The Humourist’s Own Book: A cabinet of original and selected anecdotes, bons mots, sports of fancy, and traits of character: intended to furnish occasion for reflection as well as mirth. By the author of the Young Man’s Own Book.

  • (Humour)
  • Philadelphia: Desilver, Thomas & Co. 1836


SKU: 2141 Category: Tags: , ,


24mo, pp. 284 + engraved frontispiece and additional title-page. Original sheep, boards bordered with a gilt rule, spine divided by gilt rules, front board blocked with ‘Humourist’s Own Book’ inside a gilt frame. Foxed, some light soiling. Binding just a touch rubbed at extremities. Ownership inscriptions in pencil on the endpapers of Adah Bell, Clifton Haughs of Dexter, Michigan, Mary Knapp and Harry Darling, both of Cedar Falls, Iowa – though all of these in suspiciously similar hands – and pencilled ‘bons mots’ on the rear endpapers.


The engraved title-page has the imprint of Key & Biddle (and the date 1835), who held the copyright to this work in the USA, where it was originally published in 1833. It is far from wholly original work, however, and the compiler appears to have drawn heavily from Robert Chambers's 'Scottish Jests and Anecdotes' of 1832 - or both from the same source - and the contents of this volume rather resemble a Scottish cake studded with American sultanas. Substantial sections (33 of the first 50 items, for example) repeat verbatim text from 'Scottish Jests', though every fourth or fifth joke has been replaced by one with American provenance.
Worldcat locates this Desilver-imprint 1836 edition in NYPL and the Pennsylvania State Library only, with none in COPAC. The original publisher's binding, as here, must be especially uncommon as well.

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