IMPORTANT AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR ERA PUBLICATION
THOMAS PAINE AND ROBERT AITKEN, 1775.
THE PENNSYLVANIA MAGAZINE: OR, AMERICAN MONTHLY MUSEUM. MDCCLXXV. VOLUME I [JANUARY 1775 – DECEMBER 1775]. Philadelphia: Robert Aitken, 1775.
Octavo (8 x 5 inches), 625 pp. . Complete 12 issues + Supplement, including title page with engraving of the Goddess of Liberty holding the Liberty pole and cap, and a shield displaying the arms of Pennsylvania, as well as all 15 plates illustrating machinery, architecture, battles, maps, and plans in their entirety, 9 of which fold out. Later full calf binding with gilt tooling, marbled endpapers, and page edges by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, London. Small armorial bookplate affixed to the front board for Valentine Hollingsworth with motto “Disce Ferenda Pati.”Â
The issues contain a variety of literary and philosophical essays, book reviews, scientific, and technical articles;Ã‚ and the latest news of events and military actions related to the conflict with Great Britain in Monthly Intelligence. Important engraved folding plates include:
“New Plan of Boston Harbour from an Actual Survey”Â (June 1775).
“New and Correct Plan of the Town of Boston and Provincial Camp” (July 1775).
“Exact Plan of General Gage’s Lines on Boston Neck in America” (August 1775).
“A Correct View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th 1775″Â (September 1775).
“A Map of the Present Seat of War on the Borders of Canada”Â (October 1775).
“Plan of the Town & Fortifications of Montreal or Ville Marie in Canada”Â (November 1775).
Robert Aitken (1735-1802), printer for the Continental Congress, founded The Pennsylvania Magazine at the start of 1775. The year proved to be one of the most consequential in American history, witnessing the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the appointment of George Washington as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. Shortly after publishing the first issue, Aitken hired Thomas Paine (1737-1809) as its editor. Paine, a political theorist and activist, had emigrated from England with the help of Benjamin Franklin. Becoming a major contributor to the publication as well as editor, Paine used its pages to develop his thoughts on liberty, government and the situation of the colonies vis-Ãƒ -vis Great Britain. His writings in the magazine led to publication of Common Sense in 1776, one of the most influential pamphlets of the period, inspiring many to join the Revolutionary cause. In addition to political essays, the issues contain some of the most significant and earliest maps produced during the Revolutionary War. Under the leadership of Paine and Aitken, The Pennsylvania Magazine became the most successful and widely read periodical of its time in the colonies.
Provenance: Valentine Hollingsworth, Boston, MA.
Literature: Mott, A History of American Magazines I, pp. 87-91; Deak, Picturing America, 143; Fowble, Two Centuries of Prints in America, no. 108.
Paper is lightly toned overall with minor foxing in areas. Plates are intact with some irregular fold lines and minor nicks at edges. View of the Battle of Charlestown (Bunker Hill) has two repaired lines of separation in the paper, but no losses. The binding’s front and back boards have separated and lack a spine, exposing what appears to be the original bound spine.
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