The First American Edition of the Book of Nonsense

A few pages from an eBay auction; from the description:

A BOOK OF NONSENSE. By EDWARD LEAR. From The Tenth London Edition. With Many New Pictures And Verses.

Published by M. Doolady, Agent, New York, [1863]. First American edition, issued simultaneously, and with the same sheets, as the 1863 Willis P. Hazard, Philadelphia printing. Both of these early American printings are quite scarce – it appears that only Yale University has both imprints in their collection.

Hardbound, oblong small folio, 8.75” x 5.75”, Original pictorial yellow paper covered boards, with rear cover numbered 113 containing “Young Lady of Clare,” textured brown cloth spine/spine margins, 112 numbered leaves.  Each leaf is printed on one-side only, and illustrated with a Woodcut Engraving after designs by the author.

CONDITION: Imperfect – lacking 2 leaves containing plates 41 and 77.  The original hardcovers are lightly stained/worn and scraped, and the edges are worn through revealing the boards beneath, the cloth spine covering is faded/chipped/torn and has been amateurishly glue repaired and the front/rear inner hinges reinforced with clear tape, otherwise the covers remain legible and quite bright.  Internally, there is an old Kirby & Co. Booksellers label (upscale 1850-70’s New York City establishment) on the front paste-down; the first two and last two leaves (title page plus leaves 2, 111, and 112) are damaged and worn (mostly at the gutter margins from the glue/clear tape repairs, and with closed tears/finger smudges, edge wear and verso tape repairs) the title page is the most worn and is clear taped to the paste-down and on its verso to the gutter margin of leaf 2, it is edge-chipped/torn, creased and has clear tape repairs to the verso; leaf 27 has a closed tear and BB sized hole in the image; leaf 53 has a stiff gutter margin crease; and leaf 103 has a 2” closed edge tear; there is light shorelining, scattered light foxing, and some small staining throughout, some corner-tip creases/chips, and a few small closed gutter margin tears; nonetheless, despite the flaws, the 150 year old text and woodcut illustrations remain very crisp and bright.  Though flawed – A Rare Example of this 1863 First American Printing.  (Without these flaws, copies of this imprint have been sold in the range of $2000-$3000 dollars.)

One comment on “The First American Edition of the Book of Nonsense
  1. jan says:

    Could you tell me where I might sell a copy of this book. It is identical to the above. Philadephia printing.

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