Cincinnati: Printed by Wm. J. Ferris & Co., 1831. First edition. 8vo (7.5 x 4.63 inches), original tree sheep, brown leather spine label, gilt lettering, 258 pages, all edges stained yellow. Cheap binding somewhat rubbed, spine label a bit chippedl some light foxing and toning throughout; in very good condition. Item #20504
The Cincinnati Presbyterian minister and school teacher here compiles an early American attempt at mental consolations for the chronically ill, not nearly so dreary as the subject matter might suggest; his account vivid in part for his firsthand depictions of undergoing the customary medical treatments of the period (blood-letting, heroic measures, etc.), and the clumsy printing has its own charm. Among other exercises, Kemper counsels a sort of proto-visualization or meditation, taking the reader at one point on a mental tour of the solar system out to the planet Herschel, “that most distant world in our system.” With a printed note on the copyright page, “It is the design of the author (should his work be acceptable) to travel throughout the United States, for the purpose of disposing of it.” This plan for itinerancy might well explain the ink signature on page 149, “Frederick Augustus Kemper No. 1266” as a sort of inventory control for agents; the copy at AAS notes a similar inscription on its page 149, “inscribed on p. 149: Frederick Augustus Kemper. No. 1073.” Given that Kemper was married on 30 November 1831 in Jefferson, Indiana (a township between Lafayette and Indianapolis) and that the copyright date here is June 30, 1832, it seems as though Kemper was involved in at least one happy contract struck up while he traveled the Midwest to spread consolation. Morgan, Ohio Imprints, 2178; American Imprints 7813.