COLDEN, Cadwallader David (1769-1834). Memoir Prepared at the Request of a Committee of the Common Council at the Celebration of the Completion of the New York Canals. New York: Printed by the Order of the Corporation of New York, 1825 [1826].

$ 6,250.00

4to., (9 6/8 x 7 6/8 inches). Lithographed title-page to the appendix, engraved frontispiece portrait of Colden and 43 engraved and lithographed plates, with an additional 8 facsimiles of testimonial letters, and including portraits (one after George Catlin) and views (some folding) (some occasionally heavy browning, spotting and offsetting), 2 large folding hand-colored engraved maps (page 155 torn crossing the text, one or two marginal tears).

A FINE CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN ORNATE, SIGNED PRESENTATION BINDING ordered by the City of New York of straight-grained bright crimson morocco gilt, covers with broad gilt-tooled borders, upper cover gilt-lettered "Presented by the City of New York to William de Yongh Esq. Consul of H.M. the King of the Netherlands at the Port of Leghorn" spine richly gilt in compartments, gilt-lettered in two, signed by binder "Wilson & Nichols Bind. N.Y." at base of spine, edges gilt (extremities very lightly scuffed).

Provenance: Presentation binding to William de Yongh; presentation inscription in Italian to Gavan Morill dated Firenze, 26 Ott. 1949" on the recto of the first blank; from the distinguished library of Jacques Levy, his sale, Sotheby's, 20th April 2012, lot 59.


A spectacular and elaborate souvenir of the extravagant celebrations surrounding the official completion of the Erie Canal. Derided as "Clinton's Folly" when first proposed by Governor Dewitt Clinton (1769-1828) and voted by the state legislature, the Erie Canal "proved to be the key that unlocked an enormous series of social and economic changes in the young nation...spurred the first great westward movement of American settlers, gave access to the rich land and resources west of the Appalachians and made New York the preeminent commercial city in the United States." The work is one of the first books published in the U.S. to be extensively illustrated by lithography; an appendix pays tribute to "the most useful potentialities of Mr [Alois] Senefelder's great discovery." A few plates unfold to considerable extent, with panoramic views of New York Harbor crowded with shipping, a cross-section of the canal, locks, scenic views andornate fire-company pumpers drawn by horses. It is also distinguished as being the first book with illustrations by George Catlin. Howes C-562.