Portland, ME: David Tucker, 1858.
First Edition. 48 pp, 4.5 x 7.5 inches, in original salmon wrappers illustrated with wood engraving of the unfortunate Mr. Trask. "Peru, ME." written in ink on front wrapper, otherwise clean. Very good.
Leonard Trask (1806-1861) fell from his horse while in his twenties, seriously injuring his neck and spine. He continued to work as a farm hand until his spine began to bow, eventually leaving him with his chin permanently tucked into his chest. After two more accidents that disabled him still further, Trask was unable to work. Having a wife and seven children to support, he earned what he could by capitalizing on his status as a medical curiosity. In the introduction to this book, he offers the work up "to a generous and candid public, with full confidence that it will be met with a kind reception at the hands of his more fortunate fellow-citizens--whose liberal patronage he respectfully solicits, and whose favors will command his gratitude and thanks." Despite his visits to nearly two dozen doctors, Trask remained undiagnosed at the time of his death. His condition has since been identified as ankylosing spondylitis.