Copy of the First American Treatise on Wills that Belonged to an Important Early Illinois Statesman Vallette, Elie. [Sparrow, Thomas (1746?-1780?), Engraver]. The Deputy Commissary's Guide Within the Province of Maryland, Together with Plain and Sufficient Directions for Testators to Form, and Executors to Form Their Wills and Testaments, For Administrators to Compleat Their Administrations, And for Every Person Any Way Concerned in Deceased Person's Estates, To Proceed Therein with Safety to Themselves and Others. Annapolis: Printed by Ann Catherine Green and Son, 1774. [ii], iv, 248,  pp. Copperplate title page and table of descents. Octavo (7-3/4" x 5"). Contemporary sheep, re-backed in calf, retaining original lettering piece, endpapers renewed. Light rubbing to boards, corners bumped and lightly worn. Moderate toning to text, somewhat darker in places, occasional dampstaining, mostly to margins. Early owner signature of Ninian Edwards to front endleaf and margin of p.50, interior otherwise clean. $1,400. * The first original American legal guide, it is also the first American book on the law of wills. Dedicated to Maryland Governor Robert Eden, it was printed by Dutch immigrant Ann Catherine Hoof Green, wife of Jonas Green, whom she succeeded as public printer of Maryland from 1767 to 1775 (inheriting his bankruptcy debt along with his shop). The engraved title page, the only one issued from a colonial Maryland press, and the copperplate table are considered the finest work of Thomas Sparrow, the only engraver south of the Mason-Dixon Line prior to 1775. Vallette was registrar of the Prerogative Office of Maryland Province. Originally from Maryland, Edwards [1775-1833] was an important early Illinois statesman and political leader. He was the only governor of the Illinois Territory from 1809 to 1818, one of the first two United States Senators from Illinois from 1818 to 1824 and the third Governor of that state from 1826 to 1830. Wroth, Maryland Imprints 338. Wroth, The Colonial Printer in America 290. Cohen, Bibliography of Early American Law 4632.
Book number 62326