Thursday, October 29, 2009

Remember that Find I mentioned a couple of weeks ago?

Do you?

I know, remembering things you read on blogs is probably not up at the top of your list of things to do, so I'll give you a quick reminder.

About three weeks ago, I decided to go out book hunting. I kept thinking I was going in the wrong direction and then WHAM, found a GOOD book. Remember now?

At the time, I didn't want to mention the book until I had done a bit more research.


I finally got the book listed in my database with detailed information.

The book is

Compiled by the Missionaries of the Society of Jesus Part II: English- Kalispel
Giorda, Rev. J.  (also Joseph Bandini, Gregory Mengarini, Joseph Guidi and Leopold Van Gorp)

this is what it looks like:

and here's my LONG description:

 Giorda, Rev. J.  (also Joseph Bandini, Gregory Mengarini, Joseph Guidi and Leopold Van Gorp): A DICTIONARY OF THE KALISPEL OR FLAT-HEAD INDIAN LANGUAGE : Compiled by the Missionaries of the Society of Jesus Part II: English- Kalispel. 1879 (1877-1879). St. Ignatius Print. Montana. Hardcover. 1st Edition/ Later state wrappers. VG+ / NONE. Volume II only: the Kalispel - English portion of the dictionary.  Originally published in wrappers (paper covers) this copy has been case bound by a previous owner at some later date. The case binding is a plain light brown buckram cloth binding with gilt lettering and rules to the spine of the book. The binding has some very light rubbing and edge wear. 456 numbered pages plus added endpapers, a blank sheet behind front and rear endpapers, later state plain wrappers (in this particular case, mottled grayish paper with writing to the recto (partial advertising for another book printed by this publisher in 1886) - this page has a large chip missing from the bottom edge starting at the bottom corner and working it's way inward along the bottom edge. Next is another blank, this time heavily toned, followed by a title page and a preface, a key to pronunciation and a key to both parts of the dictionary. The  original rear wrapper verso includes an advertisement for May Blossoms from the Rocky Mountains in Honor of the Blessed Mother of God by a Father of the Society of Jesus, dated 1886.  Apparently, this copy was not bound until 1886, though the contents itself is from the original printing.   From Analysis of A Dictionary of the Kalispel or Flat-head Indian Language (Giorda, S.J.: St. Ignatius Print, 1877-9) by Steven M. Egesdal, Ph.D comes this fascinating overview of the work:   "Giorda first came to the St. Ignatius mission in Montana in 1867. He was a polyglot apparently gifted with special linguistic ability. 5 The Jesuit Oregon Province Archives contains a manuscript ascribed to him dated 1871. That manuscript has two parts, one Indian-English and the other English-Indian.6 The Indian-English part is about 230 pages, written on both sides. The page size is about 7½ inches by 12 inches, with about 30 entries per page. That equals about 13,800 entries. The English-Indian part is 72 pages, with about 30 entries per page conservatively, which equals about 4,320 entries. Comparing Mengarini’s 1868 Indian-English manuscript to Giorda’s 1871 Indian-English manuscript indicates that Giorda’s manuscript (i)incorporated most if not all of the material of Mengarini’s 1868 manuscript, and (ii) reorganizedand revised the material from Mengarini’s 1868 manuscript and expanded it greatly. In terms of rough, raw numbers, the overall entries in Giorda’s 1871 manuscript more than doubled. In turn,the published Dictionary further expanded and reorganized Giorda’s 1871 manuscript significantly."   And later in the paper, regarding the printing itself: "Printing of the Dictionary required three years to complete, on a hand-operated press in “The Shops”at St. Ignatius Mission. Jesuit Father Alexander Diomedi had directed its purchase and transport from St. Louis in 1875, ordered its specialized type and trained Indian boys as his typesetters. Work on the Dictionary began immediately after the press’ first product, Narratives from the Holy Scripture, a 154-page book written in Kalispel. At least 66 imprints can be attributed to the St. Ignatius Press, of which the Dictionary is easily the most significant. Because of its cost so far from supply sources, paper was usually inferior in grade, and often scraps of all kinds were used as end sheets and covers. Over time the need for printed materials in Kalispel declined, so the press was relocated to Spokane in 1899 to serve the growing needs of Gonzaga College. It was unceremoniously replaced and scrapped in 1908."  DESCRIPTION: The spine ends and corners of the book cover have a bit of  very light bumping and rubbing.  The text pages are clean and generally bright, though some pages have light toning, especially towards the edges of the pages. The quality of the print varies (from heavier to lighter ink) depending on the page.  The bottom edge and foredges of the text block are untrimmed and the text itself is uncut (unopened) at the top edge (for the most part).  Page 53 does have two longish tears starting at the top edge of the page which have been taped with clear tape by a former owner (and another smaller tear starting at the spine joint which has NOT been taped.  Several pages at the end pf the text have wrinkles to the center of the pages which appears to have happened during production or some time soon after. Overall, a generally very nice copy of a scarce title.

Now, this isn't the LONGEST description I've written, not by a long shot, but it's more description, background info and looking up on something than I've done in a while (mostly because I don't FIND such fun things to research often -- I WISH I did).

One of the questions I had about this book when I was researching it (well, for pricing, more correctly) was because this copy has been bound (the original format was paper wrappers which are still intact in this bound copy), would that make a huge difference on the price.

My answer, after deliberation was -- not really.

First of all, there are VERY few copies of this book available, no matter what the binding.

Second, the binding (though rather plain and dull, but not ugly) is actually keeping the contents of the book in better condition than if it were NOT bound.

Third, this book is collectable and useful because of its CONTENT, not it's binding.  As the book is non-fiction and very (VERY) specific, the content is more important than the fact that it was rebound.

So, the upshot of those questions was that I didn't feel that the fact that the book had been protectively bound was a detriment to the price of the item. 

Mostly, I'm just fascinated with the background, history and all the little details that I learned about the book (and the Kalispel Indians at the same time).

This is the sort of find that makes me LOVE my job.

Of course, I wish I found stuff like this every day (and wish I SOLD stuff like this regularly too  :)  ) but that's not the way this job works.

Most days, I slog along listing regular books for regular folk (which isn't a put-down by any means, these are all good books in their own way) or doing my taxes, or just moving boxes around.

Today, I get to do a bit of all of the above.  And I still enjoy it.

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