Caroline Fillmore

Caroline Fillmore Signed Set of 8 Diminutive Books, Byron's Complete Works

Caroline Fillmore Signed Set of 8 Diminutive Books, Byron's Complete Works


A set of eight diminutive books comprising The Works of the Rt. Hon. Lord Byron (New York: William Borradaile, 1825) signed in each volume by Caroline C. Fillmore (1813-1881), second wife of 13th U.S. President Millard Fillmore (1800-1874). Caroline Fillmore's signatures as "Caroline C McIntosh" (7) and "Caroline C McIntosh" (1) appear in the beginning pages of each volume (see below.) Deaccessioned from the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Library, the institution founded by Millard and Abigail Fillmore.


Each hard cover volume in this handsome set is bound in dark mustard morocco leather, with gilt embossed and ebonized spines. All bear library call number labels from the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society on the spines. In very good to near fine overall condition. Detached covers to Volumes III and VIII have been repaired. Condition issues include scattered foxing, as well as isolated closed tears and loss to corners and edges. The pages are mostly clean, with a few pencil marks in the margins of Volume I. Each volume measures 5.25" x 3" x 1". 24mo. Combined page count for the set is 2,680pp.


The set reproduces the entire oeuvre of Lord Byron, ranging from epic poems like Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and Don Juan, to individual poems from the Hebrew Melodies. Each volume contains a frontispiece engraving illustrating one of his works.


See below for a detailed description of where Caroline C. Fillmore's signature appears in each volume:


Volume I. Signed as "Caroline C McIntosh" on p. 9, the first page of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage


Volume II. Signed as "Caroline C McIntosh" on p. 11, the first page of The Corsair


Volume III. Signed as "Caroline C McIntosh" on p. 13, the first page of "Marino Faliero"


Volume IV. Signed as "Caroline C McIntosh" on p. vii, the preface page of "The Mystery of Cain"


Volume V. Signed as "Caroline C McIntosh" on the title page facing a frontispiece engraving from The Corsair


Volume VI. Signed as "Caroline C McIntosh" on p. 7, the first page of "The Siege of Corinth"


Volume VII. Signed as "Caroline C McIntosh" on p. 5, the first page of Don Juan, Canto I


Volume VIII. Signed as "Caroline C McIntosh" on p. 3, the first page of Don Juan, Canto VII


Before her marriage to ex-President Millard Fillmore in 1858, Caroline was married to Ezekiel C. McIntosh (1806-1855), an affluent Troy, New York businessman and railroad executive, between 1832 and his death in 1855.


When Caroline and Fillmore married, he had been out of the White House for five years, and had been widowed the same length of time (first wife Abigail Powers Fillmore had died just three weeks after Fillmore's presidential term ended.) The newly married Fillmores signed a pre-nuptial agreement to protect Caroline's fortune and later settled in Buffalo, where they ranked among the city's leading socialites and philanthropists.


From books in her personal library, we know that Caroline was interested in art, theater, music, literature, current events, politics, religion, manufacturing, sports, weather, and gossip. Lord Byron was the subject if Caroline's special interest, if we can judge from the contents of scrapbooks of period newspaper clippings, poems, and articles that she dutifully collected. In one, Caroline carefully inserted an article from the New York World entitled "The Byron Secret", revealing newly-surfaced details about Lord Byron's salacious marriage!


Literature was also important to Caroline's second husband. Millard Fillmore had been a lover of books since boyhood.  By the time he reached adulthood, his library differed little from those found in families of wealth and education. Yet Fillmore was born into a poor family and became an indentured servant. His responsibilities, which ranged from farming, accounting, wood-cutting, and textile-making, prevented him from receiving a continuous education. So Fillmore educated himself. Motivated by a thirst for knowledge and a growing awareness of his comprehensive deficiencies, Fillmore read voraciously - using a dictionary to learn the meaning of words he didn't understand. Fillmore taught himself to read, and as he could not afford to buy books, sometimes he stole them.


Still obsessed with his education, he attended school in a nearby town, and his teacher, Abigail Powers, encouraged his studies. In time, she became the most influential and trusted person in his life. Abigail helped him learn with precision, and on subjects where they both lacked knowledge, they studied together. Fillmore realized when he later moved away that he had been "unconsciously stimulated by the companionship" of his teacher, but, too poor to visit Abigail Powers, they did not see each other for three years. In the interim, he apprenticed to a lawyer, began to teach professionally in the city of Buffalo, and was able to begin a law practice across the street from which he built a home to share with his new wife. When Millard Fillmore went to the state capital in Albany to serve a term in the state legislature, his wife stayed behind and began to purchase books of literature, poetry, and the classics to build upon his collection of law books at home, the core of what would become their personal library. Together, the Fillmores established a lending library and college in the city: the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Library.


This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.



Item: 66368

Price: $3,000.00
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