Three times as nice

Modern Books and Manuscripts 2014-10-02

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

We are lucky to have found three first editions of Traité du chanvre in different bindings as we continue to unpack and catalog items from Santo Domingo boxes.  From left to right the images reflect the covers of these copies at Houghton, Countway, and Botany.

houghton_cover countway_cover botany_cover

Traité du chanvre was published in 1758 in Paris and is a treatise about hemp.  Written by M. Marcandier, who was a magistrate from Bourges, a city in central France, he wrote about hemp’s history, preparation, uses, and about new methods of cultivation and manufacture.  There is a translated version in English which was published a few years later in 1764 and can be found online.

houghton_chanvre 2














The range of bindings on these volumes is just as interesting as the content within it.  Houghton’s copy was in the best shape bound in contemporary mottled calf with the edges stained red in addition to having having beautiful marbled end papers.


Botany’s volume is similar to Houghton’s though its leather was in much poorer shape.  Though it lacked the marbled end papers, this copy has a decorated spine.


Countway’s volume was the most different as it wasn’t bound in leather at all, but in contemporary decorated paper wrappers featuring some sort of purple stamp design.  Presumably at some point a custom box was made for it mimicking the original design with purple dots decorating the box housing.

countway_cover_2  countway_box

To look at any of these volumes of Traité du chanvre /par M. Marcandier. A Paris :Chez [J.L.] Nyon, Quai des Augustins, à l’Occasion,MDCCLVIII [1758] from the libraries mentioned above look in the Hollis catalog.

Thanks to Alison Harris- Santo Domingo Project Manager, Ryan Wheeler- Rare Book Cataloger at Houghton, Joan Thomas- Rare Book Cataloger at Countway, and Chris Robson of the Botany Libraries for contributing to this post.