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FIRST EDITIONS OF CHILDREN’S BOOKS
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“BECK, Christopher” – [BRIDGES, Thomas Charles, 1868-1944] : THE BRIGAND OF THE AIR.
London : C. Arthur Pearson, 1920. First edition. “Christopher Beck has brought the pirate story abreast of the times, for it is an air pirate and his ultimate defeat by two plucky young British airmen, that this story is concerned. Airships, seaplanes and motors send the narrative hurtling along at a breathless pace” (The Scotsman, 9th December 1920).
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BLEWITT, Audrey (Audrey Ethel), 1894-1985 : PONIES & CHILDREN.
London : Country Life, (1933). First edition. A charming guide to all the business of children and ponies – “how they may be happily and economically combined” – buying a pony, saddlery and dress, learning to ride, hunting, showing, hacking, jumping and gymkhanas, expenses, etc., delightfully illustrated with the author’s sketches. With a preface by Sir Alfred James Munnings (1878-1959).
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BOLTON, Minnie : ARTISTIC NEEDLEWORK FOR CHILDREN.
Leeds & Glasgow : E. J. Arnold & Son, . First edition. A charming guide, with illustrated instructions for tacking stitch, long and short stich, double-row, borders, oversewing stitch, jewelled work, etc.
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BOWMAN, Anne, 1796-1886 : TOM AND THE CROCODILES.
London : George Routledge & Sons, 1867 [i.e.1866]. First edition. One of a number of tales of derring-do written by the bookseller Anne Bowman of Richmond (Yorkshire) either side of 1860 – “A new work, from the pen of Miss Anne Bowman, full of adventurous excitement and hair-breadth escapes from all kinds of peril. A family are shipped from London to a West India island, where they pass through a never-ending series of vicissitudes enough to daunt the energies of the strongest amongst the members of it. No one can complain of monotony who peruses these spirit-stirring pages” (Bell’s Life in London, 24th November 1866).
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BURNETT, Frances Hodgson, 1849-1924 : LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY.
London : Frederick Warne & Co., 1886. First British edition. The runaway Harry Potter success of its day, condemning a generation of small boys to the purgatory of velvet cut-away jackets, knee-breeches and ruffles. Like Burnett herself, the illustrator Reginald Bathurst Birch (1856-1943), whose illustrations played so significant a part in the book’s success, was born in England before finding initial fame in the USA.
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BURNSIDE, Helen Marion, 1844-1923 : FAIRY FINE-EAR’S FANCIES.
London : Sydney J. Saunders & Co., . First edition. Charmingly illustrated poetic fancies for children, with “The Mermaid and the Zoophite”, “Swinging – Swinging – To, and Fro”, “The Fairies and the Bees” and “Said a Dewdrop to a Skylark”. Seemingly a variant issue, with the imprint of Sydney John Saunders (1837-1923), stationer and manufacturer of Christmas cards, etc. – the handful of other copies traced bearing the imprint of the similar Sockl & Nathan firm. Undated, but the book, beautifully printed in Leipzig, was noticed in the press in the latter part of 1889 – “full of such wonderfully nice pictures” (Newcastle Courant, 14th December) – and here has a Christmas 1889 gift inscription.
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COOPER, John, 1944- & COOPER, Jonathan, 1975- : CHILDREN’S FICTION : 1900-1950.
Aldershot : Ashgate, (1998). First edition. An illustrated decade-by-decade survey, with biographical notes and checklists of over 200 authors from the English-speaking world. A review copy, with the manuscript review notes of the late B. C. Bloomfield loosely inserted.
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“CROMPTON, Richmal” – [LAMBURN, Richmal Crompton, 1890-1969] : WILLIAM – THE FOURTH.
London : George Newnes, (1924). First edition. Fourteen William stories, including “William and Photography”, “William and the Black Cat”, “William the Showman”, “William Enters Politics”, etc.
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CUMMING, Primrose (Primrose Amy), 1915-2004 : THE SILVER EAGLE RIDING SCHOOL.
London : A. & C. Black, (1938). First edition. Three sisters start a riding school – “the whole idea is pure nonsense” explodes Uncle Manfred – but they set out to prove him wrong. “Full of the right ‘jodhpur’ tone and suggests a really thorough knowledge of horseflesh” (Hull Daily Mail, 10th December 1938).
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CUMMING, Primrose (Primrose Amy), 1915-2004 : RACHEL OF ROMNEY.
London : Country Life, (1939). First edition : in the secondary binding of pale brown cloth over thin and flexible boards, lettered in black – the publisher’s imprint reading Junior Country Life Library on four lines. A story for older children set on Romney Marsh – and “without the inevitable ponies and dogs filling the chief roles”.
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DAVISON, William, 1781-1858 : HALFPENNY CHAPBOOKS.
Newcastle upon Tyne : Frank Graham, (1971). First edition : limited to 450 copies. An attractive facsimile of eighteen of the illustrated halfpenny chapbooks produced for children by William Davison of Alnwick in the early nineteenth century. With an introduction by Peter Isaac (1921-2002).
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DE LA MARE, Walter (Walter John), 1873-1956 : THE THREE MULLA-MULGARS.
London : Duckworth & Co., 1910. First edition : a later issue, in the secondary binding, and with inserted advertisements datable from internal evidence to perhaps 1920. De La Mare’s neglected masterpiece – an enduring fantasy of the quest of the three royal monkeys. When asked about its possible influence on “Watership Down”, Richard Adams reportedly replied, “To try to copy ‘The Three Mulla-Mulgars’ would be like trying to copy ‘King Lear’”.
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DROTNER, Kirsten : ENGLISH CHILDREN AND THEIR MAGAZINES, 1751-1945.
New Haven : Yale University Press, (1988). First edition. A full-scale history of periodical publishing for children in England, drawing on her doctoral thesis, with special emphasis on readership and perception.
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FARROW, G.E. (George Edward), 1862-1919? : THE WALLYPUG OF WHY.
London : Hutchinson & Co., . First edition. The first of the wonderful Wallypug books (for specially nice girls and boys only) – a talking doll takes Girlie to the land Why, “where all the questions and answers come from ... but, before we start, you must promise me that you will be very kind to the Wallypug, for he is a kind of relation of mine”. The fish with a cold, breakfast for tea, the socialist cockatoo, the invisible joke, the ride with the alphabet, and other superb fantasies.
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FULLER, Roy (Roy Broadbent), 1912-1991 : THE WORLD THROUGH THE WINDOW : COLLECTED POEMS FOR CHILDREN.
London : Blackie & Son, (1989). First edition. A collection of over 100 poems, some previously unpublished, with illustrations by Nick Duffy.
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GOTTLIEB, Gerald, 1923-2009 : EARLY CHILDREN’S BOOKS AND THEIR ILLUSTRATION.
New York : Pierpont Morgan Library / Toronto : Oxford University Press, (1975). First edition. A lavishly produced exploration of 225 treasures from the Pierpont Morgan Library, with bibliographical notes and short discussions of each. With a preface by Charles Ryskamp and an interesting essay by the historian by J. H. Plumb on “The First Flourishing of Children’s Books”.
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HALE, Mary Ann, 1796-1830 : A CATECHISM FOR CHILDREN. BY THE LATE MRS. HALE.
London : W. Simpkin and R. Marshall, 1831. First edition. An extended catechism, with a supplementary table of biblical texts pointing out various duties, sins to be avoided, threatenings to the wicked, blessings to the righteous, etc., compiled for the use of the Harewood Sunday School in Yorkshire, and prepared for publication by the local vicar, Richard Hale (1773-1854), evidently in memory of the compiler, his late wife, Mary Ann Hale, née Loft, and their short marriage of just five years.
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HÜRLIMANN, Bettina, 1909-1983 : THREE CENTURIES OF CHILDREN’S BOOKS IN EUROPE.
London : Oxford University Press, 1967. First edition in English. A handsome and wide-ranging survey, with individual chapters on nursery rhymes, fairy stories, Hans Christian Andersen, Heinrich Hoffman, Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, fantasy, the Little Prince, dreams and educational methods, Red Indians, education through pictures, photography, colour prints, comic strips, politics, Jean de Brunhoff, twentieth-century picture books, etc., with extensive bibliographies. Originally published in Zurich in 1959. Edited and translated from the extended second edition of 1963 by Brian Alderson.
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JONES, J.D. (John Daniel), 1865-1942 : THE GAME OF LIFE : TALKS WITH BOYS AND GIRLS.
London : National Council of Evangelical Free Churches, 1907. First edition. Twenty-nine improving talks for the young, with metaphors from sports and hobbies – cricket, golf, cycling, photography, and much else – “We are the batsmen, and we have to keep our wicket up”, etc.
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KIPLING, Rudyard (Joseph Rudyard), 1865-1936 : STALKY & CO.
London : Macmillan & Co., 1899. First edition. "In summer all right-minded boys built huts in the furze-hill behind the college – little lairs whittled out of the heart of the prickly bushes, full of stumps, odd root-ends, and spikes, but, since they were strictly forbidden, palaces of delight".
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LEWIS, C.S. (Clive Staples), 1898-1963 : THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE : A STORY FOR CHILDREN.
London : Geoffrey Bles, (1950). First edition. Illustrations and colour frontispiece by Pauline Baynes. The first and best-known of the Narnia chronicles.
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MADAN, Falconer (Francis Falconer), 1851-1935 – editor : THE LEWIS CARROLL CENTENARY IN LONDON : 1932.
London : J. & E. Bumpus, 1932. First edition : limited to 400 numbered copies. “Including a catalogue of the exhibition, with notes; an essay on Dodgson’s illustrators by Harold Hartley; and additional literary pieces (chiefly unpublished). With six illustrations”. A charming catalogue of the centenary exhibition, describing over six-hundred Carroll related items and rarities, together with the Hartley essay, and also including a number of previously unpublished (or unpublished in book form) short pieces by Carroll – juvenilia, articles, acrostics, extracts from letters, etc.
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MAHONY, Bertha E. (Bertha Everett), 1882-1969 & OTHERS : ILLUSTRATORS OF CHILDREN’S BOOKS : 1744-1945.
Boston : Horn Book, (1970). A reprint of the original 1947 edition. An extensive overview of the subject, with chapters on the period before 1800; nineteenth-century England; early American illustration; Howard Pyle; foreign picture books; graphic processes; illustrators of children’s classics; animated drawing; twentieth-century developments, etc., supplemented with biographies of living illustrators worldwide, bibliographies, etc.
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MILES, Alfred H. (Alfred Henry), 1848-1929 – editor : IN THE TEETH OF ADVENTURE UP AND DOWN THE WORLD ...
London : Stanley Paul & Co., 1908. First edition. “True stories of real peril told by men and boys from personal experience, including original stories by G. Manville Fenn, Clive R. Fenn, H. J. A. Hervey, and others”. Thirty-three stories, including Manville Fenn’s “The Black Spot”, as well as “With Panthers in a Cotton Field”, “Fighting Loons”, “With a Tiger in Manchuria”, “Treed by Wolves on the Koyukuk”, etc.
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MILNE, A.A. (Alan Alexander), 1882-1956 : THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER.
London : Methuen & Co., (1928). First edition. “One day when Pooh Bear had nothing else to do, he thought he would do something, so he went round to Piglet’s house to see what Piglet was doing”. Illustrations, endpapers, and cover-design by the inimitable Ernest H. Shepard.
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MUIR, Percy (Percy Horace), 1894-1979 : ENGLISH CHILDREN’S BOOKS 1600 TO 1900.
London : B. T. Batsford, (1979). A reprint of the original 1954 edition, with a fresh preface updating the list of recommended reading, etc. An illustrated history and collectors’ guide to English children’s books, with checklists of the most important authors, the publishing history of the major works, etc.
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MUSGRAVE, P.W. (Peter William), 1925-2011 : FROM BROWN TO BUNTER : THE LIFE AND DEATH OF THE SCHOOL STORY.
London : Routledge & Kegan Paul, (1985). First edition. Professor Musgrave with a history of the boys’ school story – from its origins, through the great Victorians and on to 1930.
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NELSON, Claudia : BOYS WILL BE GIRLS : THE FEMININE ETHIC AND BRITISH CHILDREN’S FICTION, 1857-1917.
New Brunswick : Rutgers University Press, (1991). First edition. An absorbing study of models of masculinity in (mainly Victorian) books for boys – “asexuality and virility as social ideals”.
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PARRY, Edward Abbott (Sir Edward Abbott), 1863-1943 : GAMBLE GOLD.
London : Hutchinson & Co., 1907. First edition. Judge Parry and an extraordinary Scottish fantasy tale for children, in which a Swiss Seal umpiring a cricket match seems relatively normal. Illustrated by Harry Furniss (1854-1925).
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POTTER, Beatrix (Helen Beatrix), 1866-1943 : THE TALE OF MRS. TITTLEMOUSE.
London : Frederick Warne & Co., 1910. First edition. “Once upon a time there was a wood-mouse, and her name was Mrs. Tittlemouse. She lived in a bank under a hedge”. Cover design, endpapers and colour illustrations by the author.
RAYBOULD, Walter, 1864-1912 : LONDON BELLS : AND WHAT THEY TELL US.
London : Blackie & Son, 1911. First edition. A delightful book about London for children – not just Oranges and Lemons and other nursery rhymes, but the origins of the city, the Romans, Boadicea, Saxon London, the Danes, Westminster Abbey, the Thames, London Bridge, the Tower, the Great Fire, St. Paul’s, London children, St. James’s Park, the Crystal Palace, the Zoo, Covent Garden, the docks, and London servants. With colour plates by Wilfrid Ball, W. L. Wyllie, Frank Brangwyn, Samuel Scott, Stanhope Forbes, Vicat Cole, and others, as well as numerous illustrations, some full-page, in the text.
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REID, Mayne (Thomas Mayne), 1818-1883 : THE BUSH-BOYS : OR THE HISTORY AND ADVENTURES OF A CAPE FARMER AND HIS FAMILY IN THE WILD KAROOS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA.
London : David Bogue, 1856 [i.e.1855]. First edition. “There is no living writer in our language who is at all to be compared with Captain Mayne Reid for the power with which he unites fact and marvel” (Morning Advertiser, 7th January 1856) – “As a writer of books for boys, commend us above all men living to Captain Mayne Reid! Wherever his new book goes this new year there will be abundant delight for hours of reading, and plenty to talk about by the evening fire. Toils and adventures, dangers, darings, and sufferings ...” (The Nonconformist, February 1856).
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ROSS, Charles Harry, 1835-1897 : MERRY CONCEITS AND WHIMSICAL RHYMES. WRITTEN AND DRAWN BY CHARLES H. ROSS.
London : George Routledge & Sons, 1866. First edition. "There once was a king did a very sad thing ..." and other nonsense rhymes from the fertile and inventive Charles Ross, each with one of his own extraordinary illustrations, engraved and printed in colours by Edmund Evans. Ross was the inventor of the first comic cartoon character, the immortal Ally Sloper F.O.M. (Friend of Man), who made his debut in Ross’s magazine "Judy" in August 1867 before taking on a life of his own in annuals and the weekly Ally Sloper comics. The characteristic style and tenor are already in place in these early images and rhymes.
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SPENDER, Brenda E. (Brenda Elizabeth), 1884-1967 : MOCK UNCLE.
London : Country Life, (1932). First edition. The adventures of three London children while their mother is away. “A story for Medium-sized People in eight incidents”. Illustrated by James H. Dowd (1884-1956).
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STEVENSON, Robert Louis, 1850-1894 : A CHILD’S GARDEN OF VERSES.
London : John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1896 [i.e 1895]. The first illustrated edition of a perennial favourite – the collection of sixty or more children’s poems by Stevenson first published ten years earlier – “The Land of Counterpane”, “The Land of Nod”, “My Bed is a Boat”, “The Land of Story-Books”, etc. Illustrated throughout by Charles Robinson (1870-1937) – “Just as ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’ is the best of its kind – you are certain it will live as long ... as the presence of little ones brightens the earth – so Charles Robinson’s illustrations are the best of their kind ... John Lane’s exquisite volume is a treasure” (contemporary review in Black & White).
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STEVENSON, Robert Louis, 1850-1894 : A CHILD’S GARDEN OF VERSES.
London : Bodley Head, 1960. First Leonard Rosoman illustrated edition. A perennial favourite since its first publication in 1895, but here given a complete makeover by the original publishers with over 100 fresh drawings for this edition by Leonard Rosoman.
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TAYLOR, Judy (Julia Marie), 1932- : BEATRIX POTTER : ARTIST, STORYTELLER AND COUNTRYWOMAN.
London : Frederick Warne, (1986). First edition. A richly illustrated biography of Beatrix Potter (1866-1943), with much new material, including previously unpublished photographs and illustrations.
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TOMLYN, Alfred W. (Alfred William), 1860-1927- editor : THE CHILDREN’S SONG BOOK. WITH COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS.
Edinburgh : Andersons, [ca.1925]. A reprint of this attractive and popular compilation, re-issued in various formats from about 1905 onwards – the words and music of forty favourite children’s songs – “Girls and Boys Come out to Play”, “I Love Little Pussy”, “Sing a Song of Sixpence”, and others which might not pass muster in this day and age – with three-colour plates by Lawson Wood, Charles Crombie, Harry Rountree, etc.
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[UMPHELBY, Fanny, 1788-1852] : THE CHILD’S GUIDE TO KNOWLEDGE; BEING A COLLECTION OF USEFUL AND FAMILIAR QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON EVERY-DAY SUBJECTS, ADAPTED FOR YOUNG PERSONS ... BY A LADY.
London : Simpkin, Marshall & Co., 1870. Forty-fourth edition. A quite extraordinary compilation for the nineteenth-century child, condensing into under 500 pages an encyclopaedic amount of information on all manner of topics. Conceived in the form of Socratic question-and-answer dialogue, we learn of everything from acorns to zinc – from just one opening at random, “What is goulard?”, “What is benzoin?”, “What is storax”, “What is gum-guaiacum”, “What forms the famous diamond cement?” – all confidently and succinctly answered. Originally published as “262 Questions and Answers” in 1825, the book rapidly became a standard text, much expanded through multiple editions until at least a sixty-third edition in 1913, the text initially augmented after the author’s death by her nephew Robert Arthur Ward (1826-1898).
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[VALPY, Richard, 1754-1836] : LATIN DELECTUS : WITH A COPIOUS VOCABULARY. FOR THE USE OF THE EDINBURGH ACADEMY.
Edinburgh : Oliver & Boyd / London : Simpkin & Marshall, 1832. First edition. Selected Latin passages, moving on from simple constructions (nominative and verb, adjective and substantive, etc.), to longer and increasingly more complex anecdotes, maxims, and fables, etc., followed by an extensive vocabulary. Generally attributed to the schoolmaster Richard Valpy, said to have been “a mighty flogger”, whose large and impressive library was dispersed at auction in 1832.
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WOOD, Helen : THE GRAMMATICAL READING CLASS-BOOK; OR, AN EASY INTRODUCTION TO ENGLISH GRAMMAR; IN ENTERTAINING CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN A LADY & HER DAUGHTERS; IN WHICH THE PARTS OF SPEECH ARE FAMILIARLY EXPLAINED, AND THE RULES OF GRAMMAR INTRODUCED AND ILLUSTRATED IN A PLEASING MANNER.
London : Simpkin, Marshall & Co.; Hamilton, Adams & Co., [etc]., 1850. Eighth edition. "Designed to inspire young persons with a taste for that useful branch of education" – Little Lucy Harcourt is brought up to the mark in grammar – "though she sometimes betrayed a little impatience, ill-humour, and carelessness, yet if we look over these little faults, she was tolerably good". Intended for use both at home and in schools, but although the work evidently enjoyed a considerable nineteenth-century vogue, being first published in about 1827 (the date of the preface) and reaching a tenth edition in 1865, we are unable to trace any edition earlier than the 1841 (sixth) in the British Library – and no copy of the present edition in any of the major UK libraries.
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