Apr 13, 2023 - Sale 2633

Sale 2633 - Lot 30

Price Realized: $ 3,250
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
(BIBLE--PSALMS.) The Henry Knox printing of "A New Version of the Psalms of David." [416], [1] pages plus final blank leaf. 12mo, contemporary calf, minor wear; lacking free endpapers, gathering M coming loose, leaf M12 detached; signatures of early owner Catherine M. Howe on front pastedown and title page. Boston: Henry Knox, 1774

Additional Details

Major General Henry Knox (1750-1806) remains famous for many reasons: as a witness to the Boston Massacre; as Washington's top artillery commander in the American Revolution; as the first Secretary of War under the Constitution; and as the namesake of Fort Knox. Before the war, he was a young bookseller.

Knox had served as a bookstore clerk from the age of nine, and opened his own shop in Boston in 1771. Though a strong patriot, he named it the London Bookstore. Like most American bookstores in that period, he initially relied heavily on imports from Great Britain, but later his business suffered when he joined the boycott on British goods. He also published at least six full books, commissioning in his own name editions of "The Complete English Farmer," "A Dissertation on the Gout," "Hymns and Spiritual Songs" by Isaac Watts, "A New Lecture on Heads," "A Short Introduction to the Latin Tongue," and this edition of Brady and Tate's "Psalms of David" (the longest), plus three catalogues of his stock, and five books published in partnership with other booksellers.

During the British occupation of Boston, while Knox helped organize the rebel defenses, his bookstore was looted and destroyed. Unsurprisingly, all of the books published by Knox are scarce today--we do not trace any of his six known books at auction since the "Dissertation on the Gout" appeared in 2004. In 1928, Goodspeed retailed a copy of the "Psalms of David" (possibly this copy), similarly bound with "The Essex Harmony." The last we trace at auction was in a Swann sale, 18 March 1971, lot 9, also bound with the Essex Harmony. 8 in ESTC. Evans 11560.

Bound with Daniel Bailey (a.k.a. Bayley), "The Essex Harmony, Containing a New and Concise Introduction to Musick." [2], 22 engraved pages of music; slightly cropped. First edition, later state; no first editions traced at auction since 1971. Britton, American Sacred Music Imprints 64B (variant with pages 16 to 21 mispaginated); Evans 13151. Newburyport, MA: published by the author, 1770.