Cincinnati. 1815. 251,pp. plus two folding maps. Contemporary tree calf, spine elaborately gilt, black leather label. A presentation binding, as this book was issued either in boards or in a plain sheep edition binding. Scattered foxing, else a fine copy. With a presentation inscription, as given below. In a half morocco and cloth box. Item #WRCAM934A
One of the most notable and important early Ohio books, by one of Cincinnati's most famous residents, in a remarkable copy inscribed on the front fly leaf: "For the honorable Thomas Jefferson with the respects of his very obedt. servt. Dan. Drake." The book, modeled on Jefferson's own NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA, covers the geography, antiquities, topography, medical conditions, and government of southern Ohio. "The work is almost entirely original, and has been drawn upon largely by all subsequent writers on the subject" - Thomson. The maps are a plan of Cincinnati and a map of Miami county. The author, Dr. Daniel Drake, was one of the first great physicians in the West. He was involved in the founding of numerous Ohio and Kentucky institutions and wrote a number of important works, especially medical, on the area. This book, issued when he was thirty, was the first to achieve national notice. Despite the imprint date of 1815, a delay in obtaining the maps, which were engraved in Philadelphia while the book was printed in Cincinnati, delayed issue until Feb. 16, 1816. One of Drake's good friends was Josiah Meigs, the commissioner of the General Land Office and an acquaintance of Jefferson. Drake asked Meigs to send Jefferson this presentation copy, and on March 1, 1816, Meigs wrote to Jefferson: "My friend Dr. Daniel Drake of Cincinnati, Ohio, has requested me to transmit to you a Copy of his work, entitled 'Picture of Cincinnati.' I presume it will gratify you as an elegant and valuable work." Meigs also described Drake as "a sincere and faithful friend of our free Institutions," signaling that Drake was a good Republican. On April 7, 1816, Jefferson wrote to Meigs: "I have referred [sic] asking the favor of you to return my thanks to Dr. Drake for the copy of his account of the state of Ohio which he has been so kind as to send me until I could have time to peruse it. I have done this with great pleasure and may now express my gratification on this able addition to the knowledge we possess of our different states; and I may say with truth that were all of them as well delineated as that which is the subject of this volume, we should be more accurately and scientifically known to the rest of the world. With my thanks for this mark of attention be pleased to accept the assurance of my great esteem & respect. Th: Jefferson." This volume would have come into Jefferson's hands after the sale of his main collection to the Library of Congress in 1815, and so became part of his third and final library. Hence it does not figure in Sowerby's catalogue of Jefferson's library, and was one of the group of books widely dispersed after Jefferson's death a decade later. It does not have Jefferson's usual marks of ownership of his initials next to the signature letters; he may have assumed the presentation was identification enough. A wonderful association copy of a significant book. HOWES D465, "aa." SABIN 20822. STREETER SALE 1355. THOMSON 346. Emmet F. Horine, DANIEL DRAKE, PIONEER PHYSICIAN OF THE MIDWEST (Philadelphia, 1961), pp.116-17 (citing Meigs and Jefferson letters).