Item #2990 [EARLY AMERICAN SCALEBOARD BINDING]. The prompter; or a commentary on common sayings and subjects. Noah Webster.
[EARLY AMERICAN SCALEBOARD BINDING]. The prompter; or a commentary on common sayings and subjects...
[EARLY AMERICAN SCALEBOARD BINDING]. The prompter; or a commentary on common sayings and subjects...
[EARLY AMERICAN SCALEBOARD BINDING]. The prompter; or a commentary on common sayings and subjects...
[EARLY AMERICAN SCALEBOARD BINDING]. The prompter; or a commentary on common sayings and subjects...
[EARLY AMERICAN SCALEBOARD BINDING]. The prompter; or a commentary on common sayings and subjects...
[EARLY AMERICAN SCALEBOARD BINDING]. The prompter; or a commentary on common sayings and subjects...

[EARLY AMERICAN SCALEBOARD BINDING]. The prompter; or a commentary on common sayings and subjects...

Boston: printed and sold by John W. Folsom, 1794. Fourth Edition. 12mo in 6's. 140 x 87 mm. A-H6 = 48 ff, COMPLETE AND UNSOPHISTICATED. Paper-covered scaleboard binding with sheep spine, hinges cracked, paper almost completely removed from covers, wood chipped away at corners, leather chipped at head of spine, leather rubbed along spine. Front binder's blank slightly detatched, pages browned, small water stain on bottom edge of back pastedown, inscription on p. 18. Ownership inscription of Joseph Gould on verso of final binder's blank (see below). Good. Item #2990

A scarce 18th-century American scaleboard binding on a popular work by Noah Webster. Despite the modesty of the present binding, its first owner, Joseph Gould, was clearly a discerning bibliophile: on page 18 he has written: "If any should chance this book to red (sic) let keep his fingers clean."

Scaleboard (a.k.a. scabbard or scabboard) was made from very thin sheets of wood that had been split (going towards the grain) instead of being sawed. Whereas the survival rate of early American scaleboard bindings is not high, owing to their fragile nature, they were once in great abundance, used in place of paste or pulpboard from the 1680s until the mid-nineteenth century, most often on widely disseminated texts such as this one. In the present binding, the grain of the scaleboard is horizontal, a common New England practice.

The present text was first printed in Hartford in 1791, and was reprinted well into the 19th century. Webster’s authorship of the text was revealed in an advertisement in the "American Minerva," dated January 16, 1796, which Webster had established in 1793 as New York's first daily newspaper and edited for four years. Called "the father of American scholarship and education," Webster was a prolific writer and textbook pioneer, his "Blue-Backed Speller" books educating generations of American children. His name became practically synonymous with the word "dictionary" when his first dictionary, "A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language," was published in 1806.

Provenance: inscribed "Stoneham / January 28 Day 1795 / Joseph Gould His / Book." This may be Lieut. Joseph Gould (1767-1800), who is buried at the Old Burying Ground (sic) in Stoneham.

Only one other copy of this edition appears on the market, though not in a scaleboard binding.

Sabin 102383; Evans 28050; Skeel, E.E.F. Webster, 662; ESTC W27908.

Price: $850.00

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