5 Volume Set
Copyrighted in 1874 by E. B. Foote, M.D., and published by Murray Hill Publishers, New York, this complete, Extra-Rare, 5 Volume Set and Educational Children's Series, is very, very rarely found! Swann Auction Galleries, which specializes in unique and rare Black Americana, recently sold a complete set for $1400!
Entitled "Science In Story", "Sammy Tubbs, The Boy Doctor and Sponsie, The Troublesome Monkey", this complete set was published in 1885.
The author, Dr. Edward Bliss Foote (1826-1906), a progressive, forward-thinking physician, was not only a steward of public hygiene and birth control, but was additionally an active abolitionist and civil rights advocate. Dr. Foote, in utilizing a story-telling, narrative format, hoped to promote children's education and understanding of anatomy and physiology as it was understood at that time. Each of the five volumes feature numerous, well-detailed, black and white illustrations. The volumes feature different body systems as follows:
Volume 1: The Bones, Cartilages, and Muscles, 230 pages
Volume 2: Circulation and Absorption, 232 pages
Volume 3: Digestive, Nutritive, Respiratory, and Vegetative Nervous Systems, 346 pages
Volume 4: Brain and Nerves: Cerebral Physiology, 256 pages
Volume 5: Elimination and Reproduction: (“A Book for Private Reading"), 252 pages
The stories feature an African-American boy, Sammy Tubbs, who, after being freed from slavery, travels North and finds employment at the home of a physician as a door-boy. Sammy soon begins an amazing educational journey learning about the body systems and organs of the human body as well as how to prevent and fight illness. An amusing pair of monkeys add comical interest to the stories. As Sammy grows up through the course of the five volumes, he aspires to follow the career path of his employer, attend medical school and become a doctor.
This series is quite remarkable for its era in that it features an accomplished, intellectually curious African American protagonist Additionally, it discusses and illustrates the taboo topic of female reproduction, and the socially radical topic of bi-racial romance, when a grown-up Sammy dates and is seen publicly kissing a Caucasian woman!
Condition: This clean, complete, and incredibly rare, 134 year old set is in very good condition, featuring tight bindings in all volumes. In Volumes 1, 2, 3 & 5, there additionally are no page rips, no missing pages, no pencil/pen markings or writings of any sort. All of the above conditions apply to Volume 4 with the exception of: page 62 has a 2 inch rip beginning at the top of the page with no missing paper and remaining perfectly readable, and page 149 features a publishers defect whereas the page size was over cut with the resulting page becoming crimped at the top portion of the page. Page 149 remains perfectly readable.
The set's condition suggests that these volumes were infrequently handled. Subtle, age-appropriate exterior wear is evident in various locations here and there: along book edges, along some bindings. Volume 5 shows slight cover scuffing. All five volumes have a very small area of superficial water staining at the top of the book near the binding, but the staining only extends onto the first four pages at the very, very top edge of those pages next to the binding, so this was not a significant water event. Each volume wears a bookplate on the inside cover; it appears that a previous bookplate in each book was carefully removed and replaced the current on which reads "Private Library, L. J. Bates, 18...., Not to be Loaned." Books measure 4" x 6".