San Francisco: Paul Elder & Company / The Tomoye Press, 1905. 1st Edition. Hardcover. Duodecimo size, 28 pp., in scarce dust jacket. Near Fine / Good. Item #13080717
A charming book on manners for children, told in verse with humorous word-play, accompanied by line drawings that bring the verses to life - complete with walking flowers and fish that tell tales. Edward "Ned" Salisbury Field (1878-1936) was an illustrator for William Randolf Hearst, signing his drawings "Childe Harold". Later in life he became wealthy through real estate speculation in Southern California, and turned his hand to writing, including the film scripts for "Wedding Bells" and "Twin Beds". He led an interesting personal life, becoming, in his 20s, the secretary, protege and possibly lover of the widow of Robert Louis Stevenson.
After her death, Field married her daughter; their home together near Los Olivos, California, became a popular meeting place for writers and actors. The Tomoye Press was a partnership between Paul Elder, bookseller and publisher; and John Henry Nash, printer extraordinaire. They joined forces in 1903 to form The Tomoye Press, which was owned by Paul Elder but run by Nash; this book was published in 1905, two years into their partnership, and one year before the great San Francisco earthquake which completely destroyed the press.
___DESCRIPTION: Printed paper boards, this volume the version with red initial letters (rest of the letters in black) and the lawn upon which the child and cow are standing of a deep green, no color to the sky, all on a dark gray paper; spine is a strip of the board over green cloth, all held by four pieces of twine, the text block folded Japanese style so the printing is on one side only; decorative endpapers, each page, including the title page, a square of gold over the ivory page, containing drawings and text within a ruled border; 12 mo size (approx. 7.5" tall), unpaginated, the book contains 14 folds, excluding the endpapers. The dust jacket has a design on the front panel which mirrors the front board, in black with the same initial letters in red, the rest of the jacket is plain.
___CONDITION: Volume is in near fine condition, with boards which are not rubbed, a strong, square text block, solid hinges, gently bumped corners with a minimum of rubbing, the green cloth underlying the spine has a deep color, and the interior is clean and bright with just a spot or two of foxing; the twine holding the boards together is beginning to fray, and there is a whimsical prior owner bookplate on the front pastedown, of a young girl seated, book in lap, dreaming of knights and castles. The dust jacket is unclipped (no price printed) and is in good only condition; a prior owner placed cello tape on the verso over tears in the spine, the top of the front panel, and where the panels meet the flaps, they also covered some chips at the head and tail of the spine with matching paper; there is old dampstaining on the spine and affecting the upper left corner of the front panel, overall soiling. The dust jacket seems relatively scarce, this being the only one available online as of this writing.
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