[Lansing, Alfred A., Alexander Anderson, Jacob Maas, Milton F. Harrison], Galaxy of Comicalities, Philadelphia: Printed by Lesher & Shelly, No. 303 Callowhill St. at $1.25 per annum in advance, 1833. Twelve Issues: Volume 1: Nos. 1 – 12. These are twelve issues of only forty printed between October 2, 1833 and July 5, 1834. Galaxy of Comicalities is said to be the first illustrated comic periodical printed in America.
Issue 11, December 11, 1833, contains a review of Sketches and Eccentricities of Colonel David Crockett of East [sic] Tennessee. Crockett (1786 – 1836), a consummate self-promoter, was the subject of numerous books. Life and Adventures of Colonel David Crockett of West Tennessee, a spurious biography not authorized by Crockett, was published in 1833 and reprinted later in the same year under the more accurate title of Sketches and Eccentricities of Colonel David Crockett of West Tennessee.
Galaxy of Comicalities was a racist publication, characteristic of humor during the Andrew Jackson administration. Mocking people of color during their “days off,” writing in racial dialect and making sexist jokes about women, this short-lived publication was intended for a semi-literate reader (or listener) sympathetic to the publishers’ racist views. The editorial standard is as execrable as the spelling and views expressed. Illustrated with woodcuts of a similarly pejorative nature.
Condition of this rare, worn and dis-bound surviving set: Issue 1, old repairs to page edges, tear repair to page 1, slight text loss on p. 2; issue 2, repair to worn margins; issue 3, old tear repair to title-page, margin repairs with text loss, repair patch with text from another source p. 10; issue 4, margin repairs, significant text loss; issue 5, good condition, no repairs; issue 6, good condition, no repairs; issue 7, text loss of a few words to three lines of one page; issue 8, good condition; issue 9, good condition; issue 10, margin repairs, loss of few words on one page; issue 11, margin repairs, text loss of a few letters on one page; issue 12, old tear repair. All twelve copies have browned with some spotting to the laid paper.
Housed in a folder with the ownership tag of Richard S. Wormser. Mr. Wormser, a former president of the International League of Antiquarian Book Sellers and the Antiquarian Book Sellers Association of America, was a member of the Grolier Club, the American Antiquarian Society of Worcester, Mass., the Club of Odd Volumes of Boston and the Old Book Table of New York.
The racial stereotypes depicted in the language and images of this publication do not reflect the views, beliefs or opinions of the bookseller.