Africana – HG Adams – David Livingstone




H[enry] G[ardiner] Adams
(c1811 or 1812 – 1881)

 Dr Livingstone

His Life and Adventures in the Interior of South Africa
Comprising a Description of the Regions Which He Traversed,
An Account of Missionary Pioneers and Chapters on Cotton Cultivation, Slavery, Wild Animals Etc Etc



London, privately published [‘Published for the Proprietors’] 1864 [‘MDCCCLXIV.’]; printed by ‘Harrild, Printers, London’ (p[ii] and p293)’

Navy blue cloth, the front gilt-stamped, the rear blind-stamped; 18×10.5 cm, aeg, light yellow plain endpapers, [i-v], vi-xxvi, 293pp, ‘illustrated with sixty original engravings from drawings by Sargent, Harvey, Thomas, Wood, Etc’

Pictorial bookplate [profile of the head of an oryx between two proteas] ‘Ex libris – Africana – Paul Davis –Johannesburg] on the front pastedown.

The front cover very good but with some signs of rubbing; the gilt-stamp [see below] well preserved with only a very small portion of the gilt missing.

The rear cover good but rubbed.

The corners bowed; the rear corners fraying somewhat, exposing the board.

The spine poor; all text preserved but the top 5mm or so torn and missing a small portion; the bottom intact but weak and frayed.

The external hinges good but noticeably worn; 3 cm tear at the top rear.

The internal hinges poor :

The rear endpaper complete but bisected at the hinge; ie, the rear cover and spine completely detached; the cover held in place at the front hinge.

►The ffep missing, exposing the loosely woven cloth binding of the inside hinge. Portions of the ffep remain glued to tp (p[i]).




The subject : Livingston / Livingstone

On the spine and tp of the privately published edition the name is spelt Livingstone, but Livingston in the text, from the beginning (Preface, p [v]).

In other editions of Adams’ book (see below), Livingston (ie, no final e) is used throughout.

 The author

 Adams was a contemporary of Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870) and must have been sufficiently well-known as an author for Dickens to write to him. Adams also warrants inclusion in Shattock, John (ed) : The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, Volume 4 1800 – 1900, Cambridge, CUP 1999 (3rd edn), p xxi

The publisher

The publisher of the privately published edition is not stated but editions by three other British publishers are known to exist :

London, Houlston & Wright, [1857] :

London, James Blackwood & Co, [1868]

Glasgow, R Forrester [1870]

An American edition was also published :

New York, Putnam [1870]

From an entry under ‘Livingstone’ (ie, with a final e) in The English Catalogue of Books … vol II, January 1863 – January 1872, p232, it seems that the publisher of the privately published edition may have been James Blackwood :

►►No reference to the privately published edition (ie, publisher not stated, 1864) has been found.

The printers

An example of Harrild’s printer’s mark (similar to that on p[ii] of the privately published edition can be found at :

Harrild & Sons was responsible for developing the use of composition rollers in the 1810s, replacing the use of ink balls.

Gilt stamp

The identity of the cover designer is not known.

The gilt stamp is of three hunters with rifles sitting on the back of a terrified Indian elephant. Two of the men are sitting on a howdah (with ladder) and two of the three individuals appear to be Asian. The three animals being hunted are tigers.

The front and rear covers also bear floral stamps (the rear blind-stamped).

►►Since Adams’ book is clearly about Africa, the inaccuracy of the hunting scene remains an intriguing mystery.


No biographical record of Paul Davis appears to exist online but two other works from his collection have appeared at auction:

Westgate Walding (Africana, Literature, Reference and Boer War related books, 28 June 2017) : De Waal : With Rhodes in Mashonaland

Westgate Book Catalogue 28th June 2017 re Adams re Davis


Christie’s (15 June 2017) : Shelley & Sclater : The Birds of Africa …

The result of the Christie’s auction suggests the importance of the Davis collection of Africana.

The title page and missing free front endpaper

One can only guess why the ffep was torn out but its removal raises the question whether only the ffep was removed.

The question arises from the first three items in the List of Illustrations :

[photo not present]

The List of Illustrations (p xxv) from the privately published edition

[photo not present]

Portrait of Dr Livingston[e] from the James Blackwood edition

[photo not present]

Illustrated half title page from the James Blackwood edition

[map not present]

Map, from the prelims to the Houlston & Wright edition

Acknowledgements : Massey College Library, University of Toronto

The List of Illustrations in the privately published edition reads : ‘Portrait – Smyth; Title-page – Sargent; Map – [no artist cited]; Initial O – Wood – page 1 [etc]

►►Except for the missing ffep, the following evidence points to this copy of the privately published edition being complete :


  1. When counting back from the first numbered page (p vi), the tp equates to
    page [i]
  2. The remaining portion of the torn out ffep is clearly pasted onto page [i] with no evidence of additional, ‘intervening’ pages (ie, portrait, illus half tp, map)
  3. The tp of the privately published edition states : ‘Illustrated with sixty original engravings …’ The Blackwood edition : ‘Illustrated with Portrait and Sixty Engravings …’ and the Houlston & Wright edition  : ‘Illustrated with Portrait, Map, and Sixty Engravings.’


Referring to, auction #48, lot 85, January 2016 (the Blackwood edition); if the map were present it would almost certainly have been photographed, as was the port and illus tp

Pages and text block

►►Sections of the book are loose : eg, pp xvi/xvii; 128-131 and pages 64 and 65 have separated completely, exposing the inner surface of the spine.

Small open tear p212.

The pages naturally darkened over time but clean and with very little foxing


Paul Davis, with bookplate

Library holdings

The OCLC number in WorldCat is 651796294. The following (online) resources were searched:

Canada :

University of Toronto Libraries

South Africa :

National Library of South Africa

Mendelssohn, Sidney : South African Bibliography
London : Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co, 1910

United Kingdom :

British Library

Bodleian Libraries [SOLO]

University of Cambridge Libraries [iDiscover]

United States :

Library of Congress

Harvard Library [HOLLIS}

Yale University Library [Quicksearch, Books+]

 Online :



►►No copy has been found of the privately published edition, 1864.

The version usually found in library holdings is the James Blackwood edition [1868].

The Houlston & Wright edition held by Yale and the University of Toronto appears to be a ‘hybrid’ edition comprising features of both the Blackwood edition (port and illus tp) and the privately published edition (pagination) but, uniquely, also including the map.

This copy of the privately published edition : ‘London : For the proprietors – MDCLXXXIV’ with inaccurate (Indian) hunting scene on the cover, appears to be unique.




Download images:

ADAMS cover

ADAMS pastedown and title page