[Presentation copy in deluxe binding with author’s photograph] Jottings of a Year’s Sojourn in the South; or First Impressions of the Country and its People; with A Glimpse at School-Teaching in that Southern Land, and Reminiscences of Distinguished Men.
A Michigander puts on rose-colored glasses
Author’s presentation copy in a de luxe binding with his albumen portrait photograph (1¾ x 1½ inches) mounted on the leaf opposite title page. A narrative of Antebellum Mississippi plantation life. Clark observes:
“Van Buren was a Michigan schoolteacher who spent a year in the Delta region of Mississippi, living with wealthy planters and teaching school for a short time. As far as slavery is concerned, the book has no value because the author ignored the institution. With respect to social life, the book has little value because Van Buren looked at everything through rose-colored glasses and made the mistake of picturing the entire Southern region as he found it on a few ideal plantations in the Yazoo basin. He believed that the South had no plain ‘country girls’; to him they were all gracious ladies. There are descriptions of sailing parties, balls, reading habits, the Negroes at Christmas, etc. There is one chapter each on the Southern lady and the Southern gentleman, Yazoo style.”
This copy’s recipient (“William D. Walcott”) is likely William Dexter Walcott (1813–1890) of Oneida County, New York, an owner of the New York Mills, a cotton textile mill. Walcott was also known as a prominent cattle breeder and a Hamilton College trustee. The National Portrait Gallery owns an oil painting with his portrait. This connection makes sense as the book’s author and his family lived in New York Mills, in Oneida County in the 1820s. (Anson De Puy Van Buren papers: 1846-1885 accessed online)
We are unaware of any other copy in this special trade binding.
Description: [Presentation copy in deluxe binding with author’s photograph] Jottings of a Year’s Sojourn in the South; or First Impressions of the Country and its People; with A Glimpse at School-Teaching in that Southern Land, and Reminiscences of Distinguished Men.
Battle Creek, Michigan: np, 1859. x, –320, pp. First edition. 8vo. Publisher’s trade cloth decorated in gilt and blind with beveled edges; all edges gilt. Presentation inscription on free front endpaper with letter remnant signed by the author opposite. Later ownership inscription. Binding soiled and with stains; front hinge tender; later ownership, foxed; good.
Howes V-15: “Favorable impressions of southern Mississippi registered by a school teacher from Michigan.” Full Howes 2692. Graff 4454. Clark III, 503. wq10