Vocabulum; or, The Rogue's Lexicon
By George Matsell
First edition of this early American slang dictionary, compiled by the New York Chief of Police, George Matsell. Originally intended as an aide to those who followed the police news, Matsell collects and defines the deceptive jargon of criminals, cutpurses, and other ne'er-do-wells of mid-19th-century New York City. Included are several short stories using the jargon, as well as a section for gamblers and billiard players. This is the true first edition, distinguished from the later 1890s reprint as it has no illustrations.
New York: George Matsell & Co., 1859. Publisher's original embossed cloth, spine lettered and ruled in gilt, brown endpapers; pp. vi, 1, 8-130 + 1 leaf ads. Spine and covers faded and sunned, else quite a nice copy with just a bit of shelfwear. Binding firm, scattered foxing else internally clean and fine.