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Up for auction is a rare set of French volumes plus  one volume published in America with an incredible provenance. The volumes belonged toBenjamin Lincoln Lear the only son of Tobias Lear, who was the secretary to President George Washington. His mother was Mary "Polly" Long, who was the first wife of Tobias Lear. He was born in the residence of President George Washington in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was named after Colonel Benjamin Lincoln, who served under General Horatio Gates in the Revolutionary War.President George Washington was his godfather.   In total nine volumes with eight being an incomplete collection of the works of Voltaire published in Paris 1784. The Voltaire volumes all contain the simple bookplate of Benjamin Lincoln Lear. The ninth a volume is a collection of State Papers and Public Documents of the United States bound in one volume for the years 1811-1815. This volume contains ahandsome gift inspection from Benjamin Lincoln Lear’s cousin J.L. Storer dated 1820.
The full title of the French volumes : Oeuvres Completes De Voltaire ( Complete Works Of Voltaire) Published Paris Imprimerie de la Société Littéraire Typographique 1784. Originally published in 70 volume set.  Lear’s set must have been broken up sometime in the past I only have eight volumes for auction volumes34, 33, 63, 64 ,65, 66, 67, and 68. As stated all volumes contain Lear’s bookplate plus a 20th centurybookplate of  Dartmouth College circa (1960s) stating the volumes were a gift of “C.B.Converse ’63"
Condition:  Acceptable / Good - All volumes bound in original marbled leather boards “8 x 6 “ with gold ruled decorative covers. Spines with original paper labels ad gold gilt decorations. Leather is dry especially around the spine with cracking, and cover boards. Vol 68 starting separate along the mid section of the text block but still bound. All volumes are still bound some with fairly tight bindings. Expect bumped corners with minor loss of leather to the edges as well as head and heal of spines. Internally condition varies some show random spotting, slight damp staining general age toning with a few with page turn downs. Although some volumes are quite clean.
The ninth volume with this group is an American publication titled : State Papers And Pubick Documents of the Untied States from the Accession of Thomas Jefferson to the Presidency, Exhibiting a Complete View of Our Foreign Relations Since that Time.( -1811-15) Boston : Printed and Published by T.B. Wait & Sons David Hale, agent by the State of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. 1815.  A thick vol containing 674pp. Plus, Advertisement & Appendix.
This volume contains the gift inscription contemporary gift inscription to
B.L. Lear from his Friend & Cousin J.L. Storer"dated 1820 on the front free endpaper " ( see photo). Storer was the given name of Lear's mother, Mary
Polly" Lear (the first of Tobias Lear's three wives), who was related to the Washington family. There were a great many prominent Storers in early Portsmouth history. Condition : Good - VG Bound in original light blue paper boards with tan spine and remains of original label ( American State Papers) measures “9 x 6” Bound very well bumping around corners slight staining to cover and spine. Internally good with rough cut fore edge papers text block exhibits overall age toning and spotting.
This is a very historically important collection. Benjamin Lincoln Lear once owned  a fairly large library with many volumes inherited from his father Tobias Lear. There is some evidence that Tobias Lear was presented with several volumes by George Washington when he was his secretary. Nevertheless this is a fascinating collection as always any questions feel free to ask.
More about Benjamin Lincoln Lear from several sources on the web:
When Benjamin two years old his mother died and he spent his childhood at boarding schools and with his grandmother in New Hampshire. He became a prominent attorney in the District of Columbia.Mr. Lear married his second wife, Louisa Sophia Bomford (1813-1864) on August 9, 1831.
They were the parents of one daughter, Louisa Lincoln Lear. After Mr. Lear's death Louisa Bomford Lear married Richard C. Derby (1846-1923) on September 8, 1835. She was the daughter of George Bomford (1780-1848) and Louisa Catton
died 1815). Their daughter, Louisa Lear married James Wilson Eyre (1823-1901) about 1856 in Florence, Italy. They were the parents of five children.
The National Intelligencer October 2, 1832This morning, after a very short illness, Benjamin Lincoln Lear Esq. This sudden and melancholy event will cast a deep gloom over all who knew our esteemed citizen.Mr. Lear was a highly respectable member of the Washington Bar, where his talents and sterling worth had endeared him to all his professional associates and secured to him honor and success.In the various relations of life, as a son, a husband and a citizen,
Mr. Lear faithfully discharged all his duties. His amiable manners, his high toned honor and benevolence, formed a character seldom surpassed and placed him high in the confidence of his fellow citizens, who will long and affectionately cherish his memory.His friends and acquaintances are request to attend his funeral, which will take place this day, at 12 o'clock from his late residence.
The Members of the Washington Bar are requested to attend the City Hall this morning at 10 o'clock to make arrangements to attend the funeral of their late lamented associate, Benjamin L. Lear Esq.

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