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15 - 16 June 1998
HOWARD, John (ca. 1727-1790). The State of the Prisons in England and Wales, with preliminary observations, and an account of some Foreign Prisons. Warrington: William Eyres, for T. Cadell and N. Conant, 1777.
4o (270 x 204 mm). 22 engraved plates, all but one folding, one engraved folding table (some minor offsetting and pale spotting). (Lacking half-title.) Presenation binding of contemporary blue straight-grained morocco gilt, smooth spine with gilt compartments, gilt-lettered in two, the remainder with a repeated gilt star device against a pointelle background (extremities rubbed). Provenenance: Joseph Reay (binding with gilt-lettered presentation statement on spine: "the Gift of the Author, John Howard esq. to his Friend Joseph Reay esq.").
FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST MAJOR PRACTICAL WORK ON PRISON REFORM. "Howard devoted much of his life to the improvement of the conditions then prevailing in prisons. The publication of his book led to legislation abolishing abuses in prisons and providing for their proper cleaning" (Garrison-Morton). "His single-handed campaign not only caused a revolution in his lifetime, but is the direct progenitor of subsequent work in the most critical branch of penal reform" (PMM).
In his preface to Baumgartner's work on Howard, Arnold M. Muirhead discusses presentation copies of this work as "often in elaborate presentation bindings, and usually the half-title has been removed and a fresh leaf inserted bearing an inscription" (p. 10). The Norman copy is without the half-title and uninscribed. A FINE COPY IN A PRESENTATION BINDING. Baumgartner 1; Garrison-Morton 1598; PMM 224; Wellcome III, p. 306; Norman 1108.
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