DODGSON, Charles Lutwidge ("Lewis Carroll"). The Hunting of the Snark, an Agony, in Eight Fits. London: Macmillan, 1876.
8o (182 x 122 mm). 9 illustrations by Henry Holiday; mounted albumen carte-de-visite print by Arthur Debenham of Gertrude Chataway (the dedicatee) on title-page verso (small tear on lower corner). Original red pictorial gilt cloth, spine gilt-lettered, g.e. (some light wear to extremities, some soiling and spotting on title and preliminaries, faint adhesive stain on title from mounted photograph on verso); full morocco pull-off case with morocco inlaid devices on sides, and gilt "ocean chart" border on one side, by Sangorski & Sutcliffe for E.P. Dutton and Co. (stamp-signed).
FIRST EDITION. DODGSON'S OWN COPY, INSCRIBED AND SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR ON THE DAY OF PUBLICATION on the half-title: "C L Dodgson received Mar. 29. 1876." Subsequently A PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED TO AN OXFORD FRIEND OF HIS YOUTH G.G. WOODHOUSE AND HIS WIFE around his original inscription: "G.G. Woodhouse and Mrs. Woodhouse, with the sincere regards of the Author ... Ap. 29/77" [the earlier "received" date put in square brackets]. Dodgson ordered from the Macmillan bindery on 21 March 1876 one hundred copies of The Hunting of the Snark to be specially bound in "red and gold," and then went down to London eight days later to inscribe 80 copies as gifts. He presumably took this copy for himself at that time, and signed and dated it as the earliest inscription above.
The recipient, George Girdlestone Woodhouse (1831-1897), was a close friend and colleague of Dodgson's at Oxford. From the Spring of 1852, he and Dodgson shared rooms for five terms at the Cloister staircase, Christ Church. "Charles addressed his one-hundred-line mock epic 'The Ligniad' to Woodhouse, perhaps in gratitude: he was the 'very first who spoke to me--across the dinner table in Hall' in Charles's earliest college days" (Cohen, p. 43). Dodgson's diary entry for April 29, 1877 mentions that Woodhouse and his wife came to visit in the afternoon for about an hour "to see photographs." Presumably Dodgson wanted to give his friend a keepsake, but not having any spares he inscribed his own copy of Snark. Until now, Dodgson's own earliest copy known (found in the auction sale of his library) was dated "Mar. 30. 1876" (the day after publication), even though he inscribed at least 80 copies as gifts the day before. This present copy stands as the witness that Dodgson did receive a copy on the 29th, but gave it away the following year to his college friend.
Only special copies of The Hunting of the Snark contain the tipped-in photograph of the young dedicatee, Gertrude Chataway, a neighbor of Dodgson's at Eastbourne, where Dodgson spent many of his summers. He had admired the portrait of Gertrude with a pail and shovel in beach attire, taken by a local photographer, Arthur Debenham, and asked Mrs. Chataway for permission to buy several prints to tip into special copies of the book. In a letter to Gertrude's mother (7 February 1876) Dodgson writes: "It has occurred to me that those 10 unmounted cartes of Gertie, which with your permission I got from Debenham, to mount in my own copy of the Snark, and in some I intend to give away, may lead to people applying to Debenham for copies, as soon as they have found out the connection between the carte and the book, i.e. unless I refuse to give the name of the photographer, and even then they might find it out..." He discusses his concern over the harm the publicity might do Gertrude, and states he "would sooner omit the Dedication than run the smallest risk of that..." The dedicatory poem is a double acrostic, spelling her name with the first letter of each line: "Girt... Eager... Rest... The...", as well as by the first word in each of the four verses. Morgan/Houghton, p. 90 ("The copy Carroll gave to her parents contains the photograph"); Williams-Madan-Green-Crutch 115.