Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Young Misses Magazine: Containing Dialogues Between a Governess and Several Young Ladies of Quality, Her Scholars: Vol. 1, translated from the French of Madamoiselle Le Prince De Beaumont. (1791)

The Young Misses Magazine: Containing Dialogues Between a Governess and Several Young Ladies of Quality, Her Scholars: Vol. 1, translated from the French of Madamoiselle Le Prince De Beaumont. 

Hardcover book with leather binding (no dust jacket) printed for William Anderson, Stirling and Silvester Doig, Edinburgh MDCCXCI (1791), 341 pages with one colour illustration.
(Apologies for the slightly blurry photographs.)

The young misses magazine: Containing dialogues between a governess and several young ladies of quality, her scholars. : In which each lady is made to speak according to her particular genius, temper, and inclination: their several faults are pointed out, and the easy way to mend them, as well as to think, and speak, and act properly; no less care being taken to form their hearts to goodness, than to enlighten their understandings with useful knowledge. : A short and clear abridgement is also given of sacred and profane history, and some lessons in geography. : The useful is blended throughout with the agreeable, the whole being interspersed with proper reflections and moral tales.”
Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (1711 – 1780) was a French author who wrote the best known version of Beauty and the Beast. She had a relationship with the spy for the British Thomas Pichon. Her first work, the moralistic novel The Triumph of Truth (Le Triomphe de la vérité), was published in 1748. She published approximately seventy volumes during her literary career Most famous were the collections she called "magasins," instructional handbooks for parents and educators of students from childhood through adolescence. She was one of the first to include folk tales as moralist and educational tools in her writings.

I had no idea who Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont or the Young Misses was when I picked up this volume. I mainly picked it up because:
a/ It was old
b/ It was cute (small book)
c/ It appeared to be a great candidate for “of interest” status
d/ It's a bit of an adventure (… a jump into the unknown)
e/ It was the right price

Yes, it is old. 1791 is little bit before my time and a little bit before most of my other books of interests time. Beside it's age and inevitable wear and tear, “The young misses magazine” had also been through the wars and was in a very sad state after it's 225 years. It had gotten to what I believe was the saddest/lowest point in it's long existence when someone decided that the best possible option for this bi-centenarian was a repair by sticking a piece of brown velour cloth across the spine in place of the leather that had probably once been there. The brown did match and it did look like... a shoddy repair on a very old book. Still, it was brown.

Despite the condition... and yes there was (and still are) other issues... I decided that the book was of interest and worth giving a go. Even as I picked it up I was already thinking about the possible rescue effort on what was a very cute book despite the velour. I've been buying a few older items over the last few years and it is a bit of a learning curve for me. Usually anything I find as old as this, does have issues which are carefully weighed up against the “of interest”/saleability factors. I've had some luck and also some disappointments but overall it is an area that I keep my eyes and ears open for, as I am interested.

With this volume I decided I would take the plunge after the initial purchase plunge and get some work done on it... professional work, that is. A bookbinder. I've held off on the repair scenario previously due to the cost of such an extravagance. It is expensive and the economics of costly repairs on a not so valuable volume means that usually this is a prohibitive excercise. So the question was/is, will the $ spent increase the overall value of this volume. In this instance due to the scarcity/rarity of this title, I figured it was worth my while giving it a go... that is if it sells.

Irwin and McLaren Bookbinders are people who mysteriously follow me, and I follow them, on Instagram, so it seemed to me that they were the obvious candidates for doing the work. They were very easy to deal with and I am really pleased with the end product (thanks Storm). I am aware that there are some of you out there who will be questioning whether this sort of repair work is appropriate for such a rare antiquarian volume. Just remember, “brown velour”.