The Acquisitions Table: Traveller’s Rough Notes, on Niagara Falls

Travellers’ Rough Notes, on Niagara Falls. Black Rock, NY: Smith H. Salisbury, 1827.

Please excuse the yelling, but we get excited at AAS when we are able to add a new piece to scholarly and bibliographical knowledge. Though tiny (just a little over 11cm in height) this small pamphlet represents just such a discovery. Upon first seeing its description in the Swann Auction catalog, we knew it belonged at AAS. And we weren’t the only ones to excited by this recent discovery – the local New York paper, The Niagara Gazette, even featured an article about AAS acquiring this previously unknown title.

The first 12 pages of this curious little pamphlet are devoted to “Rough Notes of an Old Traveller,” which compare the anonymous author’s 1797 visit to Niagara Falls with another visit in 1827. The remainder of the 32 pages contains a charming and humorous account of the falls titled “Dick Wildfire’s Narrative,” signed in type “Rich: Wildfire” and dated 14 June 1827. Neither of these sections appears to have been published elsewhere making this quite possibly the unique surviving copy of either section of the text.

Published by

Elizabeth Watts Pope

Curator of Books, American Antiquarian Society

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