Tuesday, May 19, 2009

18th Century Providence

{The images are the best available from the recent auction.}

This little book was recently seen for auction. Lovecraft would have been passionate about his city and its 18th century era.

"Angell's Lane, The History of a Little Street in Providence"

By George L. Miner. Published in Providence by the Akerman-Standard Press in 1948.

Two houses have stood on an ancient street in Providence, once called Angell's Lane and now called Thomas Street, since the 18th century- the Dodge House and the Brick House, both built by a remarkable artisan named Seril Dodge. Dodge came to Angell's Lane in 1784 and set himself up as a clockmaker, a trade at which he became very successful. By 1789 he was also advertising for silver and working as a silversmith, specializing in spoons and shoe buckles. In fact, it was said at the time that the two fine houses he built were "paid for...in silver buckles".

Dodge also dealt at various times with the well-known Brown family of Providence, about whom there is much in this book as well. Eventually the Providence Art Club came into possession of the houses and half of this book is devoted to the history of the Club from its founding in the 1880s, and its members and their exhibitions and hijinks. There is also material on the history of this section of Providence through the centuries, but three chapters are devoted in one way or another to Seril Dodge, his life, his clocks and his silver (both of which Miner illustrates, including a lovely cream pitcher), and his houses. Really, a remarkable amount of artistic history was packed into a short, block-long street, and it is thoroughly covered in this book.

Hardcover. 6.5"x10", 198 + xxxvi pages, black & white illustrations. Publisher's brick red cloth, silver & black leather spine label; light wear, but overall in very nice, clean condition.

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