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Sale 2514 Lot 3
Pictures of New York Life & Character.
Illustrated title page, 19 tinted lithographed plates, all with advertisements on verso, some boldly colored. Folio, 12x10 inches, 30 1/2x25 1/2 cm, publisher's gilt cloth, worn, boards detached; minimal wear to contents. [New York]: George W. Averell & Co., circa 1877.
Estimate $1,500 - 2,500
A compendium of New York street scenes and colorful characters, with plates devoted to immigrants in quarantine at Castle Garden, Jewish tailors and auctioneers, a Chinese opium den, an African-American bill poster, and much more. One plate appears to depict both male and female sex workers loitering at the notorious corner of Broadway and Houston, as cited by one modern scholar: "Even in the Victorian era, at least one guidebook to the city made references to locations where homosexual men gathered (Averell & Co., 1877)"--Luongo, "The Use of Commercial Sex Venues and Male Escorts by Gay Tourists in New York City," in Tourism and Sex, page 111. This copy has an unusual bookplate affixed to the front pastedown: "This album is the property of this hotel." Averell apparently supplied complimentary copies of the book to hotels, whose guests would have particular interest in the local sights.