Joseph Laurence Black History of the Book Collection

Overview: A scholar of early modern British literature, Joe Black received his BA and PhD from the University of Toronto and taught for several years at the University of Tennessee Knoxville before joining the English faculty at UMass Amherst in 1994. Rooted in the history of the book, his research on seventeenth-century literature has examined the intersection between writing and the material and social context of production as well as the dialogue between print and manuscript culture.

The Black collection is an eclectic assemblage of American imprints designed to assist study and instruction in the history of the book. The collection includes two long runs of popular dime novels, Beadle's Frontier Series and the American Revolution-inspired Liberty Boys of '76, examples of almanacs, prompt books, and works form the early national period in publishers' bindings.

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Books and book history
Literature and language
Performing arts
Printed materials

Background on Joe Black

The Woman Trapper, from Beadle's Frontier Series no. 35 (1908)

The Woman Trapper, from Beadle's Frontier Series no. 35 (1908)

A scholar of early modern British literature, Joe Black received his BA and PhD from the University of Toronto and taught for several years at the University of Tennessee Knoxville before joining the English faculty at UMass Amherst in 1994. Rooted in the history of the book, Black's research has examined the intersection between writing and the material and social context of production in seventeenth-century literature as well as the dialogue between print and manuscript culture.

In addition to his numerous contributions to academic journals, Black has edited and co-edited a number of significant works, including two volumes in the Broadview series, The Broadview Anthology of British Literature, vol. 2: The Renaissance and Early Seventeenth Century (Broadview, 2006), with Anne Lake Prescott, and The Broadview Anthology of Seventeenth-Century English Verse and Prose (Broadview, 2000), with Alan Rudrum and Holly Nelson, The Martin Marprelate Tracts (Cambridge University Press, 2008), The Library of the Sidneys of Penshurst Place (University of Toronto Press, 2013), with Germaine Warkentin and William Bowen, and two volumes in the Private Libraries of Renaissance England, vol. 7 (MRTS, 2009) and vol. 8 (MRTS, 2013), both with R. J. Fehrenbach. Black is also engaged with the Digital Humanities Initiative at UMass Amherst, developing an online database of private Renaissance libraries with the Folger Shakespeare Library, among other projects.

Contents of Collection

The Black collection is an eclectic assemblage of American imprints designed to assist study and instruction in the history of the book. The collection includes two long runs of popular dime novels of the turn of the twentieth century, Beadle's Frontier Series and the American Revolution-inspired Liberty Boys of '76, examples of almanacs, prompt books, and works form the early national period in publishers' bindings. Black has also contributed two scrapbooks: an ambitious late Victorian autograph album and a scrapbook kept by an agent with Massachusetts Orchestras Associated booking musical acts in ca.1931.

Collection inventory
Allen, Ethan: Allen's Captivity, Being a Narrative of Colonel Ethan Allen... Boston: Oliver L. Perkins
1845

Quarter leather over printed paper boards. Illustrated.

Almanacs: Beers Almanack (1794, 1813); Staffords Almanack (1798); Middlebrooks Almanack (1817); Herrick's Almanac (1918); Dr. Miles New Weather Almanac (1921); two cripples
1794-1918
Baker, George M.: Irish Dialect Recitations. Boston: Lee and Shepard
1888

Lacks cover

Baldwin, James: Blues for Mister Charlie. New York: Samuel French
1964

Actor's edition

Beadle's Frontier Series Dime novels
1909-1934
36 vols.
  • 5. The boy guide
  • 6. The war tiger of the Modocs
  • 7. The red Modocs
  • 8. Iron Hand the Tory chief
  • 13. Old Jack's frontier cabin
  • 14. On the deep
  • 18. The brave boy: hunters of Kentucky
  • 19. The fearless ranger
  • 21. The madman of the Colorado
  • 23. Slashaway the fearless
  • 24. Pine Tree Jack
  • 26. Navajo Nick
  • 29. A New York boy among the Indians
  • 30. Deadwood Dick's big deal
  • 33. Squatty Dick
  • 34. The hunter's secret, or gamblers among the redskins
  • 35. The woman trapper, or Arkansas Sal and the patches
  • 37. Gunpowder Jim, or the mystery of Demon Hollow
  • 38. Mad Anthony's captain
  • 39. The danger boy's career
  • 45. The Irish hunter
  • 46. Dave Bunker, or the outlaws of the frontier
  • 56. The Indian queen's revenge (lacks cover)
  • 65. Old Kit the scout
  • 70. Made Mike, or the death shot
  • 73. The blazing arrow
  • 74. The hunter scouts
  • 75. The scout of Long Island
  • 78. Bullet Head
  • 81. Lightfoot, the scout
  • 83. The wooden-legged spy
  • 86. Fire Cloud
  • 88. The scout of the Sciota
  • 89. Black Samson
  • 92. Marksman the hunter
  • 93. The demon cruiser
Boston Post Sunday Magazine: 6 Sunday supplements
1921-1924

Scarce, ephemeral

Code of 1650, being a compilation of the earliest laws and orders of the General Court of Connecticut... commonly called the Blue Laws. Hartford: Judd, Loomis & Co.
1836

With Milton Public Library presentation plate; front cover detached; quarter leather over original publisher's boards.

Constitution of the State of Massachusetts and that of the United States... Brookfield: E. Merriam for Isaiah Thomas
1807

Quarter leather over wooden boards with original blue paper.

Coffinberry, Andrew: Forest Rangers. Columbus: Wright and Legg
1842

19th century cloth binding with paper label; in custom box. Early novel, Ohio imprint, regarding Anthony Wayne in the Old Northwest.

Cook, James: Voyage to the Pacific Ocean for making discoveries... 4 vols. NY: Tiebout and O'Brien
1796

1st Amer. Ed. Two incomplete, mismatched sets, with vol. 2 in duplicate, creating a complete set. One copy of vol. 2 lacks t.p. Vol. 2 and 4 ex-Charleston Free Library; vol. 1, 2, and 3 with ownership inscription of Isaac Young.

Eastman, Charles: Smoky Day's Wigwam Evenings. Boston: Little Brown
1924

Decorative cloth binding depicting Native Americans sitting in circle with bear cub.

Liberty Boys of '76
1902-1924
60 items, 59 nos.)

Nos. 104, 123, 132, 135, 140, 143, 145, 149, 163, 334, 348, 362, 449, 505, 547, 693, 710, 716, 975, 1021, 1033, 1047, 1057, 1071, 1080, 1081, 1082, 1083, 1084, 1085, 1087, 1088, 1093, 1097, 1099, 1101, 1106, 1112, 1113, 1126, 1127, 1131, 1132 (2), 1150, 1192, 1195, 1197, 1203, 1224, 1225, 1231, 1232, 1234, 1237, 1245, 1246, 1247, 1248, 1252

Lincoln, William L. autograph scrapbook
1858-1907

Unusual mid-19th century collection of letters sent to autograph collector, some clipped signatures. Includes scientists (J.P. Kirtland, Chandler Robbins), literary figures (Charles Lowell, John Pierpont, George Putnam, Edward Everett Hale), politicians (Sherman Hoar), clergymen (William Rounseville Alger, Orville Dewey, Henry W. Bellows, Frederic Hedge, Frederick Dan Huntington, Manton Eastburn).

Luther, Martin: Psalter des Königs und Propheten Davids. Philadelphia: Jacob Meyer
1812

Quarter leather with paper boards; black letter type.

Massachusetts Orchestras Associated (?) scrapbook
ca.1931

Scrapbook apparently kept by musical act booking agent in New England (Boston or northern suburbs).

McDonald, A.: Youth's Assistant... Guide to Practical Arithmetic. Litchfield: Collier
1789

Re-cased with new back in quarter leather over original boards.

More, Hannah: Shepherd of Salisbury Plain... to which is added, the Sorrows of Yamba: or the Negro Woman's Lamentation. New Haven: Sidney Press
1806

Quarter leather with marbled paper over wooden boards, quarter leather.

Morgan and Maguire: Cases and materials on evidence. Chicago: Foundation Press
1942

Copy owned by Elliot Richardson, with ownership inscription as law student at Harvard and some marginal comments.

Pearse, Padraig: Singer and other plays. Dublin: Maunsel & Co.
1918
Plays and prompt books
1889-1919
8 items
Frank Glynn's wife, or an American Harem. Boston: Walter H. Baker
1897
Walkes, W. R.: Pair of lunatics. Boston: Walter H. Baker
1889
Taylor, J.M.: Man from Brandon. Boston: Walter H. Baker
1907
Gleason, O. W.: How the story grew. Boston: Walter H. Baker
1908
King, Beulah: Henry, Where are you? Boston: Walter H. Baker
1919
Baker, Walter H.: Love of a bonnet. Boston: Walter H. Baker
1889
Parker, Mary Moncure : When Lucindy goes to town. Chicago: T.S. Denison
undated
Pauline Phelps' Pieces. NY: Edgar S. Werner
1900-1904
7 monologues (two partial)
Robinson, D. F.: Stories About Dr. Franklin Designed for the Instruction and Amusement of Children. Hartford: D.F. Robinson & Co.
1829

Quarter leather with printed paper over boards; adverts on rear panel.

Washington Benevolent Society: Text-Book of the Washington Benevolent Society. Concord: George Hough
1812

Quarter leather over marbled boards. Contains a relatively early printing of the US Constitution.

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Language:

English

Provenance

Gift of Joe Black, July 2013.

Related material

The Barbara Parker History of the Book Collection covers a broader span of time and printing technologies.

Processing Information

Processed by I. Eliot Wentworth, Aug. 2014.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Joseph Laurence Black History of the Book Collection (RB 023). Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Amherst Libraries.

Search terms

Subjects

  • Books--History--United States
  • Dime novels, American

Link to similar SCUA collections

Genre terms

  • Almanacs
  • Scrapbooks