. Pithole City, PA: Morton, Longwell & Co., 1867." />
19 December 2002
LEONARD, Charles C. The History of Pithole: by "Crocus" (Chas C. Leonard). Pithole City, PA: Morton, Longwell & Co., 1867.
12o (175 x 123 mm). 8-page advertisement at end. Woodcuts in text. (Some foxing.) Original plum cloth, gilt-lettered on front cover (rebacked preserving original spine).
FIRST EDITION OF THIS EXCEEDINGLY SCARCE ACCOUNT OF THE PENNSYLVANIA OIL BOOM. The last copy to appear at auction according to American Book Prices Current was the Thomas W. Streeter copy (sold Parke-Bernet, 21 October 1969, lot 4046).
During the oil boom of the 1860s, Pithole City was the largest boom town in America, and is considered by some the birthplace of the oil industry in America. Oil was first discovered at Pithole in January of 1865, just six years after Colonel Edwin Drake discovered oil near Titusville, which is about 15 miles northwest. By September of the same year, Pithole had grown from a small farming area to a town of 15,000 people. By January of 1866, however, fires and over drilling had caused money to run out and oil to dry up. Leonard's book is divided into two parts. The first is a factual history of the town and its various oil companies. The second part treats the subject more fantastically. According to Streeter, "the book is said to have been published at Pithole shortly before the oil boom there collapsed and to be very rare, with no copy in any of the public libraries in the Pennsylvania oil region." Giddens, p.89; Howes L257; Sabin 40095.
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