New Haven: 1859. Massive, thick 4to class book for Yale University Class of 1859, inscribed by most of its members. 11" x 8-3/4," original gilt pictorial morocco with gilt portrait of Elihu Yale on front board and University seal on rear board, with spine title "Class Book, Yale, 1859." Binding rubbed at edges with short separation at ribbed spine extremities, front board detached but present. All edges gilt, attractive and clean contents. Original tissue guards, 128 engravings, two lithographs, one photograph; approximately 97 signed manuscript leaves, as follows: three engraved campus views (Yale College, Alumni Hall, and Library); 23 engravings of past and present presidents and faculty members, five with accompanying autograph leaves (President Theodore Woolsey and professors Chauncey Goodrich, William Larned, Noah Porter, and James Hadley); 100 engravings of Class of 1859 classmates (about 90 of them accompanied by autograph leaves) plus three autograph leaves for classmates without engravings; two engravings for Class of 1858 graduates; three engraved views of New Haven scenes; an albumen photograph of the Yale crew team; and two elaborate lithographs of Yale ceremonies. Closing out the volume are two lithographs: "Yale, the Burial of Euclid," and "Initiation Yale Freshmen, Secret Societies," depicting outrageously costumed students above a pile of skulls and bones. Except for the detached front board, Very Good.
This is Samuel Davis Page's book. He graduated from Yale in 1859. Page (1840-1921) was obviously a popular guy, with a winning sense of humor. He signed the page after his own senior picture, accusing himself, "By hasty thoughtless words you have often made yourself enemies and alienated friends," and come to be known as a "disagreeable fellow and a fool." He counsels himself to be "more guarded in the use of your tongue. Be less hasty in yielding to prejudice. Keep your heart open to all. Your best friend, or (it may be) your worst enemy, S. Davis Page." He was a member of Sigma Delta and Delta Kappa Epsilon, and Commodore of the Yale "Navy." He stroked the first Yale crew to defeat Harvard. Later he was Comptroller of Philadelphia in 1888, and appointed Assistant United States Treasurer in Philadelphia by President Grover Cleveland. He was associated with United States Senator Boies Penrose in the practice of law.
Most members of the class, who were of prime fighting age for the Civil War, lived well-documented and eventful lives. A few examples who inscribed this book include the class valedictorian Lieutenant Edward Carrington Jr. (1838-1865), who survived many battles before dying on the battlefield in March 1865. Thomas C. Brainard ran a Union military hospital. Daniel Bowe and T. Edwin Ruggles both went to Port Royal, SC in 1862 to run cotton plantations under Union military rule. Hezekiah Watkins served under Sherman in the Atlanta campaign; his entry here waxes rhapsodically for four pages about the big victory over Harvard, and discusses the crew's group portrait featured at the end of the volume. Diodate Hannahs was killed with the 6th New York Cavalry at Williamsburg in 1862; his entry here quotes Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade." On the other side were Robert A. Stiles of Kentucky, whose memoir of life as a Confederate officer was titled "Four Years under Marse Robert"; and Peter Vivian Daniel, who gave his life at Chickamauga as Captain of the 5th Kentucky Infantry regiment. Item #37931