Friday, August 2, 2019

Books autographed by Melville, listed in early Anderson catalogues

Auction catalogues of John Anderson, Jr. in the year 1900 (Numbers 4 and 14) offer two books at some time owned by Herman Melville: The Arts and Artists by James Elmes, 3 vols. (London, 1825); and Mysteries of Corpus Christi, with translations of sacramental Autos (Belshazzar's Feast and The Divine Philothea, plus the first scene of The Poison and the Antidote) from the Spanish of Pedro Calderón de la Barca by Denis Florence MacCarthy (Dublin, 1867). Each of these four volumes has the signature of Herman Melville, according to the catalogue descriptions transcribed below.

The 1867 MacCarthy translation is explicitly described as "From library of Herman Melville." As previously known, Melville owned and annotated Three Dramas of Calderón (Dublin, 1870), also translated by Denis F. MacCarthy. The 1870 volume of Calderón is Sealts Number 114, listed thus in The Online Catalog of Books and Documents Owned, Borrowed and Consulted by Herman Melville at the great Melville's Marginalia Online.

Lot 67 in the Anderson Catalogue of Books, etc. No. 4, For Sale by Auction on Friday, February 16, 1900 is the 1825 London edition of The Arts and Artists by James Elmes, in three volumes:

"67. ELMES (JAS.) The Arts and Artists: or, Anecdotes and Relics of the Schools of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Portraits and vignettes. 3 vols. 18mo, uncut. Lond. 1825
          Autograph of Herman Melville in each volume. Written with pencil."
Links below are for general reference and further study. Harvard has multiple copies of each volume in the three-volume set of Elmes's The Arts and Artists, Google-digitized and accessible online courtesy of Hathi Trust Digital Library. Also available via Google Books:
Lot 323 in the Anderson Catalog of An interesting assortment of Books and Pamphlets No. 14, For Sale By Action over two days in 1900, April 11 (Lots 1-260) and April 12 (Lots 261-end), is Denis F. MacCarthy, Mysteries of Corpus Christi (Dublin, 1867):

"323. MYSTERIES OF CORPUS CHRISTI, from the Spanish, by Denis F. MacCarthy. 12mo. Dublin, 1867.  From library of Herman Melville and contains his autograph."
Harvard University has the 1867 translation by Denis Florence MacCarthy from the Spanish [of Calderón de la Barca], originally the gift of James Russell Lowell and now available online courtesy of Hathi Trust Digital Library; and the Internet Archive:

A different copy of the same title via Google Books:
For essential background, especially on John Anderson, Jr.:
  • Merton M. Sealts, Jr., Pursuing Melville, 1940-1980 (University of Wisconsin Press, 1982), especially Part II, "A Correspondence with Charles Olson," pages 106-107 and 144-147.
  • Oscar Wegelin, "Herman Melville as I Recall Him," The Colophon Vol. 1, New Series, No. 1 (Summer 1935), pages 21-24; reprinted in Steven Olsen-Smith, ed., Melville in His Own Time (University of Iowa Press, 2015), pages 148-151. 
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