MILNE, Alan Alexander (1882-1956). When We Were very Young. London: Methuen & Co., 1924. -- Winnie-the-Pooh. London: Methuen & Co., 1926. -- Now We are Six. London: Methuen & Co., 1927. -- The House at Pooh Corner. London: Methuen & Co., 1928.
Together 4 volumes, 8o. Illustrated by Ernest Shephard. Original gilt-decorated cloth, top edges gilt; pictorial dust jackets. Provenance: Anne Scott-Russell (presentation inscriptions).
FIRST EDITIONS OF THE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN BOOKS. EACH A PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED AND SIGNED BY MILNE AND THE ILLUSTRATOR SHEPARD TO ANNE SCOTT-RUSSELL. Anne Scott-Russell was the wife of a small, provincial English publisher. When We Were Very Young bears A DRAWING BY SHEPHARD of Christopher Robin saluting. Loosely inserted in the last volume is a small carte-de-visite portrait photograph of Milne as a very young man, signed "Alan A. Milne."
Milne began the poems in When We Were Very Young for his son Christopher Robin. They had originally appeared in Punch magazine and, to the shock of Milne and Methuen, the book sold out on publication day. It was an unqualified success, quoted, recited, and parodied everywhere. Milne's based the stories of his second major book Winnie-the-Pooh on a set of stuffed animals Christopher Robin (called "Billy Moon" in the family) owned. Methuen published Milne's third children's book just two months after Winnie-the-Pooh. The House at Pooh Corner would be the last of the Pooh books. Milne wanted both to stop while the books were selling well--"I have had my thrill out of children's books, and know that I shall never recapture it"--and to protect his growing son: "I feel that the legal Christopher Robin has already had more publicity than I want for him. Moreover, since he is growing up, he will soon feel that he has had more publicity than he wants for himself. We all, young and old, hope to make some sort of name, but we want to make it in our own chosen way, and, if possible, by our own exertions" (Thwaite pages 338-39). (4)