Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1871. First Edition. Hardcover. First printing of the first American edition, sixmo size, 384 pp. Very good. Item #33330729
Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), penned this sequel two years after "Little Women" which was popular immediately upon publication. Alcott, an 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, and according to G.K. Chesteron "anticipated realism by twenty or thirty years" (n.b., quote from Wiki).
"Little Men" is the second of the three books considered to be the "Little Women Trilogy" and follows six months in the life of Plumfield, a school run by Jo (Mrs. Josephine Bhaer (neé March)) and her German Professor husband, and includes a diverse group of students which enables Alcott to speculate on the importance of education to "the masses". The "Little Women" stories remain beloved today, with countless reprintings and stage and screen adaptations.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full terra-cotta cloth, the front board with the author and title stamped in gilt in the center surrounded by a decorative oval border, front and back boards with a double narrow blind-embossed border, gilt lettering and the decorative border also on the spine with decorative ruled borders at the head and tail, brown coated endpapers, black and white illustration serving as a frontispiece ("These were the boys...") with three additional illustrations throughout; sixmo size (6 5/8" by 4 7/8"), pagination: [i-iv, publisher's ads] [v-viii, preliminaries]  2-376.
___PROVENANCE: With the Ex-Libris plates of Henry H. Haight (Governor of California 1867-1871) and Lois Marie Haight (his descendent), we acquired this volume from the family. Henry Haight's Ex-Libris has "Jr." penned after the name, apparently his son used his father's bookplates and simply added "Jr." denoting his ownership. On the flyleaf is a pencilled gift inscription "Nettie from Mama, July 2, 1871" which would have been very shortly after the book was published in the United States; "Peter Parley" states that the book was received at the Library of Congress for copyright purposes on June 12, 1871.
___CONDITION: A solid very good copy overall; the cloth binding clean, the gilt lettering and decorations bright and unrubbed, the text block sturdy with solid hinges, and the interior clean and bright with only a few, stray soil marks; other than the Ex-Libris plates and gift inscription which form an interesting provenance, the only other prior owner marking we see is a pencilled notation at the top of the rear pastedown. The binding shows some wear mostly at the head and tail of the spine, a bit of rubbing to the corners, the text block is slightly cocked, a few pages have been dog-eared, and (we presume) Lois was exuberant when pasting in her bookplate on the front free endpaper, as the glue adhered to the front pastedown at the top with the result that these two pages are now joined at the upper half. Still a very good copy of the first American printing with a nice provenace.
___CITATIONS: BAL 167; Peter Parley to Penrod p. 36; with first printing issue point of "Pink and White Tyranny" being announced as "Nearly Ready"; note that the BAL clearly states that there is no priority to books printed with or without the signature mark.
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