Mark Twain's First Book in the Original Cloth, with an Inscribed Card by Mark TwainMark Twain. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches. Edited by John Paul [pseudonym of Charles Henry Webb]. New York: C. H. Webb, Publisher, 1867.
First edition of author's first published book, first issue, with the following points: single leaf of advertising on cream-yellow paper inserted between the preliminary flyleaf and the title; p. 21, the "1" in the page number is unbroken; p. 66, last line, the "e" in "life" is unbroken; p. 198, last line, the "i" in "this" is unbroken). Mounted on the front pastedown is a card inscribed in ink by Mark Twain: "Yours truly / S L Clemens / Mark Twain." Twelvemo. 198 pages. Decorative woodcut initials.
Publisher's green sand-grain cloth over bevelled boards. Front cover lettered in gilt with gilt jumping frog in a diagonal position in the lower left corner, rear cover stamped in blind with jumping frog in same position, spine ruled and lettered in gilt with gilt publisher's device at foot. Brown coated endpapers. Small piece missing from cloth on rear joint, upper front joint and lower rear joint strengthened, with some recoloring, a few small chips to spine extremities, board edges and corners lightly rubbed, a few small stains to covers, spine very slightly darkened, hinges repaired. Bookplate removed from front pastedown. Pencil annotations erased from verso of front free endpaper.
Slightly shaken, a few gatherings almost sprung. Some light foxing and faint dampstaining, primarily to the lower margin. Short tear to upper blank margin of contents leaf (pages -), short tear to outer blank margin of pages 139/140 and pages 151/152. Tiny portion of lower corner of pages 27/28 torn away. A few corners creased. A few scattered pencil markings. Still, a respectable copy in very good condition. Housed in a half dark green morocco over marbled board clamshell case with spine ruled and lettered in gilt with four raised bands.
"Perhaps no short sketch of Twain's so quickly won wide popularity as did 'The Jumping Frog.' Calaveras County, California, is known to thousands who have never seen the Golden State simply because of this gem of humor. This little volume, the author's first published book, came into being under the sponsorship of Charles Henry Webb-who also edited it under his pseudonym of 'John Paul.' To accompany 'The Jumping Frog' he chose twenty-six other sketches, of which at least two, 'Curing a Cold' and 'The Story of the Bad Little Boy Who Didn't Come to Grief,' later attained the distinction of being incorporated into recitation books for the delectation of even wider audiences" (Zamorano Eighty).
BAL 3310. Cowan II, p. 130. Johnson, Twain, pp. 3-9. Streeter 2910. Wheat, Gold Rush, 43. Zamorano Eighty 17.
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