PLAZA BOOKS

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Manual de la Isla de Cuba. Compendio de su Historia

Manual de la Isla de Cuba. Compendio de su Historia, Geografia, Estadistica y Administracion

Arboleya, Jose G[arcia] Small octavo, 15 x 10cm, pp 381, [2], with 5 maps and 32 plates. SIGNED by rubrication of the author on the copyright page. The text calls for 30 plates, but our copy has 32. The printing house was that of the Spanish government of the island. This is the first general guide book Cuba - we find nothing remotely approaching it for comprehensiveness - attempting to illustrate all its facets, as the author is at pains to point out. The information includes customs, history, flora and fauna, as well as the price and schedules of paque-boats and ferrocarriles both inter- and intra-island, tobacco and sugar production levels, etc. Fold-out maps are, among others, of the city of Havana, the island of Cuba, and, in color, the system of flag colors that indicated the point of origin of arriving vessels. The b/w plates are of important events or buildings in the island. The rubricated initial of the author is under a notice that no copy of the book without such is to be considered legal or authorized. The book is quite rare, with only a small handful of copies on OCLC; auction records show only one sale, that of the 1858 printing some 45 years ago. Condition is very good - paper fresh, no foxing, hinges sound; the fold-outs are fragile and do have some minor splits; minor wear along top and bottom of spine; minor separation of title page. Nevertheless, very good copy, especially for such a fragile item.
Mexico Pintoresco Artistico y Monumental. Vistas

Mexico Pintoresco Artistico y Monumental. Vistas, descripcion, anecdotas y episodios de los lugares mas notables de la capital y de los estados, aun de las poblaciones cortas, pero de importancia geografica o historica . las descripciones contienen datos cientificos historicos y estadisticos.

Mexico City: Imprenta de la Reforma, 1880 / 82. First edition. Two volumes (of three), large quartos, pp xxxv, 515, 18, and with 61 (of 67) plates; frontis., vi, 534, 7, and 61 (of 70) plates. Total number of plates is 122, all full-page, not included in pagination. (The plate count is given in the back of each volume; it should be noted that plate counts in volumes such as this are often misnumbered, and the present set shows no sign that plates were excised.) The first two volumes deal with Mexico City and its environs; vol. 3, not present, dealt with the rest of the country. The lithograph plates in these volumes are of very high quality, on especially thin paper used to enhance the imprint, showing everything of interest in the city at the time, along with valuable descriptive and historical text by the author. The plates as well as the text are of great value in documenting the architectural scene in Mexico, esp. the capitol. (Even included are views of the new streetcar system that had been recently installed.) The lithographs were done by L. Garces and executed by the firm of Murguia, noted for the superb quality of their work. Cambas, 1840 - 1917, was an important historian of his day, with other important works to his name. Mathes in his book on Mexican lithography, Mexico on Stone, pp. 41-44, calls the set: "The most important album of Mexican views of the century". Reprinted several times in the 1970 - 80, the original set is extremely scarce on the market -- no complete sets have apparently ever come up at auction; OCLC notes only 6 library holdings, but with no indication of the completeness of the volumes. (Palau 270223/4) Volumes are bound in red cloth over marbled boards, which show some scuffing. Paper is somewhat toned but not at all brittle, frontispiece of vol. 2 is present but detached, binding is sound, and the plates are all in excellent shape.