Washington: Printed by Jacob Gideon, Jr., 1835. First edition. 12mo, original embossed blue cloth spine, drab boards, printed paper label to the upper board, vi, , 196 pages. Somewhat rubbed and soiled; some foxing throughout; a good, sound copy. Item #19109
A lively campaign biography from the eccentric sometime Kentucky author Emmons (1792-1875), who ran a soft drink stand in Boston and was known for peddling his own orations commemorating Revolutionary War battlefields; per Hershel Parker’s biography of Herman Melville, when the young Herman was taken to visit Boston in 1829, his grandfather “could buy Herman that delicious beverage, an ‘egg pop’ (something like an eggnog) from William Emmons, who kept his stand there. When the occasion was right Emmons would climb up and deliver an oration from the stand. Speech finished, he sold pre-printed copies of his oration over the same counter where he sold his delectable drink” (Parker 45). The perfervid flavor of Emmons’ prose here suggests the eccentric fervor with which the patriotic pop man was hoping to secure patronage with his biography of Van Buren: “No doubt he will again be opposed by a phalanx, sustained as they have been, from the vaults of a gigantic BRITISH institution, in the disguise of a UNITED STATES BANK, which, VAMPIRE-LIKE, was fast preying on the VITALS of the REPUBLIC!” William’s brother Richard had similarly eccentric literary ambitions; Richard’s lumbering verse epic on the War of 1812, the Fredoniad (Boston, 1827) remains as unread today as it did upon publication. Sabin 22533; American Imprints 31520. The book gives some evidence of hasty production, given varying sizes of the untrimmed leaves throughout.