FIRST EDITION OF ISABEL MILLER'S A PLACE FOR US, 1969, LATER PUBLISHED AS PATIENCE AND SARAH, INSCRIBED BY MILLER
MILLER, Isabel, pseudonym of ROUTSONG, Alma. A Place for Us. New York: Bleecker Street, (1969). Octavo, original pictorial yellow paper wrappers. $2400.
First edition of this award-winning work about a lesbian painter and her companion, later published as Patience and Sarah, inscribed across the title page: "To Rosemary. Isabel Miller. April 2, 1970."
Isabel Miller (pseudonym of Alma Routsong, who chose it because it was an acronym for "lesbia" combined with her mother's maiden name) self-published this work in an edition of 1000 copies. Initially, Miller sold the world independently at meetings of the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis. The book soon became a GLBT classic after its later publication in by McGraw-Hill in 1971 as Patience and Sarah. "Suggested by the lives of an early 19th-century painter (Mary Ann Willson) and her 'companion' (Miss Brundidge), this begins as a New England sampler stitched in a plumb plain fashion but before very long the air is thickened with sapphic sentimentality. In alternating insets, Patience White, spinster-sister in constant attendance on her brother and his ever increasing family, and Sarah Dowling, whose father thought of her as a 'pretty fair boy' and forced her to run away, tell the story of their love for each other, their decision to go to Greene County, New York, have their own home and their own land, and the achievement thereof. This takes place at a time when it was not only a man's world but also unthinkable to survive without a man" (Kirkus). Sarah Waters, the acclaimed lesbian author, credited this work with influencing her own. Winner of the first Stonewall Book Award. The wrappers were illustrated by Routsong and her longtime partner, Elizabeth Deran. A single passage on page 133, underlined in my unknown hand by a pen similar to that used in the inscription, reads: "It may be that there's no place on earth for women who refuse to bend their necks to be the wards of males—neatly transferred from father to brother to husband to son to grave."
Faintest soiling to title page, slight rubbing, mild speckling, and toning to extremities of wrappers. A near-fine copy. Quite scarce.