First European chronicle of the American Revolution, with many maps and plans

[Attributed to Christoph Heinrich Korn], Geshichte der Kriege in und ausser Europa Vom Anfange des Ausstandes der Brittischen Kolonien in Nordamerka an. [History of the Wars in and outside of Europe from the Beginning of the Revolt of the British Colonies in North America.] Nurnberg: Gabriel Nicolaus Raspe, 1776-1777.
Eight parts (of thirty). [6],112;[1]-6,9-84;[2],127,[1]; [2],[1]-104,125-132,121-122,[1];[2],134,[2];[2],[3]-111,[1];[2],109;[2],117,[1]pp. plus one engraved view and nine engraved maps and plans, of which five are folding and four with hand color. Small, thick 4to. Contemporary boards, paper spine labels with manuscript annotations. Printed bookplate on front pastedown.

The earliest European chronicle of the American Revolution, issued while war was still raging. With numerous maps and views, including two based on important William Faden battle plans. 

Offered here in an early binding are the first eight parts of the Geschichte, devoted entirely to events in Great Britain’s American Colonies.  The first part surveys events through 1755, the second part covers the period from the French and Indian War to the Revolution, parts three through five relate events from the fall of 1775 to November 1776, and parts six through eight cover the years 1776 through the middle of 1777. The complete run included 30 parts, the last issued in 1784.

Howes mentions, without attribution, that the work is “ascribed also to Christopher Korn,” while Vail states that “it was probably compiled by or under the editorship of G. N. Raspe, the publisher, whose name is signed to one of the notices to the reader.” (p. 282) According to the Preface, dated June 1776 and issued with the first part, the work was compiled from contemporary newspapers and other documents, with additions by the editor.  Vail observes that “The desire of the publisher to make the work as accurate as possible is evident from the following notice in Part 3: “Being unable to get trustworthy information, and being unwilling to copy accounts which are obviously lies, this volume is somewhat abbreviated, but we will make up for it in later volumes.””

Beyond its significance as a contemporary account of events in America, the volume is well illustrated with ten maps, plans and views, including single-page plans of Boston, Crown Point, Philadelphia, and Quebec; a view of Quebec; folding maps of North America, New England, and Montreal; and large, folding plans of the northern part of Manhattan Island (Nebenzahl #117) and the Operations of General Howe in New York and New Jersey (Nebenzahl #102). Most of these are German adaptations of French and English maps: the folding battle plans, for example, are closely based on important battle plans issued by the firm of William Faden in 1777.

These 10 illustrations correspond to the 10 in the first eight parts of the American Antiquarian Society’s copy of the Geschichte, but exceed the 8 mentioned by Sabin. Howes also mentions 10 illustrations, but this is with reference to the complete set of 30 parts. The complete set of 30 parts covers events in the American Colonies, the Caribbean, and Europe, but is extremely rare, and I have never seen one on the antiquarian market; indeed, Sabin was able to describe only the first eight parts, as offered here.

R. W. G. Vail, “Report of the Librarian”, Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, vol. 43 no. 2 (Oct., 1933). Howes #G147. Sabin #27213 (describing only the first 8 parts).  Not in Streeter.


Paper spine labels largely perished. Pagination errors in Parts 2 and 4 as issued. Contemporary manuscript underlining throughout and some minor tears to couple of maps at points of binding, but internally clean and fresh and generally fine.