Account of the State Prison or Penitentiary House, in the City. Thomas EDDY.

Account of the State Prison or Penitentiary House, in the City

Item #78962

[EDDY, Thomas]. An Account of the State Prison or Penitentiary House, in the City of New-York. New York: Printed by Isaac Collins and Son, 1801. 94,83-97 [i.e., 109]pp. (as issued), including two folding text tables, plus two large folding plates. Early paper backstrip and contemporary marbled boards. Spine chipped and tender [TO BE REPAIRED], boards rubbed, corners noticeably worn. Bookplate of Charles George Moller, Jr. on front pastedown. Minor occasional foxing, textblock cracked after page 8 [TO BE REPAIRED], short unobtrusive worm track in gutter of about twenty pages. Good condition. Untrimmed. Sabin 21816. DAB VI, p.15. Shaw & Shoemaker 431. The first native American work on prisons, written by the country's first prison director. The author, Thomas Eddy, was a Quaker merchant who was jailed for his Loyalist tendencies during the American Revolution. He worked as an insurance underwriter and later made a fortune in speculation, and was one of the leading advocates of the Erie Canal, becoming one of the project's commissioners. After 1796, Eddy devoted himself to social causes. According to the DAB, Eddy "was apparently interested in or actively associated with most of the progressive movements of his day." Imbued with humanitarian ideas coupled with his own brief experiences behind bars, Eddy persuaded the New York legislature to fund Newgate Prison, a new state penal institution in Greenwich Village, where he acted as inspector and agent. This book, describing the building and the ideas behind it, is called by the DAB "an important document in the history of prison reform." Eddy served as the director of Newgate Prison until 1804, when he resigned after disputes with other prison officials. The folding plates in the present work show an elevation of the prison, notable as one of the first detailed architectural elevations published in the fledgling United States, and a floor plan of the prison, which shows the western wall of the prison abutting the Hudson River.

Price: $1,250.00

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