CAREY, Mathew (1760-1839)
The American Museum or Repository of Ancient and Modern Fugutive Pieces, &c. ... [title changed to The American Museum, or, Universal Magazine in January 1790]
Philadelphia: Carey [and Carey, Stewart and Co.], January 1787- December 1792 [published 1787-1792]. 12 volumes, comprising 72 consecutive monthly issues, 8vo. (8 x 4 3/4 inches). Collations as below.
Expertly bound to style in half period tree calf and marbled paper covered boards
America's first literary magazine, including early printings of the Federalist Papers, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and Hamilton's Report on Manufactures: a rarely encountered complete set including the rare folding plates.
A complete run of The American Museum, America's first literary magazine, and a pioneering effort on the part of its publisher, Mathew Carey, to bring news to a national audience, and to develop and promote an indigenous literary culture. Carey began The American Museum on the heels of a failed partnership with other printers called the Columbian Magazine. Carey's original goal in his solo venture was to cull from other sources the best essays on political, economic, and cultural subjects, as well as poetry and prose, and offer it to a national audience. Despite the note to the reader in his first issue apologizing for his journal being "destitute as it is of originality," he soon began to publish original work. A favorable opinion of the Museum from George Washington, often reprinted in advertisements, enhanced its reputation. Carey cast a wide net in soliciting writers and topics for his periodical. Among the distinguished contributors are Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Paine, James Bowdoin, David Rittenhouse, Benjamin West, Jeremy Belknap, Ezra Stiles, Noah Webster, H.M. Brackenridge, Joel Barlow, Timothy Dwight, Benjamin Rush, Joel Dickinson, and Tench Coxe. All of the major issues of the day, as well as scientific and cultural events, found a place in its pages. Not the least of these are the debates surrounding the Constitution, but also internal improvements, manufactures, agriculture, and the general state of the nation, as well as poetry and varied prose. The appearance of the Federal Constitution in the September 1787 issue is one of the first contemporary printings of the document, and the inclusion in the same issue of a "Letter Relative to the Hessian Fly" shows the range of the journal's interests. The American Museum became a vital source for information about the activities of the federal government, as Carey printed reports from cabinet departments, the proceedings of Congress, state constitutions, treaties with foreign nations, and foreign intelligence. Authors contributing literary essays and poetry include Francis Hopkinson, Philip Freneau, David Humphreys, Timothy Dwight, and John Trumbull. The success of The American Museum helped establish Mathew Carey as the leading printer of his generation. Through the publication of the periodical he was able to develop a distribution network which greatly aided him in coming years as he became a leading book publisher. A congressional change in postal rates for magazines in 1792 forced Carey to end The American Museum in order "to have recourse to some other object that might afford a better reward to industry." Complete sets with all volumes and all plates are extremely scarce. Sets are generally found as mixed editions, as Carey re-issued volumes and monthly issues at various times. The present set, entirely first edition with the exception of the first volume, collates as follows: Volume 1 [January - June 1787]: iv, -408, -492pp, with errors in pagination [i.e. pp. 409-420 not issued]. With sectional titles for each monthly part, volume index in the rear. Third editions of January-March (published 1790-1792), Second editions April-June (published 1788-1789). Volume 2 [July - December 1787]: 600, 22, [2, blank] pp. With dedication to Lafayette, list of subscribers and Index. With sectional titles for each monthly part. First editions. With a printing of the U.S. Constitution on pp. 276-284. Volume 3 [January - June 1788]: xvi, -208, 109-172 [i.e. 209-272], 273-496, [ii, letter from George Washington to Carey dated June 25, 1788], 497-604pp [errors in pagination as issued]. Woodcut illustration of a constellation on p.214. With sectional titles for each monthly part. First editions. Volume 4 [July - December 1788]: xvi, -592pp, with errors in pagination as issued [i.e. with page 248 twice and without page 264]. Folding ad for printer Charles Cist preceding September issue (i.e. being an unaccomplished contract). With a general title; with the preliminary extract of a letter from George Washington leaf preceding general title. First editions. Volume 5 [January - June 1789]: xvi, -628pp. With a general title. With the engraved folding map of the Gulf Stream (March 1789) and the engraved folding Plan of African Ship's Lower Deck (May 1789). First editions. Volume 6 [July - December 1789]: , 492, 46, pp. With a general title. Woodcut of a deformed African American boy on p. 350. First edition. Volume 7 [January - June 1790]: 344, 44, 44, 44, 40, pp [errors in pagination as issued; i.e. pp. 38-41 of third appendix not issued, pp. 13-15 and 18, of the fourth appendix not issued]. With a general title. First edition. With a printing of the Bill of Rights on pp. 11-13 of the second appendix. Printing flaw to Appendix III, p. 19. Volume 8 [July - December 1790]: 288, 40, 80, 20, 52pp. With a general title. First editions. Volume 9 [January - June 1791]: 344, 48, 40, 48pp. With a general title. Woodcut of a river on p. 254. First editions. Minor paper flaw to p. 343. Volume 10 [July - December 1791]: 308, 36, 48, 44pp. With a general title. First edition. Volume 11 [January - June 1792]: 40, [2, ad], 41-308, 36, 92, 48, pp. With a general title. First edition. Includes a printing of Hamilton's Report on Manufactures in Appendix 2. Advertisement for Currie's Historical Account of the Climates and Diseases of the United States at the end of the January issue. Volume 12 [July - December 1792]: iv, -196, [189*]-352, 36, 44, 40pp. With a general title. First edition.
James N. Green, Mathew Carey, Publisher and Patriot, pp.6-7; Chielens, American Literary Magazines, pp.19-24.