Item No: #363449 A Treatise on the Law of Principal and Agent; and of Sales By Auction in Two Volumes. Millard Fillmore, Samuel Livermore.
A Treatise on the Law of Principal and Agent; and of Sales By Auction in Two Volumes
A Treatise on the Law of Principal and Agent; and of Sales By Auction in Two Volumes
A Treatise on the Law of Principal and Agent; and of Sales By Auction in Two Volumes
A Treatise on the Law of Principal and Agent; and of Sales By Auction in Two Volumes
A Treatise on the Law of Principal and Agent; and of Sales By Auction in Two Volumes

Only the Second Known Millard Fillmore Bookplate, with a Book Curse

A Treatise on the Law of Principal and Agent; and of Sales By Auction in Two Volumes

Notes: A two-volume set on auction law from the library of Millard Fillmore's first legal partnership, Clary and Fillmore, with Fillmore's surname in gilt on the spines and with a rare example of Fillmore's bookplate affixed to the pastedown of the second volume.

Catherine Parisian located just one example of Millard Fillmore's bookplate during the compilation of the annotated catalogue of the library that Fillmore built during his presidency, The First White House Library (Penn State University Press, 2010). That bookplate, for Fillmore's miscellaneous library, is in the collection of the Grolier Club. That plate was reproduced in the Grolier Club's book Lasting Impressions, the 2004 catalog of an exhibit of the Club Library's "treasures." That bookplate was also reproduced in The First White House Library as figure 9.

This legal set has an example of Fillmore's law library bookplate, which is particularly interesting because it includes a kind of book curse, or warning to those who don't return books, " 'Cursed is he that borrows his neighbor's property, and neglects to return it.'—Koran."

At first, your cataloguer assumed this unusual reference to the Muslim holy book was an example of Fillmore's broadminded unitarian religious thinking. But the text does not appear to be from the Quran at all. In any case, this bookplate is certainly one of the more distictive marks of ownership in a book once belonging to an American president. This bookplate and the one for the miscellaneous library are both depicted in Stephen Korschal's Collecting Books and Pamphlets Signed by the Presidents of the United States (Patriotic Press, 1982, p. 13).

Before this book on auction law acquired its unique bookplate, it belonged to the law library of Clary and Fillmore, the future president's first law practice which operated in Buffalo, New York, from 1830 to 1832. The book itself is an expanded version of A Treatise on the Law Relative to Principals, Agents, Factors, Auctioneers, and Brokers, the first American book on the subject (Boston, 1811). Justice Antonin Scalia cited this book in his opinion in Domino's Pizza, Inc. v. McDonald (2006) to establish an originalist understanding of agents during Reconstruction.

The bookplate is printed letterpress in black ink on pale yellow paper. The printer employed four typefaces and two different type ornaments. The plate measures roughly 2-5/8 by 1-3/16 inches. The books collate as follows: [blank leaf], xxxiii, [2 blanks], [Errata], 472, [blank leaf]; [blank leaf], [iv], 422, [blank leaf].

Edition + Condition: A good set, in contemporary sheep (?) with red spine labels, stamped in gilt. Partial ownership labels of the attorney C. J. Danaher over "Fillmore" on the spine. Outer joints cracked. There is a manuscript notation reading "Clary and Fillmore" in each volume, along with the ownership signature and stamps of O. H. Platt, a senator elected from Connecticut. The bookplate has left a faint shadow on the facing page. `A decent set with nice presidential and senatorial provenance.

Publication: Baltimore, MD: Printed for the Author by Joseph Robinson, 1818.

Item No: #363449

Price: $2,500