"CARROLL, Lewis" [i.e. Charles Lutwidge DODGSON (1832-98)]. The Wonderland Postage-Stamp Case. 'Invented by Lewis Carroll', 'Price One Shilling'. [Oxford: Emberlin and Son], 1889. Small 4° (99 x 78mm). Folding card with pockets for 12 postage stamps (½d to 1s.), linen-backed card slipcase, both with complementary illustrations by Sir John Tenniel on upper and lower covers. INSCRIBED BY CARROLL in purple ink across the lower border of the interior, "Miss [Elizabeth] Wordsworth, from the Inventor, May, 1891". FIRST EDITION.
A CHARMING ITEM OF CARROLLIANA, inscribed by the author to the Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. With typical precision, Carroll's diaries record that the Wonderland Stamp Case was invented on 29th October 1888. Carroll produced an accompanying pamphlet, Eight or Nine Wise Words (Williams/Madan/Green, 223; Williams & Madan, 193), which was offered for sale with the Case in a pink envelope (W&M, 195). Our copy is the 'rare' (Williams/Madan/Green) preliminary issue, sold separately, in which the paste-down above the illustration on the lower cover of the outer case is blank, and the price is given simply as 'Price One Shilling' on the lower paste-down. Those copies sold in conjunction with the pamphlet (the 'second edition'; W/M/G, 223.1) include the name and address of the publisher on the upper paste-down, and the additional wording '(post-free, 13d.)' after the price on the lower paste-down. The cover illustrations for both editions provide a typically Carrollian surprise, Alice holding the Duchess's baby on the upper cover of the outer case becoming Alice holding the pig on that of the insert, and the substantial Cheshire Cat fading to a lingering smile on the lower ones. Williams/Madan/Green, 223.0 (Williams & Madan, 194).
Elizabeth Wordsworth (1840-1932) was a novelist, minor poet and pioneer of women's education, serving as Founding Principal of St Margaret's Hall, Oxford -- named, at her suggestion, after Henry VIII's mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort -- from 1879 to 1909, and founding St Hugh's Hall for poorer women students in 1886. As well as Carroll, she numbered novelist Charlotte Mary Yonge among her friends. Her many honours included a DBE in 1928, and two honorary degrees from Oxford, acknowledging that, at her death in 1932, she was "the most influential pioneer of women's university education that Oxford had known" (DNB).