This volume is: James Fennell, "An Apology for the Life of James Fennell," published in Philadelphia by Moses Thomas in 1814. It was rebound in 1/4 brown leather with gilt lettering and a ribbed spine, during the 1920's in a signature binding by Whitman Bennett of New York. The book came from the library of George R. M. Ewing who was, himself, associated with theatrical production. The inside front end paper has the ex-library bookplate that Ewing commissioned Rockwell Kent to prepare for him exclusively. The book plate is listed in Kent's own catalogue of his bookplates.
James Fennell, the author, was born in England in 1766 and came to the United States in 1793. He came to Philadelphia where he began his involvement in the development of theatre in America. Although his career included various ventures he remained involved in theatrical production and teaching for most of his life in the United States. He published this autobiography in 1814, the year before his death.
Details of the book are: it has 510 pages; it was rebound in 1/4 brown leather and blue cloth; it retains its frontispiece, a portrait engraving of the author; it measures 8 3/4 inches x 5 3/4 inches.
Condition is good overall. Flaws are as follows: blue cloth is faded; leather is rubbed along edges, scattered tears and margin losses throughout the text; pages are time toned.
This is a collectible and scarce book that would be a handsome addition to any library but especially one that focuses on theatre. It also contains an original ex-library book plate made by Rockwell Kent, one of the premier print makers of the 20th Century.
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