The Publisher’s Own Copy, Marked with a White Whale
New Bedford and Fairhaven Signal Book.
New Bedford: Augustus Taber. Press of Benjamin Lindsey, 1848.
Illustrated with color flags. Marked and annotated in pencil or ink throughout. 90, 1 pp. 1 vols. 8vo. The Publisher’s Own Copy, Marked with a White Whale. Contemporary green cloth. Recent calf spine. Some blanks partially excised. Very good OCLC 839655600 (AAS, Ocean State)HoS/6. Item #318199
The Taber family produced the Signal Book from the 1830s through the 1850s. Two copies only of this edition are recorded in institutional holdings.
The publisher’s own annotated copy of this essential handbook of the nineteenth century maritime trade. As Melville writes: “Thereby, the whale commanders are enable to recognize each other upon the ocean, even at considerable distances, and with no small facility” (Moby Dick, ch. 71).
On page 38, as an addendum to the chapter on Blue & White signals, a small picture of a flag with a white whale on it, appears beneath the inked name James H. Slocum (forebear of Joshua Slocum), agent for the bark Montezuma, accompanied by the words, What a whale! (The Montezuma is recorded as having last been seen in a “terrible gale of wind … there was no doubt but she was lost, and all on board perished”).
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