Pages: 4 volumes bound in 2. Volume 1: xlv + 341 pp. Volume 2: 345 pp. Volume 3: viii + 367 pp. Volume 4: 378 pp. Complete
Size: 7.75" x 4.75"
Condition: Binding is Good to Very Good, Text is Very Good
General Custer's wife spent time reading while he was otherwise engaged...She also went on to become an author herself. This 2 volume (actually 4 volumes bound in two) set of Shelley from the British Poets collection is signed (in both volumes) by Elizabeth Custer ("E. B. Custer") and comes from a Custer collection we recently acquired. Among works of George Eliot and others, Elizabeth was fond of British poetry as well. This set has traveled from the Custer home to our shelf over the last century, and we are proud to offer these here.
This set was printed in 1881, which would mean that this set was acquired by Elizabeth shortly after her husband's death in 1876. Any material signed by Elizabeth is rare, but when it is seen, it is usually a book from around 1900 or a little later. Material from her library that existed closer to the time of General Custer's death is extremely rare. Perhaps she found comfort in the words of Shelley during the years immediately following her husband's death at Little Big Horn. Also, it is typical to find one volume with her signature taken out of a collection and sold. As book dealers, we just refuse to split apart any set even if it may be more profitable, so we are offering this set together (or, two signed volumes together). This is a very handsome set, aside from the wonderful provenance, and both volumes are signed. Books bearing EB Custer's signature rarely come up anywhere on the retail market or the auction market.
The hand-bindings, most likely commisioned by Elizabeth, are quite nice featuring half-calf over marbled boards, marbled page ends, and gilt devices to the spine. The condition is Good+ to Very Good having been lightly restored to prevent further chipping or cracking to the leather. The second volume lacks the title and volume labels. Corners bumped and rubbed, top of spines with some light leather loss (see photos, below), rear hinges of both volumes with cracks, but bindings are very firm, tight, and the leather is sound. The text is very good with an even age-tone throughout. Volumes are free of markings other than the signatures and there is little to no soiling throughout though there is some spotting on the blanks at the front and back. Gutters (all but one) cracked. The marbled pages at the back of volume one are glued together about 1/4 of the way out from the spine...probably an early, ametuer repair attempt. Overall, this set is better than average, attractive, with BOTH volumes bearing the signature of Elizabeth Custer on the front blank pages. A very rare item!
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