First Edition of Livingstone's Travels in South Africa, Signed by the Author
LIVINGSTONE, David. Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa. Including a Sketch of Sixteen Years' Residence in the Interior of Africa, and a Journey from the Cape of Good Hope to Loanda on the West Coast; Thence across the Continent, down the River Zambesi, to the Eastern Ocean. With portrait; maps by Arrowsmith; and numerous illustrations. London: John Murray , 1857.
First edition, third state. Octavo 8 3/4 x 5 5/8 inches; 222 x 148 mm). ix, [1, list of illustrations], 687, [1, printer’s imprint] pp. plus 8 pp. publisher’s advertisements, dated November 1, 1857. Signed and dated by the author on the front free endpaper. "David Livingstone/ Dec. 18th/1857." Folding lithographed frontispiece and two engraved plates by T. Picken, engraved portrait by William Holl after Henry Phillips, twenty wood-engraved plates, folding printed table with wood-engraved illustration, two folding lithographed maps by John Arrowsmith with routes colored by hand in red (one in pocket at rear), and numerous wood-engraved illustrations in the text (one full-page).

Original light brown morocco-grain cloth with covers decoratively stamped in blind and spine decoratively stamped in blind and lettered in gilt. Expertly recased. With new endpapers. Small newspaper clipping tipped in below signature in front free endpaper. Some very minor wear to head and tail of spine. Small stain to lower part of back board. Internally very clean. A very good and handsome copy of this seminal book. House in a custom cloth slipcase.

“Three states of the first edition have been identified. In the probable first state, the lithographed plates opposite pp. 66 and 225 are tinted brown and pale green respectively; in the second state, the lithograph opposite p. 225 is tinted brown and differs substantially from its counterpart in the first state; and in the third state, both lithographs have been replaced with black and white engravings” (Norman Library).

“Livingstone’s contributions to European knowledge of African geography and ethnography remain virtually unequalled. In three major expeditions (1853-1856, 1858-1864 and 1865-1873), he covered a third of the continent, from the Cape to the Equator and from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans, observing and delineating regions previously unknown to white men; he was the first European to explore the Zambesi River, and gave Victoria Falls its present name. Livingstone also brought his powers of observation to bear on the native peoples he encountered, and was inspired by what he saw to entertain not only evangelical notions of their salvation, but political and medican ones as well. He was the first to disclose to the European world the terrible effects of the slave trade upon native populations; the horrors of this ‘running sore of Africa’ moved him to campaign actively for its abolition. He also provided an accurate account of the tsetse fly (Glossina morsitans), along with the disease its bite produced in cattle; at the time the fly’s bite was thought to be (and perhaps was) harmless to man” (Norman Library).

David Livingstone (1813-1873) “became a missionary and was sent to South Africa by the London Missionary Society in 1840. From then onwards his life was devoted to the exploration of central Africa. Although a missionary...he regarded himself more as a pioneer explorer opening up the country for others. Livingstone’s services to African geography during thirty years are almost unequalled; he covered about a third of the continent from the Cape to the Equator and from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. He made three great expeditions; in 1853-6 (described in this book), 1858-64 and 1865-73, of which the first and third are the most important. During these years he explored vast regions of central Africa, many of which had never been seen by white men before. Hie first discovered the Zambesi River at Secheke and followed it northwards, eventually reaching the west coast of Africa at Luanda, Angola, and the east coast at Quelimane, Mozambique. In 1855 he discovered the great falls of the Zambesi and named them the Victoria Falls. He explored the Zambesi, Shire and Ruyuma rivers and found the salt lake Chilwa and Lake Nyasa...The geographical results of his journeys were of supreme importance, and made it possible to fill in great stretches of the maps of Central Africa which hitherto had been blank” (Printing and the Mind of Man).

Abbey, Travel, 347. Garrison and Morton 5269. Mendelssohn I, pp. 908-910. Printing and the Mind of Man 341.

HBS # 67919 $7,500