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first original American architecture book

BENJAMIN, ASHER. The Country Builder’s Assistant

Boston: Spotswood & Etheridge, for the author, 1798

36 pages, 37 plates (two folding). Original sheep, expertly rebacked. Washed. The two folding plates have been restored with portions in facsimile. Very good.

The enlarged second edition of Asher Benjamin’s rare first book. This cornerstone of American architecture is the earliest original American architectural book.

This American classic is finely illustrated with engravings of buildings, elevations of homes and churches, mouldings, cornices, and other ornaments defining American building taste of the day throughout New England and beyond.

“The career of our first American architectural writer, Asher Benjamin (1773-1845), covered several decades of the early nineteenth century. Both the books he wrote and the buildings he designed had an influence on building in New England that is still visible. He probably will be best remembered for his popularization of the federal style through his early books (and the Greek revival in his later ones)” (Neville Thompson in The American Illustrated Book in the Nineteenth Century).

Hitchcock, American Architecture Books 112.