London: Longman, Brown, Green, & Longmans, 1844. First edition. Printed by Charles Whittingham the Younger on thick, wove paper in Caslon Old Face (Great Primer leaded). Full-page woodcut coat-of-arms, decorative initials, headpieces, and publisher’s device. A good copy of a book that marked the revival of Caslon types. Half brown morocco over brown cloth boards, gilt spine with raised bands, front joint cracked and repaired. Carl Van Vechten’s copy, with his bookplate. Octavo. [iv],174,  pp. Item #14273
“…the great primer ‘old face’ Caslon font…appeared first in 1844 in The Diary of Lady Willoughby. For this fictitious journal of a seventeenth century lady of quality, old style type was thought appropriate. The Diary was a success, artistically and commercially. Though its typography does not seem much of an achievement now, it came as a novelty and relief to printers who had long since abandoned good earlier type-faces in favour of the fonts of the school of Thorne…This was the beginning of the popular revival of Caslon fonts, and a very sound revival it was. From that time to this, Caslon type has had the popularity it merits. In fact, the chief typographic event of the mid-nineteenth century was this revival of the earliest Caslon types in the competent hands of Pickering and Whittingham” (Updike, Printing Types, II, p. 199).
Hannah Mary Rathbone (1798–1878) was a Quaker novelist and poet. This is her most famous work. It went through many editions, including several modern ones. “It fostered a minor vogue for first-person historical narratives in contemporary typefaces, notably Anne Manning's 1850 account of Mary Powell (Milton's first wife), and Thackeray's Henry Esmond (1852)” (Oxford DNB). Some “further portions” of Lady Willoughby’s Diary, in fact the work of Helen Rathbone, appeared in 1848.