University Archives


The Young Carpenter's Assistant, 1st Ed. of the Second Book on Architecture Ever Published in America

The Young Carpenter's Assistant; Or, A System Of Architecture, Adapted To The Style Of Building In The United States. Benjamin Johnson, Market Street, Philadelphia 1805.

First edition of the second book on architecture published in America, second only to "Asher Benjamin's Country Builder's Assistant" published in 1797 (Shaw & Shoemaker, 8018). Quarto, Brown paper boards Illustrated with 44 engraved plates, 2 folding plates (with separations along the fold lines). Original end papers with the bookplate of Ernest Greene to the front paste down, and his ownership name to the first blank page "Ernest Greene / Orange N.J. / Jan 11th 1886/ From Old Book Store 4 Ave ". Pages are age toned and foxed commensurate with age. Some offsetting from the spectacular plates. In very good condition.

Scarce with only 2 copies having appeared at auction in the past 50 years, and with the only one available at this time listed for $15,000.

"A native born American, like Asher Benjamin [who wrote the first original American architectural book in 1797], Biddle emphasizes in his title that his book is especially suited for American use, and that there is by this time 'a style of building in the United States' distinguishable from that of England. Benjamin imitated this title the next year in that of the first edition of The American builders' companion." (American Architectural Books, 176)

The book has a lovely association having the bookplate and autographed owner name of Ernest Green, an architect who designed numerous New York Churches and public buildings. After returning to New York Greene began his career in the office of Frederick Withers, noted specialist in church design, and for several years served as draftsman and designer in his office. In 1896 Mr. Greene established his own office in the city and in his practice devoted much of his time to ecclesiastical work, a field in which he was most successful. Of the many churches said to have been built from his plans, at least twenty- five were in the New England and New York area, and in recent years he was in charge of the restoration of the Congregational Church at Old Lyme, Conn.

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.


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