Sunday, August 4, 2019

1817 book by Mary and P. B. Shelley, from the library of Herman Melville

Herman Melville died in September 1891. His widow Elizabeth and daughter "Bessie" moved to the Florence Apartments on June 7, 1892, as documented by John M. Gretchko in The Florence, Leviathan Volume 16, Number 1 (March 2014), pages 22-32 at 30. Before that, as Steven Olsen-Smith recounts, lots of volumes in Herman Melville's library
"were sold off to second-hand bookdealers in February, 1892, when Melville's widow, Elizabeth Shaw Melville, was preparing to vacate their residence of 28 years at 104 East 26th Street in Manhattan." -- A Fourth Supplementary Note to Melville's Reading (1988), Leviathan Volume 2, Issue 1 (March 2000), pages 105-111 at 106. 
In Melville's Reading (University of Wisconsin Press, 1966), Merton M. Sealts, Jr. reported that Francis Harper and his younger brother Lathrop C. Harper purchased an unknown number of unidentified books from Mrs. Melville (page 6 and page 122, note 13); reprinted in Sealts, Pursuing Melville, 1940-1980 (University of Wisconsin Press, 1982), page 35.

Here's one. Among "recent additions to the stock of Francis P. Harper" in May 1892 was the 1817 first edition of Mary Shelley's History of a Six Weeks' Tour, "from the library of Herman Melville, with his autograph in pencil." Listed in Harper's Catalogue of Standard and Out-of-Print Books No. 54 (May 1892), page 24:
476 Shelley, P. B. and Mary. History of a Six-Weeks' Tour through a Part of France, Switzerland, Germany and Holland, with letters, etc. 12mo, cloth, pp. 183. Lond., 1817. $6.00

First Edition, from the library of Herman Melville, with his autograph in pencil.
--Selected Catalogues, 1890-1895 via Google Books:
      Largely Mary Shelley's History of a six weeks' tour, the 1817 volume has a preface and two letters by her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, and concludes with first printing of P B Shelley's poem Mont Blanc.
      The first edition of History of a Six Weeks' Tour is accessible online courtesy of The British Library; Hathi Trust Digital Library; and the Internet Archive:

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