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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Virginiana I ...

We’d best mention some of our books on Virginia before we venture any further into Blog Land.  (When I visited a California antique shop in the mid seventies, I was surprised to see a “Buffalo Mineral Springs” bottle on a shelf behind the owners desk.  I asked to see the bottle and mentioned that I grew up about a mile from Buffalo Springs in Virginia.  He handed me the bottle and muttered just loudly enough for me to hear, “Damn Virginians, you never have to ask where they’re from, give them a minute and they'll hit you with it.  What makes them think their state is so special.”)

We have a few books that might shed some light on that subject:

A two volume set of Travels and Works of Captain John Smith, President of Virginia and Admiral of New England 1589-1631.  This is a 1910 “new edition” edited by Edward Arber with a biographical and critical introduction by A. G. Bradley, published by John Grant in Edinburgh.   The two volumes includes many black and white maps (some folded-in), engravings, and facsimile documents to illustrate the writings of John Smith:  a soldier, explorer and one of the leaders of the Virginia Colony (based at Jamestown).  There are 984 packed pages in the two volume set. 
A very handsome set of these books printed 
103 years ago priced at $150.

A First Edition of The First Gentlemen of Virginia by Louis B. Wright published by the Huntington Library in 1940 consisting of 371 pages.  As the dust jacket details, “Dr. Wright....from inventories of libraries, from letters and journals, and from other scattered sources...has brought together evidence of the inner life, of the spiritual and intellectual natures, of the Virginians who created the remarkable social order that took shape in the period before the death of William Byrd II in 1744...Their intelligence and wisdom helped shape the destiny of the nation in 1776 and 1787."  
Our copy is is in very good condition with an unclipped dust jacket and priced at $50.

A First Edition of Traditional Ballads of Virginia Collected Under the Auspices of the Virginia Folk-Lore Society edited by Arthur Kyle Davie, Jr. and published by the Harvard University Press in 1929 consisting of 634 pages with 9 pages of photographs and a fold out map.  It’s the fascinating culmination of many Virginia Folk-Lore Society members trudging the hills, hollows and towns to codify Virginians’ interpretation of traditional ballads in words and music.  There are examples from 100 counties and the members recorded many variations of particular ballads (Bonny Barbara Allen had 92  documented variations... 36 word variations and 12 music variations are included in this book).
Our copy is is in very good condition priced at $95.

A First Edition of The Pottery of the Shenandoah Valley Region by H. E. Comstock and published by The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina/distributed by the University of North Carolina in 1994 consisting of 538 pages filled with wonderful illustrations.  This region (Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania) has a tradition of utilitarian folk pottery dating back to 1750 and Mr. Comstock presents a comprehensive study including a general history of the pottery trade, a well-illustrated description of the pieces produced in the valley, and biographical sketches of individual potters.  A beautiful, informative book that is now difficult to find at a price less than $400 to $500.  
Our copy is in like new condition and priced at $350.

Oh yes, about the Buffalo Springs bottle...I had to hand it back to the Antique Dealer,
it was a reproduction...the first reproduction I had seen.  But I came away happy with the thought that the “Lady by the Spring” bottle from a small place in Virginia had been deemed beautiful enough to be reproduced.

Tis a special place, this Commonwealth of Virginia.

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