Casey at the Bat

Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co., 1912. Groesbeck, Dan Sayre. First Edition. Hardcover. First separate printing of the poem in book form, duodecimo size, [31] pp. Near fine. Item #CNJWEM050

"Casey at the Bat" was an immensely popular baseball poem - indeed, called by some, "the single most famous baseball poem ever" - written in comic verse by Ernest Lawrence "Phin" Thayer (1863-1940), a Harvard graduate and member of the Hasty Pudding society. "Phin", the manner in which he first signed the poem, was a nickname Thayer wrote under during time as a writer for the Harvard Lampoon.

The poem was first published in "The San Francisco Examiner" in 1888 and was subsequently included in an anthology of poetry; this is the first time it was printed separately. "Casey" was immensely popular and gained recognition through its many performances, most notably by the comedian William DeWolf Hopper. The poem has inspired a plethora of adaptations for the screen and stage, and continues to entertain readers of all ages today. Many debate whether "Mudville" and "Casey" were real places and persons; the honour of place has been contended amongst several towns, but the character may have been based upon National League player Mike "King" Kelly, whose performance Thayer covered for the San Francisco "Examiner" in 1887, a year before the poem was first published.

Illustrating this book is California artist Dan Sayre Groesbeck (1878-1950), who provides playful illustrations on every page, with numerous full-page illustrations portraying each stanza of the poem. Groesbeck began his art career working as an illustrator for the LA Morning Herald in about 1900; he served in the military during WWI and some of what he saw and experienced would later be used in his artwork (see "Artists in California" by Edan Milton Hughes, p. 189).

___DESCRIPTION: Full green paper over boards, illustration in yellow and black with gilt lettering on the front board, green endpapers, title page with illustration in orange and black, full-page illustrations in orange, black, and white by Dan Sayre Groesbeck printed on the versos on every page, line drawings in black by Groesbeck on the rectos throughout underneath the lines of the poem, orange initial capitals and running heads throughout; duodecimo size (7" by 5.25"), 31 unnumbered pages.

___CONDITION: Volume is near fine, with clean boards, a strong, square text block with solid hinges (recently professionally restored, name available upon request), the interior is clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; the head and tail of the spine slightly bumped, the corners slightly rubbed, and the volume was sympathetically rebacked in the past.

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Price: $750.00