Comprehensive Gazetteer of Virginia and the District of Columbia, published in 1835.  The gazetteer is complete and includes the folding color map which is almost always missing.  Martin’s work is not only scarce; it is historically valuable as well, providing some of the most detailed and concise information about ante-bellum Virginia and DC.   Using data consolidated from local contributors, Martin was able to provide exceptionally detailed accounts about nearly all communities in Virginia and the District of Columbia including their boundaries, geology, scenery, topography and noteworthy natural attractions, weather, people, government, religion, education, militia, hospitals, prisons, industry, agriculture, finance, and much more. ($1,750)

    Three important and very hard-to-find Confederate imprints relating to the practice of medicine within the southern army.  

    A Turn-of-the Century Virginia Photograph Album, circa 1905.  The album contains over 110 photographs (three of which are cyanotypes) that show Richmond landmarks including the General Lee equestrian statue on Monument Avenue, the Governor's mansion, St. Paul's Church with its old spire, Stonewall Jackson's statue in front of the Old City Hall, the Confederate White House, what appears to be the temporary arch erected as an entryway to a Broad Street carnival in 1900, etc.  There is also a group of five photographs showing an African-American family at what appears to be a sharecropper's cabin.  Three photos are of a football game (possibly the Spiders) and a number are of a racing shell training upon a river (perhaps the James).  A group of pictures (possibly from Tidewater and Norfolk) show bathers on a beach and anchored naval and commercial sailing ships.  Two pages of photos show a young man on a railroad velocipede and a short industrial train with logs and pulpwood pulled by an old 4-4-0 steam locomotive.  ($250)

    Oh, I almost forgot.  The book fair opens at 1:00 pm on Friday, but be sure to come early if you have any interest in the American Civil War.  The noted scholar James I. Robertson will begin a presentation about John Beauchamp Jones, “The Civil War's Most Valuable Diarist” at noon.

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