Boston: & Co., 1848. Hardcover. Quarto. viii, 9-119pp. 64 plates, missing 12. Brown leather rebacked with over-painted linen tape retaining original black leather label with gilt lettering on spine. Benjamin publication induced by response to previous of his publication and the want of a practical treatise for the present style of building in America. The samples highlighted in this book relate to the Tuscan and Doric Orders as well as the Temple of Theseus which adapted better to the practice in American architecture during the time of the so-called Greek revival.
The books contains several sketches and notations in pencil, e.g. on page facing title page and back endpaper and inside back cover. Missing are plates I-III, V, VII, X, XII, XXXII, XLI, XLII, LVI and LXIV. Contains glossary of architectural terms at rear.
Binding with some wear along edges and rebacked spine, spine overpainted with acrylic. Gilt lettering lightly faded. Cutout from dealer catalog pasted to inside front cover and I. T. Frary, 1932, inked below. "C. Ward Oberlin O" penciled to front free endpaper. Linus Becker penciled above technical drawing facing title page. Thomas Brown is inked at top of first page of preface, top of plate XIV (with name Randolph written below) and verso of plate LXIII, here upside down. Many pages are to a more or lesser degree damp-stained and show offsetting to facing pages. Light foxing on first and last pages. Good condition. Item #49347
Asher Benjamin (1773-1845) was born in Hartland, Litchfield County, Connecticut, but moved with his family to Greenfield, Massachusetts as a child. For thirty years he worked as a carpenter up and down the Connecticut River Valley, building and designing homes and churches. By 1795 he had become respected as a designer well enough to construct the circular staircase in Hartford's Old State House which boasted, as he claimed, New England's first circular handrail. In 1796 he hired a team of joiners to build what is now the Greenfield (Massachusetts) Public Library.
Though not a proponent necessarily of Greek Revival, he was canny enough in his guidebooks to ride its wave of popularity. By 1839 printings of his "Practical House Carpenter "numbered 6,000: an enormous number for a work of its time, place, and application, and in the meantime he had authored "The Practice of Architecture" and "The Builder's Guide." The Boston Housewright Society proofread his books and pronounced them "better calculated to assist the American Builder than any that has come within our knowledge."
In 1837 Benjamin helped to found the American Institute of Architects. He designed, among many other buildings in Boston, several homes on Beacon Hill as well as the Old West and Charles Street churches. His influence is evident in the innumerable buildings -homes, barns, churches, civic buildings- designed according to his specifications throughout the Eastern Seaboard.