"ALL CHILDREN, EXCEPT ONE, GROW UP": FIRST AMERICAN EDITION OF J.M. BARRIE'S PETER AND WENDY, THE FIRST APPEARANCE IN BOOK FORM OF THE BELOVED STORY
BARRIE, J. M. Peter and Wendy. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, (1911). Octavo, original pictorial gilt-stamped green cloth. $2200.
First American edition of Barrie's classic children's novel and the first appearance in book form of Peter Pan's story as best known and beloved, in original pictorial cloth-gilt.
Although he first appeared, in a very different form, in some chapters of Barrie's book The Little White Bird (1902)—chapters re-issued in 1906 with Arthur Rackham illustrations as Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens—Peter Pan did not emerge as the character cherished by so many today until Barrie's 1904 play, Peter Pan. Peter and Wendy is the first appearance of the play's story in book form. It also "contains much that is not in the play, including an opening chapter which relates how Wendy and her brothers knew of Peter Pan and the 'Neverland' before Peter ever came to their nursery; the last chapter, 'When Wendy Grew Up,' described how Wendy's daughter Jane takes Wendy's place in the Never Never Land in later years" (Carpenter & Prichard, 403). The book helped secure Peter's hold on the imaginations of children and children at heart. "With the publication of his masterpiece… Barrie introduced the children of England to the strangest adventure they would ever experience—a world of fairies, mermaids, a one-armed pirate and a flying boy who refused to grow up" (Silvey, 46). With illustrated title page and 12 other charming black-and-white plates by F.D. Bedford. Preceded by the British first edition of the same year. Without scarce dust jacket. This copy bears the owner signature and bookplate of Elberta Larkin Esty, daughter of Harold Esty, the prominent Buffalo businessman who backed Broadway shows including "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "The Rose Tattoo." Elberta Larkin Esty was named after her uncle, Elbert Hubbard, founder of the Roycroft arts and crafts community.