[CARACAS PRINTING] [BELLO, ANDRES]. Calendario Manual y Guia Universal de Forasteros en Venezuela.
Caracas: [Matthew] Gallagher & [James] Lamb, . Stitched pamphlet, likely as issued. 5 5/8 x 3 7/8 inches (14.5 x 10 cm); 56 pp. (of possible 64) being quires A-G and without quire H (see note). Title with one faint and one dark collector's stamp, ink inscription to verso of title, the headline trimmed close with some loss of page numbers and text, old soiling and stains, a few small losses.
This is an original copy of the first book printed at Caracas. Despite the long history of printing in Spain's South American colonies, a proper press did not arrive in Venezuela until the Britons Matthew Gallagher and James Lamb arrived with one from Trinidad in 1808 and began publishing La Gazeta de Caracas. This small guide for outsiders, authored by Bolivar tutor Andres Bello, was advertised in that paper in late 1809 but it was delayed several months with copies still being issued in June 1810. The delay in the publication corresponds with the first stages of the Venezuelan War of Independence, as in April 1810 the Supreme Caracas Junta forced the deposition of the Spanish Captain General Vicente Emparan and the First Republic was established. Quire H of this book was to contain a long list of Spanish officials, which was likely excluded from the print run of later copies as the publishers swayed their position from Royalist to Republican (Emparan's name also struck out in ink in the list of historical colonial rulers). The stitching of this copy also appears original with no evidence of detached leaves. A note accompanying this volume states that the Nunez Ponte copy also lacked these final leaves as does the copy located at the National Library of Venezuela (described as "incunables Venezolanos"). The copy listed at the British Library, while lacking several internal leaves, seems to contain the final quire and is thus likely one of the first issued (this is the only institutional holding listed on WorldCat). This copy is the only one we trace at auction, despite some records for a facsimile edition (sold Sotheby's New York, 12 December 1991, lot 97).
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