ONE OF THE MOST SOUGHT-AFTER OF AMERICAN CHILDREN’S BOOKS: FIRST EDITIONS OF BOTH PARTS OF LITTLE WOMEN, IN ORIGINAL CLOTH
ALCOTT, Louisa May. Little Women; Or, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. WITH: Little Women, Part Second. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1868-69. Two volumes. 12mo, original gilt-stamped terra-cotta cloth, brown coated endpapers. Housed together in a custom clamshell box.
First edition, first issue of Little Women, “an outstanding achievement of 19th-century American literature,” together with the first edition, mixed state of Little Women, Part Second, in original gilt-decorated cloth.
In 1865, while serving as editor of Merry Museum, a Boston children’s magazine, Alcott received encouragement to write a book for girls. Drawing on memories of childhood, the author portrayed the daily lives of Amy, Jo, Beth and Meg March—portraits of the four Alcott sisters. One of the most popular juvenile books ever published, “Little Women is an outstanding achievement of 19th-century American literature, and the first children’s novel written in that country to have become an enduring classic.” “It is one of the first fictional texts for children to convey the difficulties and anxieties of girlhood, and… suggests that becoming a ‘little woman’ is a learned and often fraught process, not an instinctual or natural condition of female development” (Foster & Simon, 87). Published separately in consecutive years, the first part of Little Women “did not sell at first. Part Second was therefore also issued in a small edition, but it went like wildfire, and pulled Part First along with it” (Grolier 74). The original issues of each part are therefore quite rare. Each volume is illustrated with a frontispiece and three plates; those in the first part of Little Women were created by the author’s sister, May. First issue of Little Women with all points, including Little Women priced at $1.25 in terminal advertisements; Part Second is mixed state, with notice about Part First on page [iv] and four entries on page  as in second state, and with “Handy Volume Series” followed by diamond rule and notice of intent to publish at top of page  as in fourth state. BAL 158, 159. Grolier, American 100 74. Old gift inscriptions, owner signature.
Little Women expertly recased. Little Women, Part Second with expert reinforcement to first signature. Cloth with expert restoration, gilt bright.