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An Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln by Stephenson, Unique Cosway Style Binding



An Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln by Nathaniel Wright Stephenson

First Edition Published Blue Ribbon Books, New York in 1926

Unique “Cosway Style Binding”

FINE Condition

Full Title:  An Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln: Consisting of the Personal Portions of His Letters, Speeches and Conversations

Binding Details:  Stunning “Cosway Style” binding in full maroon morocco leather that features a fine hand-painted portrait miniature of Abraham Lincoln under glass inlaid to the front cover. The spine treatment consists of raised bands with elaborate gilt decorations, and titling. Both the front and rear covers are triple gilt ruled with a scrolled  decorative motif. There are elaborate gilt dentelles and silk doublures. All page edges are gold gilted. The book is housed in a functional clamshell box with titling to the spine.

About Cosway Bindings

Cosway bindings (named for renowned 19th-century English miniaturist Richard Cosway) were first commissioned in the early 1900s by J.H. Stonehouse, managing director of London booksellers Sotheran & Company, from the famous Rivière bindery, who employed Miss C.B. Currie to faithfully imitate Cosway's detailed watercolor style of portraiture. These delicate miniature paintings, often on ivory, were set into the covers or doublures of richly-tooled bindings and protected by a thin pane of glass. Cosway bindings executed by other than the original collaborators (Stonehouse, Sotheran, Rivière, and Currie) are designated as "Cosway-style" bindings.

Book Details:  This is a first edition of “An Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln: Consisting of the Personal Portions of His Letters, Speeches and Conversations" compiled and annotated by Nathaniel Wright Stephenson and published by Blue Ribbon Books, New York in 1926.

Arthur C. Cole in his review of the book in The American Historical Review, Volume 32, Issue 3, dated April, 1927 wrote: “An Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln” is an arresting title. Mr. Stephenson, author of Abraham Lincoln and the Union and a provocative study of Lincoln’s personal life, uses it in a volume of 468 pages, exclusive of index and tables – and justifies its use. Mr. Stephenson had rich material from which to make his compilation. There is Lincoln’s captivating autobiography carrying him up to 1860, his many letter, his state papers, and public addresses beginning when he was but twenty-three and continuing until his death, when he was fifty-six. Mr. Stephenson has added a few well-authenticated conversations and stories. The result is the man’s own effort to account for himself, to express his feelings and views, to set forth his thinking, his hopes and fears, his faith and his mistrusts. The book is helped materially by explanatory lines, separating the quotations at intervals and having the effect of titles in moving pictures. They not only carry the story intelligently to the reader but they give Mr. Stephenson an opportunity to hint at this own interpretation of the man.”

The book measures approximately 8.25” x 5.75” x 1.75 with 501 pages that includes a table of sources, author’s preface, index, and list of illustrations that includes political cartoons, photographs and newspaper articles.

Condition Report:  The binding is in FINE condition with some very superficial marks to the gold gitled page ends. Internally, the book is very clean with no bookplates or other signs of previous ownership. The functional clamshell box is in Very Good condition with some soiling and wear.

Photographs of the binding, gilt dentelles and silk doublures, clamshell box, and list of illustrations appear in the photo section of the listing.