Excelsior, a monthly magazine that started with the express intention of closing at the end of three years, and that kept its word, was now finished. It constitutes six beautiful little volumes, full of miscellaneous information, and besprinkled with exquisite pictorial illustrations. ~ William Arnot
James Hamilton was a Scottish minister with a penchant for chemistry, botany and other natural sciences. At the time he edited Excelsior, he was minister of the National Scotch Church, Regent Square, London, where he spent most of his career. Excelsior was intended to be a general ‘cyclopaedia’ for young Christian men, containing within its pages the essential knowledge for the well-rounded individual together with a lively element of Christian teaching. Hamilton hoped that many of the great minds of the day would contribute little articles for the publication – he mentions Harriet Beecher Stowe in a letter to his publisher outlining his plan for the magazine. It’s difficult to say whether he was successful in that endeavour as most articles are credited by initials only. He did do a lot of the writing himself however, and at one point at least, complained of the difficulty in obtaining articles from contributors in a timely manner (some things never change…). In any case, he certainly succeeded in creating a fascinating compilation!
Hamilton, James, editor. Excelsior: Helps to Progress in Religion, Science, and Literature Vols. I-VI. London: James Nisbet, 1854-1856. Entire and bound in three 12mo volumes, 3/4 calf over marbled boards, illustrated. Vols. I & II: Cover edges worn (board shows through head edge front where paper has worn through), cover rubbed, small (drilled?) hole tail edge of front joint. First blank is almost detached but holding, pages generally lightly aged, some foxing and faint stains, particularly to plates (visible only on verso sides). Binding tight. Vols. III & IV: Cover edges worn a bit, boards rubbed with heavy wear to leather UR corner rear panel. Pp. 11-14 Vol. IV loose (printer’s error), pages generally lightly aged with some light foxing here and there throughout. Vols. V & VI: Cover edges heavily worn with boards exposed a bit at corners, UR front corner stained, left side of titled area of spine is exfoliated through part of X. Pages clean but generally lightly aged and with some light foxing occurring here and there throughout. Previous owner’s arms and last name pasted to centre fpd in all three volumes. Miscellany ECB10034 $275.00