Oxford.   Arnold Whitaker     - with a tipped-in letter signed by Oxford
Notes from a Collector's Catalogue
With a Bibliography of English Cookery Books, By A. W. Oxford. London: Messrs. JOHN and EDWARD BUMPUS. Limited, 350, Oxford Street. 1909.
FIRST EDITION 1909. On the first blank, a tipped in one page letter written and signed by Oxford. [1] Title page. [1] 1p Contents. [1] (1)2-116. 1p with printers info. [1] 2 feps. With original very clean grey cardboard boards with black ink title on the front. A cream cloth spine lightly browned. Half the original label missing. Internally a very clean, tight binding and untrimmed. Overall a very good copy in the original state. A very scarce item especially in this condition and with the signed letter.
- Dr. Arnold Whitaker Oxford was born at Keynsham in 1854, and graduated from Oxford University. He died on May. 30 1947 at the age of 93 after enjoying a long medical career. At one time he was resident at Charing Cross Hospital. He wrote quite a few books. Some on Freemasons but the better known on cookery. Oxford was an inveterate and odd collector. He started with playing cards and their accessories, and among many other collecting fevers he amassed collections of old silver, stay busks, knitting needle sheaths, domestic implements, seals and writing materials. diaries and engravings, religious objects, Egyptian antiquities, calendars, clocks and finally the items that fired him up the most: cookery books. He wrote two cookery bibliographies that are much used by collectors. This one -- 'Notes from a Collectors Catalogue' and the more comprehensive ' English Cookery Books to the Year 1850' On page 40 of the 'Notes from a Collectors Catalogue' there is a very good list of English books on Cookery and Carving up to the year 1699. Listing not only Oxford's collection, but also the holdings of the Bodleian, the British Museum, and the Cambridge and Patent Office libraries. At the back is also an STC of Cookery Books from 1700. The handwritten letter by Oxford is in his small 'hard to read' style states (as far as I can make out) -- 'July 2.19.08 Dear Sir I hear you bought lot 68 at Sothebys on June 25. 1908. I should be most obliged if you would let me see 'The Court & Country Cook' at home if ------. I cant come up and see it myself as I have been in bed for weeks. I am writing to present you with a book of mine as you will see from it on page 97 ----- I must want the ----. Y faithfully a.w. oxford.' (then written & underlined in another hand) --'Entered 3.7.09'. The cookbook 'The Court & Country Cook' referred to above by Oxford can be seen on this site - item #11120. This is a translation into English of Massialotís two famous books, 'Nouveau cuisinier royal et bourgeois' and 'Nouvelle instruction pour les confitures'. As this book was printed in 1702. One wonders whether Oxford had already seen a copy and wanted to re-check some details for his Collector's Catalogue of 1909, or this was his first sight of a very rare book.

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ref number: 11093