Publisher: (Detroit: Will H. Brearley, 1874).
Edition: First and only edition.
Bibliographical References: OCLC 21286125 records one copy at the Detroit Public Library and OCLC 678079568 records one copy at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. Both of these copies are incorrectly but understandably described as “lacking the title page.”.
Condition: Edges rubbed; two portraits slightly damaged from having once adhered to each other; in very good condition.
Book ID: 27333
DescriptionSquare 8vo, 16.5 x 14.5 cm, contemporary dark green morocco, quotation from Longfellow gilt-stamped on the upper board within a blind-stamped frame, a.e.g. One leaf of text with a printed index on the recto and a facsimile of a holograph "Advertisement" by Brearley, explaining the book, on the verso; the two pages of text are followed by 12 leaves with 96 mounted small (5.5 x 3.8 cm, but dimensions vary slightly) photographic copies of carte de visites and cabinet photographs of distinguished men and women.
Comments¶ An unusual compilation of photographic portraits of notable individuals from a wide-ranging vocations: the military, theater, sideshows, suffragettes, writers, scientists, and the pulpit, among others. At the foot of each image is a facsimile of the subject’s signature. In the prefatory “Advertisement,” William Brearley writes “This volume of portraits has been prepared at the urgent solicitation of many friends, who desire to share with me the satisfaction of possessing the photographs and autographs of the distinguished persons represented, and to be aided in their study of physiognomy and chirography by the examination of this varied but representative collection. The photographs and autographs were obtained only by long and patient effort, extending over a period of ten years and involving an expense of several hundred dollars. A limited number of copies are issued and will be furnished only on special order . . . Will H. Brearley August 1, 1874 Detroit, Mich.” The portraits and autographs include those of Lincoln, Grant, Gladstone, Bancroft, Emerson, Hugo, Longfellow, Whittier, Holmes, Clemens, Nast, Darwin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Louisa May Alcott, Grace Greenwood, Anna Dickinson, Susan B. Anthony, Victorian Woodhull, Nathan Bedford Forest, and Mr. and Mrs. Tom Thumb. The quotation on the upper board about the “lives of great men” is from Longfellow’s poem “A Psalm of Life,” first published in 1838, though it is curiously dated here October 15, 1873. ¶ William Brearley (1846-1909) was an interesting member of the Detroit literary and cultural scene in the second half of the 19th century. Among his published works are two novels and a history of the 17th Michigan Infantry and its engagements in Tennessee. He worked for the Detroit News, and was one of the founders of the Detroit Art Museum. His papers are at the Detroit Public Library. Contemporary signature in pencil dated 1874 on the index page.