Ristigouche Census Project

28 March 2010

To all interested members of the book world(s), including librarians, collectors, bibliographers, and others,

     This letter announces the Ristigouche Census Project, undertaken by Henry Wessells, to trace all known copies of the first edition of The Ristigouche and Its Salmon Fishing by Dean Sage, published in an edition of 105 numbered copies by David Douglas of Edinburgh in 1888.

     Dean Sage (1841-1902), Albany lawyer, bibliophile collector, Grolier Club member, and salmon fisherman, drew upon his long experience to recount his adventures at Camp Harmony on the Restigouche River in New Brunswick (Ristigouche being the older form of the name). The book’s chapter on angling literature reflects a long-standing interest in the subject; Sage’s library catalogue (2 vols., 1896, 1904) remains an important document in the history of angling bibliography and collecting. He had a broad circle of acquaintances and presentations to several well known figures have been noted, including Samuel Clemens (present whereabouts of this copy unknown) and Stanford White.

     The book was issued in a sturdy and elegant uniform binding (described on the census form and illustrated below) and all copies were numbered in consistent fashion. The aim of the census is to record location and number, together with any notable characteristics, such as presentation inscriptions, insertions, re-binding, etc., as well as evidence of ownership past and present.

     Henry Wessells is a writer and a well-known antiquarian bookseller with the firm of James Cummins Bookseller in New York City, specialists in sporting literature. Cooperation is solicited from institutional libraries and private persons, and all correspondence from private collectors will be treated as confidential.

     Preliminary research has identified more than three dozen of the 105 copies, though it has not yet been possible to verify locations for all of these. With your assistance, the census can be completed in time for the hundred-twenty-fifth anniversary of the book’s publication.

     Publication of the results is intended.

     The census questionnaire will be found below.

     Please direct all correspondence to : Henry Wessells << wessells [at] panix [dot] com >>, or by mail to :

Henry Wessells, P.O. Box 43072, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043-0072.

     Thank you in advance for your help.

Henry Wessells