New York: The Century Co., 1913. Rackham, Arthur. First Edition. Hardcover. First American edition, first printing, large octavo size, 286 pp., in original dust jacket. Very good + / good +. Item #20082930
The "Mother Goose" nursery rhymes have been known by this name ever since Charles Perrault (1628-1703) published his collection of tales written for children titled "Histoires ou Contes du temps passe" ("Histories, or Tales of Past Times"); the frontispiece of this book depicted an old woman sitting by a fire telling the tales to children with the caption "Contes de ma Mère l'Oye" ("Tales of Mother Goose"), hence the name became attached to the stories and, later to children's nursery rhymes.
This volume the first American edition with the illustrations of Arthur Rackham (1867-1939), an eminent illustrator of many books which often depict fantasy and fairy tale subjects; Rackham contributed illustrations to many popular stories, such as "Cinderella", "Sleeping Beauty", "Alice in Wonderland", and the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Known for his ability to produce both eerie, almost feral trees, goblins, and assorted other ne'er-do-wells while at the same time bringing to life breathtakingly lovely fairies, princesses, and good children, both come to life in this volume of favourite children's nursery rhymes.
Per the bibliographies, this American edition contains "many more rhymes than the English." "The American edition is far more desirable (than the British trade), as the above additions, with the quality paper, produce a far better publication." It should be noted that the colour plates are the same (large) size as the British deluxe edition; the plate of "Old Mother Goose" was turned into the illustration on the front pastedown and the dust jacket, while the title page of a handmade sampler design is not included in the British edition.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full black cloth over boards, inset full-colour illustration mounted onto the front board, gilt lettering on the spine, tissue-guarded, full-colour frontispiece ("Bye, Baby Bunting") one of the thirteen (including the pictorial title page) colour illustrations, in addition, there are numerous black-and-white illustrations, vignettes and silhouettes, some full-page, some half-page, others in-text; large octavo size (9.5" by 7"), pagination: [i-viii] ix-xxiv, [1-2] 3-262. The original publisher's dust jacket with the illustration on the front panel of "Old Mother Goose", black lettering on the spine, publisher's ads on the back panel, front flap with a summary of this book, back flap with publisher's ad; note that the jacket is not price-clipped, although there is no printed price present.
___CONDITION: Volume almost near fine, with clean boards, the front pastedown clean with only a few hints of rubbing, straight corners with minimal rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean, and entirely free of prior owner markings; some scattered foxing mostly on the preliminary and final handful of leaves, apparent on the frontis and its tissue guard, but only intermittent on the other plates, a slightly cracked gutter between pp. 106 and 107, and a vintage prior bookseller's note and price, in pencil, on the verso of the rear free endpaper. The unclipped dust jacket perhaps a bit better than good; all components present and attached, but with a rather large chip on the bottom of the front panel (see picture) and another smaller one at the top, the rest of the jacket with light overall wear, light soil, the spine sunned; even with its faults, not often found in the original jacket.
___CITATION: Latimore and Haskell p. 41; Riall p. 116; Loker, Chris, "One Hundred Books Famous in Children's Literature", pp. 82-85.
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