Philadelphia: James Kay, Jun. and Brother; Pittsburgh: C. H. Kay and Co., (1833) [but ca. 1838-1841?]. A later edition. Superroyal 32 (4.88 x 3.38 inches), original black morocco, gilt lettering, 296 pages. Engraved title page (with the imprint of James Kay, Jun. and Brother, Philadelphia and John I. Kay & Co., Pittsburgh) plus inserted frontispiece. Fragile edges of the boards and a bit of the joints rubbed; some light foxing and toning to the frontispiece and engrave title; occasional spotting; a very good copy. Item #20427
“The Publishers feel persuaded that the work will be found in every respect worthy the attention of the sex to which it is especially dedicated; and that Mothers will find in it a useful manual of instruction for their guidance during Pregnancy, in the Lying-in Chamber, and in the Nursery.” A popular home medical manual for women, with a chapter devoted to hysterics and an appendix on cholera. An advertisement in the Philadelphia National Gazette of 1 January 1835 notes, “James Kay, Jr. and Brother . . . have lately published a second and improved edition of the American Lady’s Medical Pocket-Book . . . bound handsomely in morocco,” and the book is advertised in the columns of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh papers throughout the 1830s; the latter papers note the availability of the title from John I. Kay at the corner of Wood and Third in Pittsburgh. Further toward dating this copy, per a notice in the 24 December 1838 number of the Pittsburgh Gazette, John I. Kay and James Kay, Jr. sold the firm John I. Kay & Co. in Pittsburgh to Charles H. Kay on 2 April 1838; Charles Kay notes that he will carry on business with Frederick G. Kay under the firm name C. H. Kay and Co. “at the old stand, corner of Wood and Third Street.” An advertisement from Kay & Brother in Philadelphia for this title (as “Lately published”) appears in the 15 September 1841 number of the Philadelphia National Gazette. The NUC entry for this title notes the joint imprint of James Kay, Jun. and John I. Kay; the online LOC catalog seemingly strips John from its records. Atwater S-27 catalogs a copy with this imprint as the first edition; see Atwater S-27.1 for the Hayes & Zell 1854 edition (which is calls the second edition), and Atwater 83 for the 1860 Hayes & Zelle edition (which it calls the third). The Philadelphia College of Physicians attributes this title to William Young Birch, though likely because the Philadelphia publisher and bookseller was behind the annual American Ladies Pocket Book (an unrelated series). OCLC presents something of a dog’s mess of copies in various media and with incomplete imprints and unclear publication years; we invite the diligent to parse those records more closely but this cataloger has little use at this point for the records supplied by FirstSearch as having relevance to describing physical copies of books. The format description taken from a contemporary publisher’s advertisement and kept for its pleasant superlative qualities.