AN EXCEPTIONAL COPY OF HAWTHORNE’S FIRST CELEBRATED CHILDREN’S BOOK, A WONDER-BOOK FOR GIRLS AND BOYS
HAWTHORNE, Nathaniel. A Wonder-Book For Girls and Boys… With Engravings by Baker from Designs by Billings. Boston: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, 1852. Octavo, original blue cloth, blind-stamped border designs on the covers, lettered in gilt, pale yellow wove endpapers. Housed in custom half morocco slipcase. $6000.
First edition, first printing, of Hawthorne’s first book for children, with frontispiece and six engraved plates. An exceptionally clean and bright copy.
Although Hawthorne had written a number of histories, biographies and morals for children prior to the publication of The Scarlet Letter in 1850, these early stories were primarily undertaken as hack-work and published in periodicals. Following the success of The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne attempted to capitalize on his fame with two intended money-makers, A Wonder-Book and Tanglewood Tales, in 1853. Both were very popular and have since been celebrated for their retelling of myths for children. Includes six tales: “The Gorgon’s Head,” “The Paradise of Children,” “The Three Golden Apples,” “The Miraculous Pitcher,” and “The Chimaera,” as well as Hawthorne’s version of the King Midas tale, “The Golden Touch.” The popular success of A Wonder-Book led Hawthorne to publish another volume of children’s stories in 1853, Tanglewood Tales. First printing or issue with “lifed” for “lifted” on page 21, line 3. Clark A.18.1.a. BAL 7606. Owner signature.
An exceptionally clean copy with bright gilt lettering. Scarce in this condition.