Vocabulum; or, The Rogue's Lexicon. Compiled from the Most Authentic Sources. CRIME, THE UNDERWORLD.

Vocabulum; or, The Rogue's Lexicon. Compiled from the Most Authentic Sources

New-York: George W. Matsell & Co., 1859. First Edition. Small 12mo (12.5cm.); publisher's blue pebble-grained blind-embossed cloth, gilt-lettered spine, dark brown glazed endpapers; vi,[7]-130,[1](ad)pp. Boards gently scuffed, corners bumped, else a Very Good, quite brilliant copy.

Early American slang dictionary by a commissioner of the New York City police force, about two-thirds of the work plagiarized from English sources, though the author here claims that "Occupying the position of a Special Justice, and Chief of the Police of the great Metropolis of New-York, where thieves and others of a like character from all parts of the world congregate, and realizing the necessity of possessing a positive knowledge of every thing connected with the class of individuals with whom it was my duty to deal, I was naturally led to study their peculiar language" (p. iv). The work appears to be aimed at readers of Matsell's newspaper the "National Police Gazette," advertized on the last leaf of text. A random dip into the early leaves reveals such unknown slang words as "Ard" (hot), though the OED only defines this as an obsolete form of "Hard." More recognizable listings appear under "Cow" (a dilapidated prostitute), while her "grease" is butter, her "juice" is milk, and "Cows and Kisses" applies to the ladies.

Price: $850.00

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