[Salesman’s Dummy for:] The Spy of The Rebellion; Being a True History of the Spy System of the United States Army During the Late Rebellion…
Salesman’s sample book, dummy or canvassing book illustrated with 22 plates for a history of espionage and criminal conspiracies during the American Civil War: The Spy of The Rebellion; Being a True History of the Spy System of the United States Army During the Late Rebellion. Revealing Many Secrets of the War Hitherto not Made Public. Compiled from Official Reports prepared for President Lincoln, General McClellan and the Provost-Marshal-General.
The sample pages present representative text from the to-be-published book along with full-page illustrations from wood engravings depicting dramatic scenes of military and civilian undercover espionage and anti-espionage exploits, a few depicting African Americans in active roles.
The salesman’s dummy emulates two different binding styles for the projected 700-page octavo book: a strongly bound “Sheep, Library Style” in tan with a maroon title label (a sample spine for which is mounted on the rear endpaper) and a less expensive “English Cloth, Gold and Black Enameled” alternative, seen here in brown, stamped directly onto the back cover. A single leaf of yellow paper at the conclusion of the sample pages comprises a biography of the author. Eight blank subscription leaves to record the salesman’s orders conclude the volume.
Allan Pinkerton emigrated from Scotland to the United States in 1842. Moving to Chicago in 1850, he investigated counterfeiting for the U.S. Treasury Department, mail theft at the Chicago post office, and railroad theft, the latter involving an elaborate spy system. At this time, Pinkerton set up a private police force which later became known as the Pinkerton National Detective Agency—popularly called “The Pinkertons.”
Pinkerton’s motto, “We Never Sleep,” along with an image of an eye is stamped in gilt on the upper cover of the salesman’s dummy. The “eye” logotype is also incorporated on the sample spine stamped in gilt on the dummy’s back cover.
Pinkerton’s spying for the federal government continued during the Civil War. Notably, he foiled an assassination attempt against President-elect Abraham Lincoln. Pinkerton is also noted for his controversial later work in infiltrating the secret Irish-American fraternity, The Molly Maguires, and for policing labor strikes. Pinkerton agents also helped to search for and kill such Wild West outlaws as Jesse James and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
According to American National Biography, “To tap into the popular ‘yellow book’ publications glamorizing the exploits of detectives, and at the same time correct many misrepresentations, [Allan] Pinkerton published sixteen detective books between 1874 and 1884.”
Description: [Salesman’s Dummy for:] The Spy of The Rebellion; Being a True History of the Spy System of the United States Army During the Late Rebellion…
New York: G.W. Carleton & Co., Publishers, (1883), MDCCCLXXXVI . Frontispiece, [49, , [8 (subscription forms)]ff. +  plates. Canvassing Book. 9¼ x 6inches. Brown pictorial cloth with gilt and black decorations and titling. Illustrations. Two gilt decorated bookbinding spine samples or backstrips (“Sheep, Library Style” and “English Cloth Library”), the former mounted on the rear endpaper and the latter stamped directly onto the lower cover. Some rubbing to head and tail of spine and along edges; some closed tears at edges of a few leaves and plates; leather offsetting onto free, rear endpaper; good.