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ANCIENT SOCIETY; or, Researches In the Lines of Human Progress From Savagery, Through Barbarism to Civilization by  Lewis Henry Morgan - Signed First Edition - 1877 - from Borg Antiquarian (SKU: 167)

ANCIENT SOCIETY; or, Researches In the Lines of Human Progress From Savagery, Through Barbarism to Civilization

ANCIENT SOCIETY; or, Researches In the Lines of Human Progress From Savagery, Through Barbarism to Civilization

by Morgan, Lewis Henry

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  • hardcover
  • Signed
  • First
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About This Item

New York: Henry Holt & Company, 1877. First Edition. Cloth. Good +. SIGNED by the Author & 13 of his colleagues. 8vo (9 3/4" x 7 3/4" x 1.8"; 2 pounds, 6.2 ounces), brown cloth with gilt-stamping, xvi + 560 pages. The most important work of the outstanding American anthropologist of his time: "The Father of American Anthropoogy." His theories of social evolution have had a profound influence upon subsequent anthropology and history. Morgan knew and favorably impressed Charles Darwin; was a significant influence on Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels; and was cited favorably by Sigmund Freud. Born near Aurora, New York, Lewis Henry Morgan originally trained as a lawyer and practiced for 18 years in Rochester, often dealing with railroads. The expansion by these railroads through Upstate New York caused massive expropriations of native American lands and dislocations of native residents. As a result, beginning in the 1840's, Morgan became absorbed with Native Americans and their rights. Such concerns led him to make exhaustive studies of the Iroquois. (See his major ethnographic study: The League of the Ho-dé-no-sau-nee, or Iroquois, 1851). He also formed a social club of men interested in Iroquois affairs. (One suspects that some of the other signatories to this unique volume may have been early members of Morgan's fraternity, but more research in the archives of Rochester and related libraries is necessary.) Morgan continuously championed the welfare of tribes within the League of the Iroquois whose lands were being expropriated. Further encroachments then caused him to study another of their endangered tribal League, the Seneca. In particular, Morgan researched their kinship patterns and nomenclature. So profound was his knowledge, plus so successful were his efforts to protect their ancient tribal rights, that the Seneca tribe adopted him as one of their Sachems or wisemen. Morgan further pursued the kinship relationships of Amerindians into similar Asiatic forms. He concluded that Amerindians had originated in Asia. (See, Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, 1871, which inaugurated the study of kinship systems as a fundamental organizing principal of preindustrial societies.) His influential studies led to his development of the theory of cultural evolution--in support and convergence with the work of Charles Darwin. (Darwin was also impressed by Morgan's study of the greatly endangered beaver, which confirmed the British scientist's analysis of the continuities between animals and humans.) From the beginning of the Civil War, Lewis Morgan served with distinction in the New York State Assembly (1861-68); followed by two years in the NY State Senate. One notes that among the co-signatories of this volume the presence of several former physicians who also served for the Union during the Civil War. Lewis Hery Morgan (1818-1881) is regarded as a--if not THE--principal founder of the modern schoool of ethnology, kinship studies, and scientific anthropology. (See also a recent edition of Morgan's work with an Introduction by anthropologist, Robin Fox.) In Ancient Society, the author elaborated a social evolutionary scheme which identified three main stages of human history: savagery, barbarism, and civilization. Each stage reflects a close correlation between technology, economic, and cultural achievements. His theory thus became a key foundation for Social Darwinism, though it should hardly be thus delimited. Through his comparisons of human institutions and discoveries, Morgan became convinced of mankind's unity of origin and of the similarity of human needs, aspirations, and accomplishments at comparable stages of development. He also did important work on monogenesis and the evolution of the human family. According to the author, the human race is "one is source, one in experience and one in progress." Morgan's work was enthusiastically endorsed and used by Mark and Engels--subsequently by Gordon S. Childs and Robin Fox--as supporting a evolutionary, social, and materialist interpretation of history. Howes M-803. Previous flourishing ink ownership marks of "Mr. N. [or possibly "H"] Peck / Rochester, N.Y. / Dec. 4, 1879." The Pecks were a well established and prominent family in Rochester. (One suspects, for example, that the 20th century actor, Gregory Peck, may have had distant connections to this owner.) Cloth is slightly faded with minor rubbing to extremities (most noticeably a bit of fraying to the upper and lower spine caps). The hefty volume is slightly shaken and the front endpapers and title page are somewhat loose. Internal joints have splits at pastedowns revealing the webbing but Not evidently affecting the sewing, so that the hinges are very good. Internally, very slight age toning to the otherwise clean, unspoiled pages. In what follows, I bracket what information I deem most probable for briefly identifying the notable individuals--all from Rochester--who signed with highly legible signatures beneath L[ewis] H[enry] Morgan on the free front endpaper opposite the title page of this first edition of Ancient Society: "L.H. Morgan" [Dr.] "E.M. Moore" [physician and father of Samuel P. Moore below] Robert Matthews [hardware merchant, b. ca.1843, Ireland, m. Elizabeth G., no children.] [Dr.] "Charles E.[verts] Rider" [born 26 May 1839 in New Haven, VT; attended Oberlin & Middlebury Colleges, the Univesity at Giessen, Ecole de Médicine, Paris, MD University of Vermont,1863; physician and surgeon. Professor of Pphtalamic and Diseases of the Ear, 1872-80. Pioneering expert of the Rochester Microscopical Society, one of the largest scientific organizations of its kind. The Microscopical Society was later folded into the Rochester Academy of Science in 1881. His son "Wheelock" also signed this important volume.] Porter Farley [very active in antislavery efforts and the Underground Railroad; then during the Civil War, a former Union Captain and hero of Little Round Top at Gettysburg; married to Susan; see: An Unvarnished Tale: The Public and Private Civilian Writings of Porter Farley, 140th NYVI] [Dr.] "M. L. Mallory" [later Chairman of the Committee on the American Microscopical Society] "J. H. Hopkins" [John H. Hopkins, b. 1843, married Martha P., daughter Esther A.Quaker lawyer] "J. H. Boucher" [Described as a "jobber" of the Rochester firm Mathews [var. "Mathers"] and Boucher. From one of his essays, Boucher appears also to have been a progressive economist profoundly interested in balancing the fruits of production, distribution, labor, and capital for "the Universal Prosperity of All Citizens of this Country." Possibly associated with Harvard University in 1888.] "F. P. Smith" [engineer and member of the American Society of Municipal Engineers] [Dr.] "S. P. Moore" [Samuel Prescott Moore, b. 3 Jan., 1854, physician son of Dr. E. M. Moore (above)] [Dr.] "Wheelock Rider" [born 1 June, 1863, in Vermont; son of Dr. Charles Edward--listed above--& Delia W. Doctor Wheelock, a smoker, died in 1927.] [Dr.] "Oscar Craig" [a physician, who with his wife, became very concerned about the welfare of epileptics, which caused him--or them both--to found Craig Colony for their care.] "William B. Lee" [attorney and member of the BAR] [Dr.] "Richard Curran" [born 1838 in Lenox, New York; a former Union military surgeon; married to Almira J. Craine; son. Arthur, b.1864; became a druggist at Curran & Goler after the Civil War and sold surgical instruments; very active in municipal afffairs.] Overall, an extremely remarkable SIGNED & ASSOCIATION copy by this major American scientist.


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Borg Antiquarian US (US)
Bookseller Inventory #
ANCIENT SOCIETY; or, Researches In the Lines of Human Progress From Savagery, Through Barbarism to Civilization
Morgan, Lewis Henry
Book condition
Used - Good +
Quantity available
First Edition
Henry Holt & Company
Place of Publication
New York
Date published
Darwin, social Darwinism, anthropology, evolution, ethnology, history, family, Marx, Freud, technology, signed, association, presentation

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About the Seller

Borg Antiquarian

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since: 2015
Lake Forest, Illinois
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About Borg Antiquarian

BorgAntiquarian (ABAA & ILAB) is a dealer long engaged in selling exceptional collectibles: rare and fine books, autographs and manuscripts, fine art and artifacts. We are generalists in Americana, English & American literature, plus selected authors & important figures (Dickens & Darwin; presidents & 'signers'; scientists & historical figures; Revolutionary & Civil War militaria).


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

A hardcover in which the text block is loose, but still attached to the binding.
Good describes the average used and worn book that has all pages or leaves present. Any defects must be noted. (as defined...[more]
Abrasion or wear to the surface. Usually used in reference to a book's boards or dust-jacket.
Association copy
An association copy is a copy of a book which has been signed and inscribed by the author for a personal friend,...[more]
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf....[more]
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched...[more]
title page
A page at the front of a book which may contain the title of the book, any subtitles, the authors, contributors, editors, the...[more]
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in...[more]

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