HOFFY, Alfred M. (fl. 1837-1864, lithographer and publisher). - William Draper BRINCKLÉ (1798-1862, editor)
Hoffy's North American Pomologist, containing numerous finely colored drawings, accompanied by letter press descriptions, &c, of fruits of American origin. Edited by William D. Brincklé
Philadelphia: Prepared and published by A. Hoffy, 1860. "Book no.1" (all published) quarto. (10 1/2 x 7 3/4 inches). Lithographic portrait frontispiece of Brincklé by Hoffy, 36 hand-coloured lithographed plates, heightened and finished with gum arabic, all by Hoffy.
Publisher's purple cloth, upper cover stamped in gilt.
A fine copy of this beautifully-illustrated and "very rare" (Bennett) work.
"The design of the present work is to direct attention of Horticulturalists... to our native fruits, and to give such a pomological description and colored drawing of them, as that they may be readily identified" (Editor's preface). True to his word, Brincklé gives detailed descriptions of each variety under various sub-headings: size of fruit, flavour, quality, synonyms, form, etc., and then adds a paragraph or so on the historic origins of the variety. Details of 36 varieties are given (16 pears, 7 apples, 4 peaches, 3 raspberries, 2 plums, and 1 each of apricots, grapes, cherry and chestnut) all first described and tested in North America. But the chief glory of this work are the spectacular plates "of a delicate and charming quaintness ... [they] are almost good enough to eat" (McGrath). All are 'drawn from nature' and lithographed by Hoffy himself. This is the third work on American fruits to be published by Hoffy with his own hand-coloured lithographs. His earliest and best-known publication is his Orchardist's Companion (Philadelphia: 1841-43). He then collaborated with Brincklé, a Philadelphia doctor and pomological enthusiast, on the ill-fated The American Pomologist (Philadelphia: 1851), the stock of which, according to Hoffy, was "consumed , uninsured, in the conflagration of the Artisan Building, in Ranstead Place" (Introduction to the present work). The present work is therefore Hoffy and Brincklé's second collaboration. The reasons why only the present "Book No.1" appeared are not known, but, at the time, its success seems to have been limited for, as Bennett notes, "it is [now] very rare." Dr. Brincklé's death in December 1862 may also have been a deciding factor.
M.A. Amerine & A.E. Borg A bibliography on grapes, wines, other alcoholic beverages 1783; Bennett, p. 117; Bunyard 'Guide to the Literature of Pomology, in the Journal of the Royal Horticulture Society, p. 439; McGrath, p. 56; cf. Oak Spring Pomona 59.