"SOMEWHERE IN THIS FAVOURED LAND THE SUN IS SHINING BRIGHT": FIRST HARDBOUND EDITION OF CASEY AT THE BAT, 1912, AND THE FIRST TO BE ILLUSTRATED—"THE BEST BASEBALL POEM EVER WRITTEN”
THAYER, Ernest. Casey at the Bat. Illustrations by Dan Sayre Groesbeck. Chicago: A.C. McClurg, 1912. Small octavo (5-1/2 by 7 inches), original pictorial green paper boards. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $3500.
First separate edition in boards, and the first edition to be illustrated, of Thayer's baseball classic, "a metaphor for all of baseball," wonderfully illustrated with 13 full-page color illustrations, an exceptional copy in bright original cloth.
"Both Spink's National Game and Spalding's America's National Game… cite Casey at the Bat as the best baseball poem ever written. Spalding goes so far as to proclaim that 'Love has its sonnets galore; War its epics in heroic verse; Tragedy its sombre story in measured line; and Base Ball has Casey at the Bat'" (Encyclopedia Britannica). Thayer's "Casey at the Bat may not be great poetry, but it is a great poem, and for over a 100 years it has held our imaginations and hearts… a metaphor for all of baseball, the entire drama and pathos and history of the game neatly wrapped up in 13 stanzas" (Joslin Hall Rare Books News). This iconic American poem first appeared in an 1888 issue of the San Francisco Examiner, and was popularized by the stage performances of actor DeWolfe Hopper. In 1901 it was published separately in pamphlet form, and a year later in the anthology A Treasury of Humorous Poetry. This present edition is the first separate hardbound edition and the first to be fully illustrated. With 13 full-page line cuts, printed in orange and black, one opposite each stanza, along with an additional illustration in the corner of each page of text. Illustrator Groesbeck gained fame later as a story-board sketch artist for Cecil B. DeMille. Grobani 14-3D. Contemporary owner signature dated 1914.
Interior fresh and bright, mere trace of edge-wear to colorful unrestored original cloth. A beautiful about-fine copy.