New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1894. First Edition. Hardcover. First trade edition (published simultaneously with the limited), Sixmo size, 121 pp., signed by author in the month of publication. Very Good. Item #SB3103
Eugene Field (1850-1895) was a popular humorist and newspaperman who was often called the "Poet of Childhood". Field claimed two birthdates - the 2nd and 3rd of September - so that if his friends forgot him on the first day, they could remember him on the second. The whimsical, often sardonic, humor in The Tribune Primer - for example, suggesting that children pat the wasp, eat a wormy apple, or put mud in babies' ears - seems indicative of Field's early attitude toward children. He had the reputation of making faces at, or otherwise teasing, small children when he thought he was unobserved by adults. Slason Thompson, Field's early biographer, suggests that Field did not like children, but Charles Dennis, writing later, believes that Field had an attitude of one child to another; Dennis further argues that Field went through a "sweetening process" which made his later works gentler and more sentimental than this early, satiric work (N. B., info from Poetry Foundation). This copy with the signature of Eugene Field on the front free endpaper, signed in the month of publication, "December, 1894" (likely inscribed, but a prior owner clipped out the top of the front free endpaper; so to whom is now lost to history).___DESCRIPTION: Bound in blue cloth with white lettering and decorative illustration on the front cover, white lettering on the spine, top edge gilt, vignette on the title page, two-line initial capital letters at the beginning of each poem; sixteenmo size (6.5" by 4.25"), pagination: [i-vi] vii-viii [ix-x],  2-111, signed and dated "Dec 1894" by author on the front free endpaper.___CONDITION: Very good overall, the binding mostly clean with a few light spots of soiling, the white illustration and lettering on the front unrubbed, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean with light age-toning and a very few light spots of scattered foxing; some minor overall edgewear, most noticeably at the head of the spine with some small loss, the spine is sunned, the top corners gently bumped and all corners with light rubbing, the aforementioned clipping of the top of the front free endpaper, directly above Mr. Field's signature, hence we surmise there was an inscription that a prior owner removed before selling the book (sadly), and a prior owner tasteful bookplate on the first flyleaf, with the name "Marietta Luther" and the date of 7/10/65 at the bottom of the plate.___CITATION: BAL no. 5761; per the BAL, the trade and limited editions were issued simultaneously on December 4, 1894.___POSTAGE: International customers, please note that additional postage may apply as the standard does not always cover costs; please inquire for details.___Swan's Fine Books is pleased to be a member of the ABAA, ILAB, and IOBA and we stand behind every book we sell. Please contact us with any questions you may have, we are here to help.