Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, (1904). Kennedy, J.W. Ferguson [Mrs.]. Hardcover. Duodecimo size, 48 pp., with scarce original dust jacket. Fine / near fine. Item #17062325
Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), author of the classic and much-loved "Little Women" books, abolitionist and feminist, grew up surrounded by many of the 19th-century literary lights of New England, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Spurred on to writing both by internal passion as well as financial need, she was a prolific author. The two stories in this volume were intially published separately: "Morning Glories" in 1868 and "Queen Aster" in 1887, as part of "Lulu's Library" (LuLu was Louisa's niece, the daughter of her sister May, and named for her). Both stories are charming, with "Morning Glories" being the story of a small girl named Daisy, who has been ill; her aunt plays a gentle trick upon her and she recovers health and the joy of the beauty of nature. "Queen Aster" is a charming fantasy story about flowers who can talk, and their desire to have a new King and Queen. This volume was published by Little, Brown in the summer of 1904 as part of their "Children's Friend Series" (being announced in "The Publisher's Weekly" dated August 13, 1904) and contains two illustrations in black and white by [Mrs.] J. W. Ferguson Kennedy (Barbara Bradford); we were unable to find out much about this elusive illustrator, other than several mentions of her work in contemporary Boston-area publications.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in light blue cloth with green and pink floral illustration on the front cover (in a design reminiscent of Margaret Armstrong, but not in Gullans and Espey) contained within two narrow green ruled borders, green lettering on the front and spine, frontispiece an illustration of a scene from "Morning Glories", a second illustration on p. 39 from "Queen Astor"; printed at the University Press, Cambridge, by John Wilson and Son, with the text printed on a thick cardstock paper, duodecimo size (7.5" by 5"), pagination: [i-ii], 1-41, [blank] [1-4] pp. of publisher’s ads. In the original publisher's gray paper dust jacket with a design on the front in green and pink which mirrors that on the front board, green lettering on the spine, the back panel and both flaps blank; no printed price although all four corners are evenly clipped (we presume by the publisher).
___CONDITION: Volume fine overall, with brilliant blue binding and decorations on the front board, the binding clean, straight corners with minimal rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, the only prior owner markings being a vintage gift inscription in pencil on the front free endpaper "Annie J. Ward - Bon voyage - from Queen Annie & Aunt Emma"; the only condition issue we see is a minute bit of rubbing to the tail of the spine, else fine, having been protected by the scarce dust jacket. The dust jacket is overall near fine, the corners clipped but we presume by the publisher, entire and clean; some sunning to the spine, light wear to the head and tail of the spine and the folds where the panels meet the flaps, one or two short, closed tears on the edges. The whole a remarkable example of a lovely Louisa May Alcott publication, a pristine book in a near fine, original dust jacket.
___CITATION: BAL no. 237.
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