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Lot Number: 137
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1789 First Edition Book “The History of the American Revolution... by David Ramsay, M.D.” Complete 2-Vol. Set First Edition, First American History Published in America

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1789-Dated Rare First Edition, “The History of the American Revolution by David Ramsay, M.D. In Two Volumes.”, Hardcover Complete Set of Two Volumes, “Philadelphia: Printed and Sold by R. Aitken & Son.”, Fine.

David Ramsay (1749-1815) was an American physician, public official, and historian from Charleston, South Carolina. He was one of the first major historians of the American Revolutionary War. During the Revolution he served in the South Carolina legislature until he was captured by the British. After his release he served as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1782-1783 and again in 1785-1786. Afterwards he served in the State House and Senate until retiring from public service. He was murdered in 1815 by a mentally ill man whom Ramsay had examined as a physician. Ramsay's “History of the American Revolution” was one of the first and most accomplished histories to appear in the aftermath of that event.

The First Edition of the First American History published in America. Evans provides this note: "David Ramsay's Petition for copyright upon his 'History of the Revolution in South-Carolina,' published in 1785, and his 'History of the American Revolution,' which he proposed publishing, was presented to Congress on the 15th April, and granted by them on the 20th April, 1789. These were the first copyrights issued by the general government, and antedate, by over a year, the passage of a general copyright law, which became operative on the first of June, 1790. The volumes bear no evidence of copyright."

A very rare Complete Two Volume Hardcover Set of David Ramsay’s “History”, consisting of 359 pages in Volume 1 and 356 pages in Volume 2, each volume measuring 8.25” x 5.25,” bound in used old leather boards, with some minor scattered foxing throughout yet with strong bindings and no noticeable defects such as waterstaining, wormholes, or burning, making this a superior quality set of text with no illustrations. In his Preface, author Ramsay writes: “The materials for the following sheets were collected in the year 1782, 1783, 1785, and 1786; in which years, as a member of Congress, I had access to all the official papers of the United States.”

At the end of Volume 2, Ramsay lists all the Members of Congress (and their respective States) who attended from November 5, 1774 to March 3, 1789; also a list of the Presidents of Congress during the same period. A fabulous history from someone who was actually present and there to see and record it all in this two volume set. We have located a First Edition copy of Ramsay’s, “History of the Revolution of South-Carolina” in similar quality offered at just under $8,000. We have also located a copy of the Third American edition set being offered online by a noted bookseller for $2,500. This current complete two volume set is much rarer being the First Edition, published in Philadelphia in 1789. (Set of Two Volumes). Ref: Evans 22090.
David Ramsay, M.D. was better known as a historian and author than as a politician. He was one of the American Revolution's first major historians, who wrote with knowledge and insights acquired by being personally involved in the events of the American Revolution.

His other major Historical works include:

History of the Revolution of South Carolina (1785, two volumes)

History of the American Revolution (1789, two volumes)

A Dissertation on the Manners of Acquiring the Character and Privileges of a Citizen (1789)

Life of Washington (1807)

History of South Carolina (1809, two volumes)

History of the United States (1816-1817, three volumes) - published posthumously

Universal History Americanized (1819, twelve volumes, including History of the United States as the first 3 volumes).

In 1812, six weeks after the death of his wife Martha Laurens Ramsay, he published her diary and private letters under the title Memoirs of the Life of Martha Laurens Ramsay.[6] Her memoirs remain historically valuable as a chronicle of the life of a well-educated Southern woman during the American Revolutionary War and the early years of the nation, including while she took her mother's place as hostess for her father's political gatherings in the 1780s

David Ramsey also authored Life of George Washington American Revolution Valley Forge RARE David Ramsay s Life of George Washington is one of the standard early biographies on the first American president.

Ramsay, in addition to being the first historian of the American Revolution, was an important figure in the establishment of Washington as an American icon, mostly through this biography. Ramsay covers Washington s early life, his military prowess, and political career. This biography is not only a work about the life of Washington but a detailed description of the Revolutionary War as a whole. Ramsay includes a thorough and lengthy description of the battle of Valley Forge, which seems to be better fit in his History of the American Revolution .

Nevertheless, Life of Washington is an important and lasting piece in the canon of American history. Fully titled: The life of George Washington, commander in chief of the armies of the United States of America : throughout the war which established their independence; and first president of the United States New York : Hopkins & Seymour, 1807.
Lot Number: 137
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Estimate Range: $3,000 - $4,000
Early American • P.O. Box 3507 • Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
Phone: 858 • 759 • 3290 or Fax: 858 • 759 • 1439