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1759 through 1791 first edition set of the Annual Registers

Shown above are the 1758 though 1774 volumes and below are the 1775 through 1791 volumes (the digital photo color reproduction is more accurate on the volumes below).

This is a very rare set of the Annual Registers from 1758 through 1791 with all of them first editions except the 1758 volume (which is a 1768 5th edition). All the volumes are in great condition with firm bindings, little foxing and labels intact, and all the maps present in the 1763 volume, which is very uncommon for these over 215 year old volumes. As you can see by the library numbers on spine, these are ex-library books that came out of the British colony of South Africa.

These volumes contain the full sweep of the American founding period as well as momentous events in Europe. Starting with the French and Indian War in North America that helped to ignite a larger conflict in Europe, the Seven Years War, these books follow the Stamp Act, the Boston Massacre and Tea Party, Lexington and Concord, Bunker Hill and the Declaration of Independence. The full Revolutionary War is covered in great detail and after the new nation is founded the United States Constitution is published and soon thereafter reports of the start of the French Revolution. The excitement of 1st editions is that they record momentous events like those and are first read while the historic events are fresh in the minds of the reader and the results are still unknown. Thus when the 1776 issue with its Declaration of Independence was published in early 1777 it was unknown whether there ever would be an independent nation called United States because England was still the superpower of the age and the Battle of Saratoga had not yet been fought! 

This is a very unusual first edition set covering a long run of the earliest and most historic period of the Annual Registers and in very rare condition. We've bought many of these volumes and rarely have we seen a set so tight and with so few defects.

Below are pictures of the start of the very early publication of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Both were among the first publication in book form of the complete texts of those historic documents.


The map below is one of four fold out maps in nice condition in the back of the 1763 volume which were produced by the King's cartographer, Thomas Kitchens. The map of North America pictured below is one of the first published after the French and Indian War and shows all the English colonies in North America.

We bought these books from South Africa, a British Colony during the period these volumes were published. Grahamstown, whose library formerly owned this set, is shown on the map below.


Most of the volumes have the name "Thomas Francis" and sometimes a date (1850s or 1860s) and place ("Roanoke") written somewhere at the start of each volume, as shown above. There also is a small library stamp on the first free end paper and a library reference number stamped on the verso of the title page as shown below. There is an ink stain on some of the pages of the 1767 volume and other than that there is only the normal rubbing of cover edges and assorted foxing that you would expect of books published during George Washington's lifetime. All the bindings are securely attached and the spine labels are intact.

A very rare 1st edition set in surprisingly good condition that covers with immediacy some of the most important events in world history.

Price: $4,750

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