George Augustus Sala. America Revisited: From the Bay of New York to the Gulf of Mexico and From Lake Michigan to the Pacific.
London: Vizetelly & Co., 1882. Two volumes. Bound in half leather and marbled paper-covered boards, with gilt lettering and spine decoration. The bindings are tight and firm. Expected wear to the extremities, including mild bumping and rubbing. Internally the pages are generally clean, with slight age toning. Illustrated with nearly 400 engravings. Scarce.
George Augustus Henry Sala (1828-1895) was a British journalist and author. Educated in London and Paris he began working as an illustrator and writer. Charles Dickens published his articles in Household Words and All the Year Round. In 1857 he became a contributor to the Daily Telegraph, to which he contributed his most well-known work as an author of special articles and as a foreign correspondent.
Sala first came to the United States during the American Civil War, during which his sympathies lay with the South, as his mother came from a slave-holding family whose West Indian wealth was lost due to the British abolition of slavery. In 1879 Sala and his wife undertook a tour of the country, spending four and a half months travelling twenty thousand miles. Sala’s verbal descriptions are vivid and his illustrations quite well done, including a marvelous fold-out illustration in volume 2 of the New Orleans carnival (Mardi Gras) parade.
The Vizetelley firm would be forced out of business by 1890, accused of publishing pornography – works of Emil Zola in translation. This work contains a 1935 inscription from the publisher’s son, Frank H. Vizetelly (1864-1938), who had come to the United States in 1891, became associated with the publishing house of Funk & Wagnalls, and became America’s best-known lexicographer. He presented this set to one Helen Buckley in appreciation of her influence upon a journalist named Harriett Osborne who had written a nationally published article about the lexicographer’s granddaughter, who at six years old possessed a vocabulary equal to a college student’s.