"May blessings be upon the head of Cadmus, the Phoenicians, or whoever it was that invented books." -Thomas Carlyle
Welcome to my virtual book collection. Since collecting actual books is somewhat cost-prohibitive, I've begun to amass all of the books I would love to have if I had the means. Some are new, lots are old, all are unique or beautiful or unusual or in some other way have captured my fancy. Enjoy browsing!
Special Collections: Fine Bindings ~ Fairies and Fairy Tales ~ Terror and Madness ~ Poetry ~ Food, Drink and Apothecary ~ Science Fiction ~ Illuminations, Lettering and Hand-Coloring ~ Magic ~ Supernatural and Occult ~ Alchemy ~ Science and Technical ~ Maritime ~ Costumes ~ Humor ~ Children's books ~ Legend of King Arthur ~ Americana ~ 18th Century ~ 19th Century Authors and illustrators: Edgar Allan Poe ~ Jules Verne ~ Edmund Dulac ~ Kay Nielsen ~ Arthur Rackham ~ Edward Gorey ~ Charles Dickens ~ H.P. Lovecraft ~ William Hope Hodgson ~ Mark Twain ~ Lewis Carroll ~ Salvador Dali ~ George Cruikshank ~ Emily Dickinson ~ Geoffrey Chaucer ~ H.G. Wells
Little Fur Family
Brown, Margaret Wise
New York, Harper & Bros. 1946.
Color illustrations by Garth Williams. 8.2x5.6 cm. (3¼x2¼”), original white paper boards with color pictorial front cover, fur cover, original two part box with a circular hole in the middle of the furry animal on the front part with actual fur showing through. First Edition.
An unusual children’s book, which still has the rabbit fur book cover. Later printings were substituted with an artificial fur cover.
B-A Note: I seriously debated whether to post this. A children’s book about furry animals, bound in real fur? What were they thinking?
Little Lord Fauntleroy
Burnett, Frances Hodgson. New York, Scribner’s, 1886.
Illustrated with drawings by Reginald B. Birch. (Large 8vo) original pictorial brown cloth. Custom clamshell box. First Edition.
First issue, with The De Vinne Press imprint at verso of last page of text and number 14 printed on the lower left margin of page 209. Author signed card laid in. Burnett’s first childrens novel, Little Lord Fauntleroy was originally published as a serial in the St. Nicholas Magazine between November 1885 and October 1886, then as a book by Scribner’s in 1886. Burnett based Little Lord Fauntleroy’s character on her young son, Vivian. The accompanying illustrations by Reginald Birch set fashion trends, and the book was so popular that there was a craze of mothers dressing their sons with velvet suits and lace collars based on Oscar Wilde’s attire, as well as looking like a hero. Little Lord Fauntleroy set a precedent in copyright law when in 1888 its author won a lawsuit against E. V. Seebohm over the rights to theatrical adaptations of the work. The work spawned a number of films, the most successful starring Freddie Bartholomew as Little Lord Fauntleroy, released in 1936
The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
Retold by F. Weatherly. Lond.: Hildesheimer & Faulkner and NY: Geo. Whitney, circa 1900.
4to, (9” wide x 6”) ribbon ties, die-cut in the shape of a shoe with the old Woman and her children on the cover. Slight bit of soiling otherwise near Fine. Illustrated with full page chromos by Edith Berkeley to accompany the rhyme retold by Weatherly. Rare. Bookseller Inventory # 29399
Aventures d’Alice au Pays des Merveilles. Traduit de l’Anglais par Henri Bué.
Lewis Carroll. London, Macmillan and Co., 1869.
First French edition. Contemporary full-grained dark blue morocco, spine ribbed and gilt, with gilt triple fillet borders on sides with gilt medallion portrait of the White Rabbit in centre on front cover, and of the Cheshire Cat on back cover, richly gilt inner borders, gilt edges (NOULHAC), and with the original publisher’s gilt blue cloth preserved, including the spine. With 42 wood-engraved plates and illustrations by John Tenniel.
“First came ten soldiers carrying clubs; these were all shaped like the three gardeners, oblong and flat, with their hands and feet at the corners: next the ten courtiers; these were ornamented all over with diamonds, and walked two and two, as the soldiers did. After these came the royal children; there were ten of them, and the little dears came jumping merrily along hand in hand, in couples: they were all ornamented with hearts. Next came the guests, mostly Kings and Queens, and among them Alice recognised the White Rabbit: it was talking in a hurried nervous manner, smiling at everything that was said, and went by without noticing her. Then followed the Knave of Hearts, carrying the King’s crown on a crimson velvet cushion; and, last of all this grand procession, came THE KING AND QUEEN OF HEARTS.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
FIRST EDITION, line-drawings throughout, some full-page, by Pauline Baynes, pp. 224, cr.8vo., original pale blue boards lightly stained, backstrip lettered in silver, front endpaper maps, dustjacket just a little frayed, mainly to head and tail of backstrip panel which is unfaded, with faint browning to the white area on the backstrip panel and the rear panel a little soiled, but overall in much better state than is usual with this work, very good
The Queen of the Pirate Isle
Bret Harte. Illustrated by Kate Greenaway. Engraved and Printed by Edmund Evans. London: Chatto and Windus, 1886.
First edition, binding A. Presentation Copy from the Author to Lady Alfred Paget signed and dated London December 2d, 1886. Octavo (8 1/2 x 6 1/4 in; 216 x 159 mm). 58 pp. Color frontispiece and twenty-seven text illustrations in color by Kate Greenaway. All edges gilt. Publisher’s original tan cloth, covers pictorially decorated in colors (the front cover with the illustration from page 13, the lower cover with the illustration from page 16), all edges gilt.
“I first knew her as the Queen of the Pirate Isle. To the best of my recollection she had no reasonable right to that title. She was only nine years old, inclined to plumpness and good humour, deprecated violence and had never been to sea. Need it be added that she did not live in an island and that her name was “Polly.”
Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor
Mervyn Peake. Country Life, 1939.
First edition, 48 pages, each with illustrations by the author and accompanying text, title page and last page browned, original cloth-backed pictorial boards, lower panel browned, small ink mark to spine, spine ends a little frayed, 4to.
Queer Animals and Birds
Containing amusing stories in rhymes and jingles.
Palmer Cox, Washington: Horace Fry, 1905,
Pictorial cloth, small 4to, (bumped, chipped, spine a bit sunned, pencilings to flyleaf, starting).
B-A Note: About the author (via wikipedia):
“Palmer Cox (April 28, 1840 – July 24, 1924) was a Canadian illustrator and author, best known for The Brownies, his series of humorous verse books and comic strips about the mischievous but kindhearted fairy-like sprites. The cartoons were published in several books, such as The Brownies, Their Book (1887). Due to the popularity of Cox’s Brownies, one of the first popular handheld cameras was named after them, the Eastman Kodak Brownie camera.”
Interestingly, the wikipedia article does not include this particular book in the bibiliography for Cox.
The Tailor of Gloucester
Beatrix Potter.. London: Privately printed for the author, December, 1902.
12mo, original pictorial pink boards. Housed in a custom chemise and half morocco slipcase. True first edition, one of only 500 privately printed copies, of Potter’s second book, which she called “my own favorite amongst my little books,” with frontispiece and 15 illustrations in color, three of which do not appear in the first trade edition of October, 1903. A lovely and desirable inscribed presentation-association copy of one of the rarest Beatrix Potter titles, in near-fine condition.
“But it is in the old story that all the beasts can talk, in the night between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the morning (though there are very few folk that can hear them, or know what it is that they say).”
The Ship that Sailed to Mars
William M. Timlin, 1923.
First edition, calligraphic text with decorations and 48 colour plates by Timlin all mounted on card as issued, original parchment-backed boards, spine titled in gilt, very slightly rubbed at corners, but overall an excellent copy, 4to,
B-A Note: This picture is clearly a stock image from the book that appears many places on the web, rather than a picture of the actual book on auction, which is disappointing. Still worth an entry though. For further images of a similar book as well as more history and trivia, please visit this excellent and comprehensive Monster Brains entry from June. The full text of the book is available here. It really is a gorgeous publication.
“Upon a certain day it happened, just as the stars came flocking after the Sun, that he finished a design for a ship that would really fly. He knew in his heart that this was The Ship, and already he seemed to feel the dawn on Mars, and anon see its double moons wheeling through its ancient burnt-out stars. “
An Intire New and Beautiful Edition of Aesop’s Fables, with Instructive Morals adapted to the Capacities of Children.
NEAR-MINIATURE EDITION NOT IN ESTC AESOP.53 half-page woodcut illustrations. , ii-xii, , 44; 64 pages, including woodcut frontispiece (A-D in 8s; ²A-²D in 8s). 2 volumes in one. 16mo, 97x59 mm, early 19th-century black calf, gilt-tooled spine with red morocco lettering piece; frontispiece mounted, slight gnawing along fore edge of opening leaves without text loss, lower outer corner of last 4 leaves restored affecting a few letters. Contemporary child’s crude ownership inscription (“Thomas Marriot his Book”) on blank final preliminary page. London: R. Baldwin, 1757
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
C.S. Lewis. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1950.
First American edition, Custom designer leather binding. A fine copy.
Stated “First Printing” of the First American edition of this classic story for children. A custom designed binding, finely bound in full leather by Green Dragon Bindery. With marbled endpapers and portions of the original dust jacket bound in. Pages bright and clean with edges gold gilded. Titles to spine gilt. A beautiful production, with custom illustration engraved in cognac-brown leather, intended to evoke the image of the wardrobe in an early wood cabinet motif - with the witch and lion on the doors. Design plate included.
Banbury Cross Series
Grace Rhys. London, J.M. Dent, 1894-95.
Eleven volumes of children’s books in the Banbury Cross series, with original folding box.
Includes: The Sleeping Beauty and Dick Whittington and His Cat. Illustrated by R. Anning Bell. * Aesop’s Fables. Illustrated by Charles Robinson. Little Red Riding Hood & The History of Tom Thumb. Illustrated by H. Isabel Adams. * Aladdin: or the Wonderful Lamp. Illustrated by Sidney H. Heath. * Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper and Jack and the Bean-Stalk. Illustrator not identified. * The Fairy Gifts and Tom Hickathrift. Illustrated by H. Granville Fell. * Blue Beard and Puss in Boots. Illustrated by R. Heighway. * The History of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. Illustrated by H. Granville Fell. * Banbury Cross & Other Nursery Rhymes. Illustrated by Alice B. Woodward. * Fireside Stories. Illustrated by Alice M. Mitchell. * The House That Jack Built & Other Nursery Rhymes. Illustrated by Violet M. & Evelyn Holden. Together, 11 volumes. 14.5x9 cm. (5¾x3½”), 1st in light green cloth, others in burgundy cloth, all decoratively stamped & lettered in gilt on front covers and spines, top edges gilt, others untrimmed, ribbon ties, pictorial endpapers by R. Anning Bell; folding burgundy cloth case pictorially stamped in gilt.
Charming set of the Banbury Cross children’s books, presenting classic tales, with notable illustrators of the late 19th century. There is a little space left in the box, perhaps there was one more at one time, and the first is a different color cloth.
The Pigmy Revels, or Harlequin Foundling, drophead title, engraved throughout, 4 full-page hand-coloured engraved illustrations, each with two hand-coloured tipped on engraved flaps changing the scene at head and foot, publisher’s orange wrappers, title label on upper cover, wrapper slightly soiled and worn at edges, very small folio (190 x 80mm.), modern card slipcase, RARE, G. Martin, [c.1775]
No other copy traced with this imprint. Worldcat describes a work with the same title and similar format published by William Tringham in 1773.
The Wind in the Willows
Author: Grahame, Kenneth Illustrated by Arthur Rackham.
London, Methuen & Co. 1951
Introduction by A.A. Milne. Illustrated by Arthur Rackham, including 12 tipped-in color plates on captioned white paper. (4to) 11¾x9, original full white sheep leather, spine gilt-lettered, top edge gilt, other edges uncut; original slipcase with printed paper label. “100th Edition.” Limited Edition, no. 374 of 500 copies.
Quite scarce in the original binding which is prone to wear and soiling. The final Rackham limited edition, posthumously published.