Green Mountain Boy

I stumbled upon a very nice find of interest to Providence bibliophiles, as well as Americana folks. Henry Stevens of Vermont ran one of the great Americana firms in London on the 19th century, and his sons & partners carried on into the 20th. The catalogue shown here was owned by Caleb Fiske Harris, Providence collector extraordinare (his Civil War/slavery collection came to PPL–see, and his poetry and plays went to Brown, see

Of Stevens, the inestimable Lawrence Wroth writes in his 1936 essay on the John Carter Brown Library (see

“At the same time that John Carter Brown bought the collection of his brother Nicholas [1845], he came in touch with a young Yale graduate who was about to enter upon a notable career as bookseller and as writer upon American subjects. This was the same Henry Stevens, who in later years styled himself “of Vermont,” and placed after his name upon the title-pages of his books, satirizing the custom of contemporary pundits, various initials which would have been mysterious to his associates if he had not, in many cases, obligingly written out their meaning. A reader might conceivingly guess that G.M.B., in its Vermont context, meant “Green Mountain Boy,” but only one very much in the know would have a suspicion that “B.B.A.C.” stood for an incident of the sort that timid souls usually take pains to conceal, proclaiming boldly, as they did, that Mr. Stevens had been “Black Balled Athenaeum Club.” But all this was still to come when young Stevens arranged with John Carter Brown and several other American collectors to go to England in search of rare books for their libraries.”

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