SAINT-EXUPÉRY, Antoine de (1900-1944). The Little Prince. Translated from the French by Katherine Woods. New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1943.
Small 4o. Color illustrations by the author. Original terra-cotta cloth, dust-jacket (dust-jacket chipped and with one short tear, early typed transcript tipped to rear pastedown). Provenance: Dorothy Barclay -- The present owner, by gift.
FIRST AMERICAN EDITION. A UNIQUE PRESENTATION COPY WITH DOUBLE INSCRIPTION AND AN ORIGINAL DRAWING. On the half-title, in ink and watercolor, the author has added a half-page drawing depicting the Little Prince, his scarf flying in the wind, standing in a barren landscape labeled "Terre," the sky with stars and moon above. In a speech bubble, the Prince remarks "Il faut être absolument fou pour avoir choisi cette planète-là! Elle n'est sympathique que la nuit, quand les habitants dorment..." [Translation:] "You'd have to be completely crazy to have chosen this planet. It is only pleasant at night when the inhabitants are asleep..." Beneath, Sainte-Exupéry has added another lengthy inscription: "Le Petit Prince avait tort. Il y a sur la terre des habitants dont la droiture, la générosité de coeur consolent de l'avarice et de l'egoïsme des autres. Par example Dorothy Barclay... Avec mon plus amical souvenir Antoine de Saint-Exupéry" [Translation:] "The Little Prince was wrong. There are on earth some inhabitants whose straightforwardness, sweetness, and generosity of heart make up for the avarice and egotism of the others. For example, Dorothy Barclay...With fondest remembrance Antoine de Saint-Exupéry).
"AND WHAT DO YOU DO WITH FIVE-HUNDRED MILLIONS OF STARS?" In Chapter 13 of the book, Saint-Exupéry's madly aquisitive businessman has counted as many as five-hundred million stars before he is interrupted by the Little Prince. How many stars can be seen from the Earth? The question was posed by Saint-Exupéry to a friend: The New York Times reporter Helen Lazeroff, who passed it on to a young assistant, Dorothy Barclay. She in turn telephoned the Hayden Planetarium. In gratitude for her efforts, Saint-Exupéry gave her this very personal gift: one of the very few copies of The Little Prince with a presentation inscription, and the only copy to carry an original drawing of the Little Prince. INSCRIBED COPIES ARE VERY RARE. The English edition of Saint-Exupéry's classic was published in April 1943, just as the author was preparing to leave New York to serve as a pilot in the Free French Air Force, based in North Africa and later, Corsica. Tragically, he never returned from a reconnaissance mission over the Mediterranean, on July 31, 1944.
Exhibition: "The Little Prince. A New York Story." The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, January 24 - April 27, 2014.