[a remarkably fine set] Wholesale, Retail, and for Exportation. With Illustrations by H. K. Browne [(beginning with the 6th part:) With Illustrations, engraved on Wood by J. W. Orr, from designs by H. K. Browne]. New York: Wiley and Putnam [(beginning with the 18th part:) John Wiley], 1846-1848. Twenty monthly parts in nineteen, in the original brownish-grey wrappers printed in black.
First American Edition in the original parts. The English parts ran from October 1846 through April 1848, and each Wiley & Putnam part was issued immediately after its English counterpart. As Wilkins observes, "At the bottom of the first page of each number was printed 'The Illustrations for this Number will be given with the Next,' the text probably being set in type as soon as the English number was received and printed at once without waiting for the engraving of the plates for that number, so that the plates were always one number behind the text. The Phiz plates were redrawn and engraved on wood by J. W. Orr, and it is remarkable how closely the spirit of the original etchings was reproduced in wood engravings." The Wiley & Putnam parts contain a total of 36 plates (two in each part except for the first); not included were the four plates that accompanied the English 19/20th part, because of the one-month lag in reproducing the engravings . Part I includes a title page, and the final part includes the other preliminaries necessary to facilitate the binding of the parts into two volumes (38 plates are listed in these preliminary leaves: the final two were later available upon application to the publisher).
Two other American publishers also issued DOMBEY in parts. Bradbury & Guild of Boston issued a very similar set of parts, likewise with 36 plates running a month behind, in wrappers that were exact facsimiles of the English ones. Priority between this issue and the Wiley & Putnam one is unknown, as it probably was measured in hours, not days. Lea & Blanchard of Philadelphia also issued parts, but not as quickly: they waited for plates to be engraved, so that all 40 could be included (they advertised it as "the only edition which presents the plates accompanying the text to which they refer."
This is A REMARKABLY FINE SET. Most of the parts are virtually flawless, other than trifling wear at the very tips of the spine; Part I has a chip in its rear wrapper, and Parts XV and XVII have minor wear at the spine, but overall the condition of this set is amazing. The rarity of American Dickens in parts can hardly be over-emphasized; it is no exaggeration that one encounters hundreds of English sets in parts for every single American set of parts. Housed in a morocco-backed slipcase (bearing the wrong date) and inner chemise. Podeschi (Yale) A104; Wilkins p. 25. Item #13319