Oliver Twist

By: Dickens, Charles

Price: $250.00

Quantity: 1 available

Book Condition: Very Good


212 pages; Contemporary black half leather over marbled boards, flat spine "paneled" with pairs of gilt rules, title stamped in gilt in the second panel. Sound, but somewhat rubbed, particularly at the spine ends and lower corners. With a remarkable provenance. There is a circular stamp impressed in blind on the verso of the front free-endpaper: "Thos. C. Acton New York" This is confirmed by a pencil signature at the head of the Introduction (p. [iii]) -- "1/2 Blue / T. C. Acton." The owner was Thomas Coxon Acton [1823-1898] -- public servant, politician, reformer, Treasury official, banker, police commissioner of the New York City Police Department and the first appointed president of its Board of Police Commissioners. In 1863, he and Commissioner John G. Bergen took control of the police force during the New York Draft Riots (after police superintendent John A. Kennedy was nearly beaten to death by the mob early on the first day of the riots). Action assumed direction of police and military force against rioters in Manhattan, where most of the violence was centered, including the shameful burning of the Colored Orphan Asylum at 44th Street and Fifth Avenue. The New York Times (whose Manhattan offices were saved from destruction during those tumultuous four days only by Gattling guns wielded by staffers, including including Times founder Henry Jarvis Raymond) -- summed up Acton's life with this headline for his obituary: "Thomas C. Acton Is Dead; He Expired at His Home in Saybrook, Conn., After a Long Illness. Made History In This City, He Stopped the Draft Riots Here During the War -- An Abolitionist in Earlier Days and Helped Form the Republican Party". (New York Times. 2 May 1898). The phrase, "signed by Thomas C. Acton" will raise the heart rate of any collectors of rare American currency notes who might read this description. One of the most sought after notes ever issued by the US Treasury is the so-called "Triple Signature" 1882 US20 Gold Certificate. Some early examples of these notes were countersigned in ink by then-Assistant U.S. Treasurer Thomas C. Acton; perhaps this duty became burdensome, since Acton's signature was subsequently engraved on the plates used to print the colorful currency. [Hand signed examples by Acton are described as Friedberg 1175; the notes with the printed signature of Thomas C. Acton are designated Friedberg 1175a. For the record, the other two (printed) signatures are those of Blanche K. Bruce, as Register of the Treasury, and James Gilfillan, as Treasurer of the U.S.]. Either of the Acton notes is rare. Currently, only two examples of the Fr. 1175 issue hand signed by Acton are known -- (one of the pair sold at auction in 2007 for US546,250; twenty seven survivors are recorded of the Fr. 1175a notes signed by Thomas C. Acton in the plate -- one sold in 2007 for a mere US138,000). Thomas Acton resigned from the Treasury to found the Bank of New Amsterdam. He occupied many government positions during his later political career as well as becoming a noted social activist and reformer -- along with Marshall B. Blake and Fred A. Conkling, Acton was a founder of the Republican Party in New York. Action, also, was a founding member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Children. And, working against many powerful opposing individuals and groups, Acton was instrumental in the founding of the modern New York City Fire Department which replaced the old volunteer firefighter service... (some of those private companies had joined with the Draft Riot mobs). In his early years as President of the NYC Board of Police Commissioners, Thomas C. Acton had another brush with the history of his times. The NY Times for 6 June, 1866 published a short notice of an arrest which Acton was called upon to review. "Yesterday some excitement was created in Canal-street, near Broadway, by an Eighth Precinct Policeman arresting a lady who had just come out of a milliner's store. The lady wore a long coat or robe and a pair of cloth pants, and the guardian of the public peace, imagining that there was something wrong about this, and that a lady ought not to be allowed to dress as she pleases, undertook to arrest her." The arrested lady was Dr. Mary Edward Walker, the second woman to graduate from a medical school in the United States, who became a Civil War surgeon (and perhaps spy...) and who had adopted the bold reforms to female attire championed by Elizabeth (Libby) Miller and Amelia Jenks Bloomer. Dr. Mary Walker refused to tell the patrolman where she lived, and he requested that she accompany him back to the Police station, where Dr. Walker refused to give her name to the sergeant in charge, as she had been detained for no lawful reason. When jail time was pressed as her next alternative, she invited the officer to read her name from the gold medal she worn pinned to her coat. This was the Medal of Honor, issued by President Johnson for her Civil War service. [Mary Walker remains the only woman to whom a United States Medal of Honor has been awarded! -- she reportedly wore hers every day until her death in 1919]. Dr. Walker's case came up before Police Commissioner Thomas C. Acton a few days later. The patrolman's attourney suggested that she had been arrested since it was a crime for women to wear men's clothing. Acton, to his credit, rejected this dubious assertion of law. He is recorded addressing Dr. Walker -- "I consider, Madam, that you have as good a right to wear that clothing as I have to wear mine, and he [the police patrolman] has no more right to arrest you for it, than he has me." Acton then addressed the policeman: "Let her go, she can take care of herself. Never arrest her again." (For the record, Acton's order was not perpetually followed; one biographer counts nine arrests of Mary Edwards Walker over her choice of attire, but no one doubts Acton's assertion that "she [could] take care of herself." Dr. Walker seemed to take pleasure in controversy as a pioneer of women's rights. She also attempted to register to vote, run for Congress, etc. She was elected president of the National Dress Reform Association in the year she came before Thomas C. Acton - 1866.; Signed by Notable Personage, Unrelated

Title: Oliver Twist

Author Name: Dickens, Charles

Categories: Literature, Signed and Association Copies,

Publisher: Philadelphia, Blanchard and Lea: 1851

ISBN Number: 2736708482

ISBN Number 13: 9782736708481

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Very Good

Size: 8vo

Seller ID: 40730

Keywords: Thomas C. Acton Draft Riots New York City New York Police Commission Friedberg 1175 1175a "Triple Signature" 1882 $20 Gold Certificate New Amsterdam Bank Republican Party U. S. Treasury