Translated from the French by Louis Mercier... and Eleanor E. King. With Twenty-Four Full-Page Illustrations. New York: Scribner, Armstrong & Co., 1874. 4 pp undated ads. Original blue moiré cloth decorated in gilt.
Early American "retaliatory" edition of the first half of FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON -- a scarce book with a curious history. After initial publication in French in two volumes (DE LA TERRE A LA LUNE and AUTOUR DE LA LUNE), this tale of space travel first appeared in English in October 1873 -- Sampson Low's single-volume London edition FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON DIRECT. A month later Scribner Armstrong published an "authorized" one-volume American edition (same translation), FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON AND A TRIP AROUND IT. Then in June 1874, Edward Roth copyrighted his "free translation" of the work -- more a loose adaptation -- and it was published by King & Baird as THE BALTIMORE GUN CLUB (today a very scarce book; the title comes from the fact that the rocket ship was hurled into space by the Baltimore Gun Club, using a gigantic cannon). Scribner Armstrong then countered with the present volume, comprising the first part of the entire tale, with its intentionally-similar title, providing double the illustrations at a third the price in order to stifle sales of the King & Baird edition. Scribner Armstrong was successful enough that they never published a second volume to complete the tale.
This copy is in blue moiré cloth (we have also seen green, terra-cotta and orange plain cloth, without priority); on the title page is a presentation inscription dated June 15, 1874 -- the same month THE BALTIMORE GUN CLUB was published -- showing just how quickly Scribner Armstrong was able to respond. Condition is good-to-very good (spine ends reinforced, endpapers cracked, a few small chips in the edge of some leaves). See Taves & Michaluk V003/V007. Item #10526