An Essay on the Life of George Washington by Aaron Bancroft, First Edition, 1807

Bancroft, Aaron. An Essay on the Life of George Washington. Worcester: Thomas & Sturtevant, 1807. First edition, octovo. Bound in quarter calf leather with marbled boards and custom slipcase.

This is a stunning first edition of Aaron Bancroft’s An Essay on the Life of George Washington. This book was published by Thomas & Sturtevant out of Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1807. It is rebound in quarter leather with a custom, archival slipcase.

This early biography of President George Washington was authored by Revolutionary soldier, pastor, and historian Aaron Bancroft (1755-1839). Bancroft, predominantly known for his work as a clergyman, served in the Revolutionary War and was present at battles Lexington and Bunker Hill. Following the War, he went on to graduate from Harvard University and settled in Worcester, Massachusetts. Bancroft wrote a eulogy for George Washington in 1800 and published this work in 1807, for which his prose was praised by John Adams as “a chain of diamonds set in links of gold.”

Bancroft wrote this account of George Washington following John Marshall’s extensive multi-volume work The Life of George Washington, with the aim to produce a more accessible single-volume work. Bancroft’s biography describes Washington’s command during the Revolutionary War, going into detail about his army career and his military campaigns, explaining strategy, logistics and combat. He also recounts Washington’s monumental role as the first President of the United States and American Founding Father. Bancroft produced the narrative based on eye-witness accounts and personal recollections compiled from those close to Washington.


Age appropriate wear. Soiling and foxing, as to be expected with age. General page toning. Ownership inscription of Jeremiah Curtis on title page. Rebound in black quarter calf leather and marbled boards in tones of blue, green, and red. The decorative spine is gilt tooled with raised bands. The book is complete with a custom slipcase with an image of Washington in the center.

Dimensions: 8 3/4 " H x 5 3/8" W x 1 1/4" D (Book); 9 1/4" H x 5 7/8" W x 2 1/4" D (Case).

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