formerly Shakespeare and Company Books, now VIcarious Experience

Piercy, Frederick Hawkins. Route from Liverpool to Great Salt Lake Valley - the original 1855 published copy.

Piercy, Frederick Hawkins. Route from Liverpool to Great Salt Lake Valley, illustrated with steel engravings and wood cuts from sketches made by Frederick Piercy including Views of Nauvoo and the Ruins of the Temple.... Edited by james Linforth. Liverpool: published by
Franklin D. Richards, 36 Islington MDCCCLV. This is the original 1855 published copy.

WHAT OTHERS SAY -"Few painters of the American West have had their pictures reproduced as often as Frederick Hawkins Piercy. One sees portraits and landscapes taken from his Route from Liverpool to Great Salt Lake Valley (Liverpool, 1855) in anthologies of the gold rush, general histories of the area, and in countless books on Mormonism. The original volume, however, with its gentle, factual narrative of a voyage...sailing from Liverpool to New Orleans, a steamboat ride up the Mississippi,and an overland journey by wagon to the Mormon Zone, has beome rare."
"The book was at first issued in fifteen separately stitched parts, in separate wrappers, continuing from July 1854 to September 1855. the title page and contents were stitched in the back of part fifteen. As a result, obviously, many copies were never even properly bound. Others bound and shipped from England were accidentally ruined on the way. Robert Ernest Cowan, bibliographer and expert on Americana, attached a note to the frontispiece of his own copy (now in the Rare Book Collection of the University of California at Los Angeles), which said: "It is doubtful if any very good copy of Linforth's work is in existence. In the transit from St. Louis to Salt Lake, it suffered greatly from water, and many copies were entirely lost....the few extant copies were thoroughly (and most carelessly used) and all are in very indifferent condition." -From inroduction and note on text of Fawn Brodie's edition of 'From Liverpool to Great Salt Lake Valley' published by Harvard University Press in 1962. This edition contains lots of additional material and background that is enlightening about Piercy and Linforth and their book.

"One of the most elaborately and beautifully illustrated of western books. A large portion of the edition was water damaged while in transit to New York. In some copies of the map Utah counties are hand-colored" Howes- U.S.iana (1650-1950) 1958, page 348.

FOR MY OWN PART, I have owned this book for some time, and even tried to sell it a while ago. At the time, knowing it was an important and expensive book, I was hesitant to look through and handle it at all. As a result, I was really unaware of its true beauty. For this listing, I knew I had to write a much better description. For the previous listing, I had taken some pictures of the book, but only of the outside cover, the frontispiece map, and maybe the title page. I had hardly looked inside the book.

This time I looked. The amazing engravings, took me with Piercy from New Orleans up the Mississippi, visiting places of interest. We pass through various cities up the Mississippi River. I felt in a time machine, transported back by Piercy's brush. There is a three-dimensionality to these engravings that cannot be captured through photography. And these scenes will never again be seen by the naked eye. The original paintings must have been absolutely fantastic. We approach St. Louis and the waterfront - You cannot even see the waterfront for all the steamboats. St. Louis truly was the gateway to the West. Everything went through St. Louis.

I looked at this engraving and thought to myself, "This is St. Louis as it may have been seen by some of my childhood heroes - a very young Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickock, Jim Bridger, others.

From St. Louis, we proceed up the Mississippi to Nauvoo and Carthage where there are sites of importance to Mormon people. Piercy dawdles there, but I am not so interested, so I try to hurry him along. You know how hard it can be to get 186 year old people moving (Piercy was born in 1830). So I only took a few pictures here, while Piercy painted more.

From there we head west, while not encountering a lot of cities, we see the landscapes of the West. We pass through Fort Laramie, and eventually arrive at then called 'Great Salt Lake City'. Salt Lake City, then just five years old, already looks like it would bustle. Piercy lingers there, but it is time for me to depart so I can communicate with you, back in my own time.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Cloth with quarter leather binding. Wear on the edges with a small chip from the lower back spine. The cover is soiled. There is slight water staining on the top front cover extending to the first blank page only and causing some ripple on the front. There is a fold-out MAP in front of the title-page in which the Utah Territory (including Nevada) IS COLORED. There are a number of other places in the book that have some spots and a few miscellaneous blemishes. I counted five places: There are some finger prints and a little water stain on the New Orleans engraving, There is a spot on the back of the Baton Rouge engraving (not apparent in front), Foxing on the interior margin behind the Joseph Smith- Hyrum Smith engraving, A light pencil notation on the top of page 77, There are Spots on the tissue protecting the Council Bluffs Ferry engraving. But I may have missed some blemishes. I am trying to handle this book as little as possible. There is light water-staining mostly on the bottom part of the last ten pages of paper, most on the last page, disappearing toward the bottom as it goes into the book, so those farthest into the interior of the book have barely noticeable staining. The vast majority of pages are clean. I have tried to photograph so the water staining can be viewed. All page edges still have the gilt present and there is gilt outlining the leather part of the covers. There is slight separation of the binding in front of page 81. There is slight splitting in the leather along the spine at the top and bottom, but for the most part, the spine is solid and firm. I believe this to be the original binding although laid in is a letter from a former bookseller to a previous owner saying about how the binding was restored and the maps (probably referring to the parts of the front map being mended). The engravings are all there, but 2 of them are missing tissue guards. I see no tears or creases to any of the pages. Inquire regarding different shipping options. I will be happy to answer any other questions. While viewing the book for this description, I tried to keep it well cradled, mostly between blankets and pillows, to keep the binding from stress. I also took care not to dog-ear any pages and to keep the unruly tissue papers from dropping into the inner margin of the book to be crushed and folded when the book is closed. For sale by Jon Wobber $19,000.00