Collecting Delaware Books

Vistas from a Kent County Stream,
Algernon Sydney Logan, 1849-1925

Algernon Sydney Logan portrait
Algernon Sydney Logan in 1882

Algernon Sydney Logan, 1849-1925, was a wealthy 19th century aesthete. Though descended from well-known Philadelphia Quakers, he led a frivolous and unconventional life. That is not to say he was idle. Logan drove himself to complete literary and artistic projects, including many books published at his own expense. He was a poet, writer, photographer, violin and piano player, and boater. Logan had liberal views on sex, politics, literature, religion and expressed opinions freely.

In 1934, the notebooks he kept from 1881 to 1925 were published unedited by his son in the two-volume Vistas from the Stream. A lengthy biography was added.

Logan lived in Pennsylvania but had a 2800 acre farm and summer home in Kent County, Delaware. Life there is described in the book. Here is one example.

"May 25, 1883
"Brookdale, near Kitts Hammock
"All arrived the day before yesterday. Found that Wharton, my agent, had done wonders in repairing and arranging. I came down a few hours before the rest and had the boxes opened and the furniture placed in position. Towards sunset Jack brought them all down - Mary, Emily, Robby and two servants. Peter did not get to the farm till the next morning. He came to Leipsic from Philadelphia on board the 'Maid of Kent,' bringing 'Victor' and the market wagon filled with harness, etc. …

"Yesterday Jack, Emily and I went down the creek in the yawl. It blew half a gale, and as in the creek one often has to run dead before the wind, (always dangerous in a small boat) and to gybe (also dangerous) whether he will or not, we had a lively sail. We had to reef in, however, being forced by the narrow creek to put the boat dead before the stiff breeze, the wind pitched the boom in the air and nearly succeeded in giving the slack in the sail a wrap around the mast. At the bay we got a bushel of oysters — small but good. Coming home the wind fell lighter so that we did not reach my landing till 9 o'clock. If this is not a good way to try the quality of Jones' Creek malaria, I know of none."

Brookdale 1891
Brookdale in 1891

Vistas from the Stream is frequently available. Logan's other books are quite scarce, though probably not valuable. They never got wide distribution. Not one was a commercial success. Even those issued by known publishers were subsidized by Logan. For the collector who enjoys the search, here is a complete checklist of Logan titles.

More Information

There was an interesting artice about Logan in the Philadelphia Independent in 2004 written by Kevin Plunkett. Click here to read it online.

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