"VERY EARLY CHRISTMAS MORNING… A LITTLE CHILD WAS BORN IN THE BIRD HOUSEHOLD": TRUE FIRST EDITION OF KATE DOUGLAS WIGGIN'S HOLIDAY CLASSIC, THE BIRDS' CHRISTMAS CAROL, 1887
WIGGIN, Kate Douglas. The Birds' Christmas Carol. San Francisco: C.A. Murdock, 1887. Small quarto (6 by 6-1/4 inches), original tan printed paper wrappers. Housed in a custom chemise. $1200.
First edition, the privately published true first edition of Wiggin's beloved holiday tale, in fragile original wrappers.
The Birds' Christmas Carol, one of Wiggin's earliest children's books, was written and privately published to raise money for childrens' education. Her holiday tale of "Carol Bird, an invalid girl so named because she was born at Christmas," soon became one of her most beloved works (Carpenter & Prichard, 570). Like her Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1903), it is "still read by children… In addition, the kindergarten movement that Wiggin sponsored became one of the foundations of education in our society" (ANB). In her lifetime, Wiggin's endearing childrens' books earned "her the name of the 'The Lady of the Twinkle and the Tear'" (New York Times). First edition: "Deposited Dec. 31, 1886" (BAL 22580). In 1888 a trade edition was reportedly issued where "fewer than ten copies of the first printing are thought to have survived" (Martin Sale). The "first formally published edition" was issued in 1889 (BAL 22587). See Cotsen II:11978. Early owner inscription: "Anna Warner. Pagoda Hill Kindergarten, Oakland." Bookplate to custom chemise.
Text very fresh and crisp, lightly soiled wrappers with tiny bit of dampstaining, early reinforcement with slight loss to spine. A desirable extremely good copy.