Private Papers of James Boswell from Malahide Castle in the collection of Lt.-Colonel Ralph Heyward Isham. Prepared for the Press by Geoffrey Scott. [With:] Boswell's Journal of the Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson [and:] Index.

[New York]: [William Edwin Rudge; The Viking Press], 1928-1937.

Price: $4,000.00

About the item

One of 570 numbered copies, this being no. 252, designed by Bruce Rogers. Numerous aquatone facsimiles of original manuscripts by Boswell. 20 vols. 4to and Folio. Red boards, printed spine labels. very good plus set in original boxes (some sunning to box spines, box to vol. 4 with a few splits).

Item #301136

This set was designed by Bruce Rogers in the last of his eight years at William Rudge's plant. The acquisition of the papers by Isham is itself a terrific story. Suffice it to say that in 1928, the collection was reluctantly sold by a Lord Talbot and his wife, one of Boswell's great-granddaughters, to Lt. Col. Isham, long after they had been presumed destroyed, and then discovered in various remote cabinets and chests in Ireland and Scotland. After his great acquisition, Isham wanted a sumptuous format for the collection, and negotiated a deal with William Edwin Rudge. Bruce Rogers was assigned the task of designing the format, and produced a set of volumes that are "magnificent examples of the arts of the printed book. They are, surely, the most impressive single monument of the Rudge/Rogers association." Blumenthal, pp. 104-5.

James Van Alen had provided the financial backing that made possible the purchase of the Boswell papers; “without Van Alen's backing and continuing forbearance, Isham could never have completed his private edition, let alone tackled the acquisition of the Fettercairn papers and the later finds at Malahide … without Van Alen the scattered archives of James Boswell would probably never have been fully reassembled" (David Buchanan, The Treasure of Auchinleck. The Story of the Boswell Papers. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974).