A MESSAGE FROM THE SEA and THE UNCOMMERCIAL TRAVELER. Charles Dickens, "Boz"
A MESSAGE FROM THE SEA and THE UNCOMMERCIAL TRAVELER.

A MESSAGE FROM THE SEA and THE UNCOMMERCIAL TRAVELER.

Philadelphia: T.B. Peterson & Brothers, n.d. [1861]. Without original wrappers.

First American Edition of THE UNCOMMERCIAL TRAVELER. "A Message from the Sea" was the All The Year Round Extra Christmas Number at the end of 1860; the pieces that formed THE UNCOMMERCIAL TRAVELLER (so spelled in England) appeared there too, and were then published in book form in London in December 1860 (though dated 1861). In the U.S., Harper paid to have the pieces appear in Harper's Weekly, after which they conveyed the publishing rights to Peterson, who published the first American edition on 2 February 1861, advertised at 50 cents.

As bibliographer Walter Smith indicates, Peterson was and is a bibliographer's nightmare -- as no volumes were dated, and multiple printings are differentiable only by their wrappers and ads; however, a general rule of thumb is that Peterson's first format was wrappers without illustrations, followed by cloth with separately-inserted plates, and then cloth with integral illustrations.

This is a volume from Peterson's "Uniform Edition" of Dickens's works, initially bound in wrappers no longer present. This volume consists of a joint title page ([5]), a Contents page ([7]), and text continuously-paginated from p. 9 through p. 169 (THE UNCOMMERCIAL TRAVELER begins on p. 75). The ads printed on p. [170] (actually bearing the page number "(7)" at the foot) list other authors' books that were first published no later than 1860; this is the same ad page as appeared in Peterson's first American edition of GREAT EXPECTATIONS, which was published on 27 July 1861 -- and therefore this is not the very first printing of this edition. Smith lists five copies he examined -- this copy plus four in institutional collections -- and only two of them (at Kent State and at Wellesley) are in wrappers, but even those bear a price of 75 cents, and thus are not the very first printing; Smith was unable to locate a single copy in wrappers bearing the price of 50 cents. All of this means: this is a scarce book!

Except for the fact that the original wrappers are lacking, this volume is in fine condition (spine overlaid with archival paper). Smith pp 121-125 (the "personal copy" of Note 2a is this one -- which Smith has signed in pencil); see Podeschi (Yale) D25. Housed in a simple paperboard folder. Item #14395

Price: $1,250.00

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