An L. Frank Baum Rarity: First Edition of Father Goose

    L. Frank Baum. Father Goose. His Book. Pictures by Wm. W. Denslow. Chicago: Geo. M. Hill Co., [1899]. First edition. Large quarto. Unpaginated.

    Original pictorial boards printed in yellow, orange, black, and white. Boards rubbed, browned and with some spotting. Very good. A nice copy of one of the rarest Baum titles, especially scarce in collectible condition.

    The first edition of Father Goose was published on September 25, 1899. To the astonishment of Hill and the delight of Baum and Denslow, it was so quickly sold out that a second edition of ten thousand copies was printed on October 16. By Christmas, 75,700 copies had been run off to meet the demand.

    On a single day, December 18, 1899, there were sold 3,934 copies. Nor did interest in the book die with the holiday season. During 1900 this best seller required the printing of an additional thirty thousand copies, and the Tribune reported in June, 1900, that "Father Goose, His Book last year achieved the record of having the largest sales of any juvenile in America."

    Father Goose with his old-fashioned skirted coat and twinkling eyes, like a comic Ben Franklin, was popular alike with the public and the book reviewers. "Father Goose is the new philosopher of the cradle and the fireplace," wrote the Times Herald. "As he comes in fancy masquerade, with clever yarns, bright ditties and assurances that the will take off from Mother's shoulders a good deal of work, give him double welcome."

    Father Goose set the pattern in some ways for the format of the Oz books that were to come.

    The "first significant American color-plate children's book." Schiller 21.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    3rd-4th Tuesday-Wednesday
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