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    Beatrix Potter. American Piracy of her First Children's Book "A Happy Pair" (originally issued by Hildesheimer & Faulkner, London, circa 1890). Piracy imprinted along gutter of the last page of text: "The Sunshine Publishing Company, Phila[delphia]. Copyright. All Rights Reserved" (undated but circa early 1890s). Oblong sixteenmo (3.25 x 4.25 inches; 83 x 107 mm - the original A Happy Pair measures 120 x 101 mm). [8] pages with advertisements to front and rear 'pastedowns', one on rear wrapper, and "Please accept from Estey & Camp" on front wrapper. Estey & Camp was a firm in St. Louis, MO who sold pianos and organs. The advertisement on the front 'pastedown' reads, "The Children are made happy by perusing this little book. The Parents are made happy by calling upon Estey & Camp." With five full-page color illustrations after designs by Beatrix Potter (including the front cover image) and eight small comic vignettes by another artist. Printed brown pictorial wrappers attached with two staples; front wrapper somewhat unevenly toned, a bit soiled. Internally clean and bright; minor offsetting to some pages, some scattered, minor foxing. A near fine, attractive copy.

    We are aware of only ten copies of this piracy; remarkably, each one advertises a different company.

    This piracy, as well as the other three examples in this auction, constitute the first Beatrix Potter books printed in America. However, Beatrix Potter's name is nowhere indicated in this volume - nor in any of the other three in this auction. In the original A Happy Pair she is identified by her initials ("H.B.P.").

    The piracy contains (rather poor) copies of five of the six Beatrix Potter illustrations in A Happy Pair (one of which is now printed only on the cover, while in the original that image appears both inside the book and repeated on the cover). The illustrations now also include captions not present in the earlier publication. The elegant design showing two bunnies passing in the street is the one picture not reproduced in our piracy.

    The text of the original A Happy Pair comprises six verses composed by Frederic Weatherly (best-known for the lyrics of the popular ballad "Danny Boy"). The present volume includes two of these, "Bunny the Postman" and "Benjamin Bunny," as well as a new poem, "Waiting for the Train," which is clearly influenced by Weatherly's verses.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2020
    16th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 385

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