NILE TRIBUTARIES OF ABYSSINIA, and the Sword Hunters of the Hamran Arabs

(Philadelphia and London: J.B. Lippincott & Co. and MacMillan and Co., 1868).

SCARCE FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF THE SEMINAL WORKS ON THE EXPLORATION OF THE NILE SOURCES, THIS COPY IS EXCEPTIONAL IN ITS FINE CONDITION.
Baker, Burton, and Speke had by this time finally proved (or so they thought) that the source of the White Nile lay in the Lakes Albert and N'yanza. In this volume Baker traces his discovery of the sources of the lower Nile in the Atbara River and the Blue Nile in Abyssinia (present day Ethiopia and Somalia). “The value of the work of exploration during this fourteen months' journey and of the observations proving the Nile sediment to be due to the Abyssinian tributaries was publicly recognised by... [the] Royal Geographical Society. Baker had also during the period gained for himself experience as an explorer, mastered Arabic, and acquired the use of astronomical instruments." (DNB). Samuel Baker’s discovery of the Albert Nyanza, the origin of the Nile, was fundamentally one of the most significant discoveries of the 19th century and certainly the most important of Baker’s long and illustrious career.
The first editions of Baker’s works are becoming increasingly difficult to procure. This copy, so bright and clean and well preserved is highly unusual. The importance of the debate over the source of the Nile, combined with Baker's very readable writing style, made his books enormously popular, with the result that they were reprinted a great many times over the following years. Item #28260

First edition, American issue (with the 1868 rather than the 1867 date), but made from the First Edition English sheets with the title page rendered for the American market and in this case, with an 1868 title-page slug. It seems apparent then that the first edition English sheets were being bound up for the American firm Lippincott over a period that spanned the two years, but prior to the "Second Edition" being issued in London in 1868. Illustrated with 24 black and white plates from original sketches by Sir S.W. Baker, and with two coloured maps, one full page and one folding in pocket at rear. 8vo, publisher’s original green cloth, the spine lettered and decorated in gilt. [xxiiii], 596, including index. A very fine, handsome and very bright copy, especially so, the text is pristine, the hinges are perfect and the green cloth is exceptionally fresh with no fading whatsoever and only the most trivial evidence of shelving at the edges.

Price: $1,250.00