Hardcover. Folio (14½" X 11"). Grey cloth, front board bearing large ornate "ALBUM" in gilt and extensive black and gilt decorations, with small color plate at lower right. (31pp), (55pp blank). Very good overall. Binding rather edgeworn and rubbed, but tight and sound; text leaves heavy, age toned thick stock typical of Victorian album leaves, with some showing more age toning. Item #47005
Fascinating Victorian album with about 23 pages' worth of tipped-in content amongst the first 31 pages, the final 55 pages being blank. For the most part this is a collection of U.S. postal cancellations clipped off envelopes -- approximately 555 total: Eight pages bear about 63 per page and three pages contain a dozen or more each. Most date from the early to mid-1880s from communities large and small across the U.S., with a bit of concentration in the Midwest (especially Illinois and Iowa). Many of these small towns likely no longer exist. One bizarre page bears a delightfully weird Joseph Cornellesque montage featuring periodical cutouts of a large Uncle Sam figure in color, the U.S. Capital building in the background, as he manipulates like a puppet master a strange array of presidents, ships and assorted miniscule tracery all clipped from U.S. postage stamps (see image). Two pages bear an assortment of eclectic printed return address envelope portions ("Engineer, Office, U.S. Army," "Union R.R. and Transportation Co.," "Patrons of Husbandry State Grange of Illinois," "Chief Engineer's Office Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railroad," etc.) A scattering of five pages bear small numbers of mounted U.S. and foreign stamps. This unique album came from the collection of Alfred N. Abbott (1862-1929), a noted Illinois state representative (1899-1903, 1911-15), farmer, president of the Illinois State Farmers' Institute and Deputy Commissioner of the Illinois Commission to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition -- and two pages bear checks and other receipts made out to him, such as an 1890 Union Stock Yards of Chicago receipt and a 1916 check from the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway Company. (Alfred's father was Asa McFarland Abbott (1820-89), pioneering Illinois farmer of note whose home was a well-documented Underground Railroad site; his niece was Olive Oatman of the Oatman Massacre fame, whose family left their neighboring farmstead to travel westward and were murdered by Native Americans, she and her sister being held captive; in 1857 she co-authored the bestselling "Life Among the Indians," one of the best-known Indian captivity narratives.).