Archive for September, 2008

September 8, 2008

I love delving into the history of the previous owners of some of the books in our collections. A recent example was a tatty and incomplete set of a 1796 novel called The Pavilion by Mary de Crespigny. It led a hard life in our circulating collection, in the process losing the first of its four volumes and having its third volume rebound in library buckram. Thanksfully, the second and third volumes retain the armorial bookplate of Charles I. Manigault and the autographs of Charlotte Manigault and M. I. Manigault.

Charlotte Manigault (1781-1855) was perhaps the first owner of this book. When she married her husband, Joseph (1763-1843), she became part of one of the most distinguished families in South Carolina. Joseph’s grandfather, Gabriel Manigault (1704-1781), a rice planter and businessman, was considered one of the wealthiest men in the colonies. Joseph carried on in the family business and owned several plantations. He also served in the state legistalature and was a trustee of the College of Charleston. He is best known today for his beautiful house now owned by the Charleston Museum. It is thought that Charlotte designed the garden to the house.

The book may then have been passed from Charlotte to her sister-in-law, Margaret Izard Manigault (1768-1824) who was married to Joseph’s brother, Gabriel Manigault (1758-1809). Gabriel was the amateur architect who designed his brother’s beautiful house.

Finally, the book passed from Margaret to her son, Charles Izard Manigault (1795-1874). A curious feature of his engraved bookplate is the fact that the engraving is signed “S. Clayton … N.S. Wales”. Between 1817 and 1823 Charles travelled widely in Asia, Australia and South America. Apparently he decided to have his bookplate designed while in Australia. On his return to the United States he entered the family business as a plantation owner. He was also an art collector- his collection of family portraits was considered the finest in America.