New Haven: Published for The Hawaiian Legend & Folklore Commission by the Yale University Press, 1924. Fraser, Juliette May. First Edition. Hardcover. First printing, octavo size, 245 pp., signed by Padraic Colum. Near fine / very good. Item #20082916
Born "Patrick Collumb", Padraic Colum (1881-1972), ardent Irish nationalist and friend of James Joyce, emigrated with his wife to America and, although he authored both plays and poetry, it was his highly successful adaptations and translations of folklore and mythology which would support the couple.
His work in this area was thought of so highly that "the Hawaiian legislature...invited Colum to codify the folklore of the islands" (n.b., quote from Wiki). This commission resulted in two volumes which were published in successive years; the first being this work, "At the Gateways of the Day" which was published in 1924; the second volume, "The Bright Islands", would come out in 1925. Per the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online), "[h]is work was the key to the foundation of Hawaiian folklore studies."
With lovely black-and-white illustrations by Juliette May Fraser (1887-1983), a native of Hawaii, whose work is now in many institutions including the Hawaii State Art Museum, Honolulu Museum of Art, the Met, and many more. During the Great Depression she was commissioned by the WPA to create a work of art; she was paid $35 a week and, when the funds ran out, she continue to work without pay on ten murals for the Hawaii State Library.
Signed copies are scarce, we see no signed copies currently online.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full yellow cloth over boards, spine with navy blue lettering and decorations and a red stylized design, both boards with a single narrow blind-debossed ruled border, top edge lightly stained blue, Colum's signature in black ink on the front free endpaper, small vignette by Fraser on the half-title, illustrated title page, with five full-page illustrations bound in throughout; octavo size (9.25" by 6.25"), pagination: [i-vi] vii-xxviii, 1-217 (pagination does not include illustrations). With the publisher's dust jacket showing the original price of $2.50, one of the illustrations from the book ("The owl of Ka-ne...) on the front panel surrounded by borders with lettering above and beneath, all in black, publisher's ads on the back panel, the spine mirrors the book spine with all decorations and lettering in black, front flap has only the printed price, the back flap and the entire verso of the jacket with publisher's ads; note that all four corners are cut on the diagonal, but are not "clipped" as the printed price is present.
___CONDITION: Volume is near fine, the boards clean other than a stray speck, straight corners without rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, and the interior is clean and bright; while the book is (now) free of prior owner markings there is evidence on the front free endpaper of a name which was erased and then covered over, with light offsetting to the half-title which follows; the head and tail of the spine lightly rubbed. In a solid, unclipped, very good dust jacket with light overall dustiness, the spine somewhat sunned, and light overall edgewear mostly at the head of the spine which shows minimal loss (no affect to the text). Overall a lovely copy, made special with the signature of Padraic Colum.
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