The title-page of vol. 1 is lacking, and the contemporary inscription is on the first text leaf. Both that, and the inscription on the title-page of vol 2 are dated 1820. This strongly suggests that the title-page of vol.1 was not present in 1820, when the inscription was added. The estimate is $600-800. The illustration on page 135 of the catalogue is for lot 402, not lot 401.
THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
"American society, American history, the American backwoods, and the sea" (Spiller).
A REMARKABLE COLLECTION OF FIRST EDITIONS AND ASSOCIATION COPIES FROM THE WORKS OF JAMES FENIMORE COOPER. "The first American man of letters to take the whole of American experience as the private preserve of his ranging imagination and his critical mind. There is no doubt that, as a man of thought and feeling, more than any other writer of his generation, Cooper understood the time and place in which he lived and gave them voice and meaning. It is he who stands at the portal of American literature and who is recognized at home and abroad as the first and one of the greatest of American writers of fiction" (ibid).
Including unique copies of many rare and fugitive pieces: the Letter of J. Fenimore Cooper, to Gen. Lafayette, on the expenditure of the United States of America. Paris, 1831 (lot 411) annotated by Cooper in preparation for further rounds of debate; a copy of Barnum's The Spy Unmasked. Cincinnati, 1831 (lot 410) including a letter from Cooper denying knowledge of the work's existence and its relevance to his Spy; a copy of Oak Openings. New York, 1848 (lot 443) with an original invoice from Cooper's stereotyper of choice John Fagan.
Cooper's earliest fiction is present as are his best-loved Leatherstocking Tales. Most are in original publisher's bindings or early American bindings, including a particularly handsome copy of The Pilot. New York, 1823 (lot 405).
Many of the works are signed, inscribed and/or annotated by the author, the families and descendants of his sister Ann Pomeroy (1784-1870); the extended and illustrious family of his wife Susan Augusta DeLancey (1792-1852); his daughters: the author Susan Augusta Fenimore Cooper (1813-1894), Maria Cooper and Caroline Martha Phinney.
All are by descent from the private collection of Cooper's only surviving son Paul Fenimore Cooper (1824-1895), his son James Fenimore Cooper (1858-1938) and grandsons the author James Fenimore Cooper, Jr (1892-1918) and Paul Fenimore Cooper (1899-1970).
No collection of the works of James Fenimore Cooper of comparable size and importance has appeared in the market for many decades.