Item #23010209 The Land of Little Rain [Association copy, Willie A. Chalfant]. Mary Austin, Elmer Boyd Smith, Illustrations.
The Land of Little Rain [Association copy, Willie A. Chalfant]
The Land of Little Rain [Association copy, Willie A. Chalfant]
The Land of Little Rain [Association copy, Willie A. Chalfant]
The Land of Little Rain [Association copy, Willie A. Chalfant]
The Land of Little Rain [Association copy, Willie A. Chalfant]

The Land of Little Rain [Association copy, Willie A. Chalfant]

Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1903. Smith, Elmer Boyd. First Edition. Hardcover. First printing, octavo size, 298 pp. Very good +. Item #23010209

Mary Austin's "The Land of Little Rain" is still highly regarded today; as the editors of "The Zamorano 80" state: "[t]hese charming sketches of the desert and semi-desert country comprising the Owens Valley and the approaches to the great sink of Death Valley have become practically a classic". It not only describes the area - "the fauna, flora, and people" - but also evokes the "mysticism and spirituality...of the region between the High Sierra and the Mojave Desert of southern California" (n.b., this quote from Wiki).

Mary Hunter Austin (1868-1934) was "an early feminist and defender of Native American and Spanish-American rights" (ibid). She would eventually move to Carmel-by-the-Sea, where she would become part of the literary circle that included Jack London, Ambrose Bierce, George Sterling, Gelett Burgess, and many others.

This volume the first printing of the first edition. Note that, at one time, the accepted first printings had the date on the title page and that on the copyright page match, with no additional printings noted. However, per a 1983 article published by the Bibliographical Society of America written by Stephen R. Tabor, this is no longer the case. Tabor was able to identify separate first and second printings both of which have the same dates on the title and copyright pages and no further printings noted. The simplest of the newer points is that the half-title on the first printing is approx. 7 cms down on the page, whereas on the second printing it is only about 2 cm. down on the page; our copy the first printing, with this and the other points all correct.

Not only is this the true first printing, but this volume has an interesting association; on the front free endpaper is written, in a vintage hand, "W.A. Chalfant" which is most likely Willie A. Chalfant (1868-1943), noted journalist and editor of California newspapers. Having been named the "Dean of the California Newspaper Editors" Chalfant assumed the leadership of the newspapers in 1887; he would remain editor emeritus of "The Inyo Register" until 1945 (n.b., information and quote from the web site of Owens Valley History). Chalfont was also an environmentalist, being one who fought the draining of the Owens Valley to provide water to Los Angeles - a fight which Mary Austin's husband also fought, a fight they both lost.

___DESCRIPTION: Publisher's trade binding with vultures above and a wolf below the title and author with lettering in gilt, gilt lettering on the spine, top edge gilt, tasteful Ex-Libris on the front pastedown of the prior owner, tissue-guarded frontispiece one of four of Boyd's full-page illustrations ("Petite Pete"), illustrated title page, volume replete with marginal line drawings throughout; octavo size (8 5/8" by 6 3/8"), pagination: [ivi] vii-[xvi] [1-2] 3-281 [1].

___CONDITION: Better than very good and could likely be deemed near fine, with clean boards, the gilt lettering on both front and spine exceptionally bright, straight corners with minimal rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, collated complete, and other than the two items mentioned above (W.A. Chalfont's name and the Ex-Libris from the prior owner) free of prior owner markings; some bumping to the head and tail of the spine and the aforementioned light rubbing to the corners, else a near fine copy.

___CITATIONS: Cowan p. 24; Wright-Howes, A 402; Zamorano 80, no. 2.

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Price: $750.00