Lot 79 of 191:

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The American Woods, Exhibited by Actual Specimens and with Copious Explanatory Text

Hough, Romeyn Beck

Lowville, NY

Published by the Author


Parts II-IX. 8 volumes (only, of 14). Each volume comprised of text booklet in wrappers, plus wood samples on card mounts, loose as issued. 202 mounts with a total of 606 wood specimens. Each mount displays three specimens from a species of tree in transverse, radial and tangential sections. 9x6". Housed in blind-stamped green cloth slipcases with metal clasps, spines gilt-lettered, chemises with printed inside covers. One of the greatest American works on trees and woods, it is: “illustrated by actual specimens, and being in this way an exhibition of nature itself it possesses a peculiar and great interest never found in a press-printed book” (Hough). Romeyn B. Hough prepared the samples himself and self-published the work. It provides a unique record of American wood types, arranged geographically. Several parts in this section cover California and the Pacific Slope. This is a tremendously important work for ecologists as well as connoisseurs of American furniture and antiques. Each specimen is about 2x4½” in size and cut thinly enough to be partially translucent. This set is only very rarely found complete, presumably because it was published over a span of 40 years. Part II with early bookplate of Harry S. Woodworth.

Lot Amendments

Minor general shelfwear and fading/rubbing to slipcases including few chips at spine ends, chemises cracked at folds, Part II with part of clasp lacking; about 30 of the samples with minor splitting or warping, scattered rubbing to cards; overall, still an excellent set.

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