Stockbridge, [Mass.]: Printed for the Author, H. Willard, Printer, 1812. First edition, ex-library copy, with the purple ink stamp of the Chester Library Association on the title and thrice in the text. Contemporary calf or sheep spine, marbled boards, 6.69 x 4.25 inches, 155 pages, edges of the text block sprinkled in blue. Fragile spine somewhat rubbed; board edges rubbed; some general toning throughout, with a splotch of an old stain to two leaves; a very good copy. Item #19884
“Young Ladies ought to, we confess, / Devote some time to *cards,* and *chess.*” Entertaining, if rather rough and eccentric verses from this shoemaker-poet. Hitchcock (1773-1849?) takes on political and literary topics, shows a fairly wide range of reading (making allusions to classical history and to Dr. Johnson), while touching on such contemporary wonders as Peale’s fossilized mammoth in Philadelphia and its parallels to the Louisiana Purchase. He also notes the irony that an indifferent author will be attacked in print while in shoemaking, “the most confirmed novice that can possibly be imagined, without any tuition, may botch up a quantity of leather on a last, draw it off, dubb the production with the name of a shoe, vend it, and pocket the price of the most celebrated ware; he may do all this, and still be scarce known three doors from the scene of the unwarrantable transaction.” Though Appletons’ notes Hitchcock’s death as “after 1832,” to judge from an online family history of the Hitchcock House in Lewis, Ia. (see hitchcockhouse.org), Hitchcock died in Iowa in 1849. Early ink ownership inscription to the upper board. Later small clipped bookseller description mounted to the front paste-down. Wegelin 993; American Imprints 25662.