“Our First Men:” a Calendar of Wealth, Fashion and Gentility, Containing a List of Those Persons Taxed in the City of Boston, Credibly Reported to be Worth One Hundred Thousand Dollars; with Biographical Notices of the Principal Persons.

Boston: Published by all the Booksellers, 1846. First edition. Original printed yellow wrappers, 9.13 x 5.75 inches, 48 pages. Somewhat dust-soiled and worn, with a few small contemporary ink splashes; in good condition. Item #19394

“Likely enough there will be a great outcry against it; at least in some quarters. We will have plenty of solemn cant about the ‘invasions of the sanctities of private life;’ as though it were one of the privileges of wealth not to be talked about . . . but we hold is to be the inalienable right of all Yankees to inquire into, and to thoroughly sift and examine, their neighbor’s affairs.” With the copyright notice in the name of the Boston printer and publisher D. H. Ela & Co., who seems to have had a sense (given their back catalog of popular trials, anti-popery sermons, temperance novels, etc.) of what might strike a popular chord; this extensive biographical compendium of the Boston elite spares no hint of scandal or humble beginning in its annotations, from John Quincy Adams to Winslow Wright. This copy with contemporary pencil marginalia throughout, noting marriages among various subjects (the Lawrence family is annotated in great detail), exclamation points for those who were evidently parvenus (say, distillers or shoemakers who have gotten rich), and the occasional tragical update to the biographical sketches—the suicide of Edward Phillips is noted, or of Dr. George Parkman, “Murdered.” (The Parkman-Webster murder case was the talk of Boston in 1849.).

Price: $375.00

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