14 December 2000
POTTER, Beatrix (1866-1943). The Tale of Peter Rabbit. [London: Privately Printed by Strangeways and Sons, 1901].
12o (134 x 103 mm). Colored frontispiece and 41 black and white illustrations by Potter. Original light gray pictorial boards, flat back (some very slight rubbing to extremities, palest spotting on endpapers).
FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE (one of 250 copies), of the author's first book. SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR on the front free endpaper ("Beatrix Potter").
"[Potter] sent the manuscript to at least six publishers without success. Finally, in 1901, she decided to have the book privately printed, at her own expense...The first issue comprised 250 copies...The books were ready on 16 December and Miss Potter began giving them away to selected friends and relatives and selling them to others at one shilling two pence each. By this time, however, Beatrix Potter's career had already been given its first impetus, for the publisher Frederick Warne & Co. had agreed to accept the book for publication in a regular trade edition. But in February 1902, before the trade edition was ready, Miss Potter ordered another 200 copies to be printed of her private edition; this second issue had a rather better binding, with rounded back and darker printed boards. In October 1902 the Warne commerical edition was published. The first printing of 6000 copies was sold out before publication, and The Tale of Peter Rabbit has been in print ever since..." (Gottlieb). Gottlieb/Morgan Library, Early Children's Books and Their Illustration 220; Linder, p.420; Quinby 1; V & A 1622.
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