The Boy Captain. Translated by Ellen E. Frewer. Illustrated. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1879. 26 pp undated ads. Original brown cloth pictorially decorated in black and gilt.
First fully-illustrated American edition.~A whale hunt in the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and the Americas ends in tragedy and Dick Sands, as the only surviving crew member, becomes captain at fifteen years of age. Not possessing the full skills of a sailor, Dick tries to get the ship east to the South American coast. However, the cook on board has plans of his own, and manages to get the ship diverted to eventually land in the country of Angola on the continent of Africa. The cook's plans involve killing Dick and selling the other passengers of the ship into slavery. [Kytasaari]~Published in France as UN CAPITAINE DE QUINZE ANS, this tale was first published in English, in November 1878, by the American pirate publisher Munro -- titled DICK SAND (with no final "S"). It was issued in simple green cloth (also in two wrappered volumes), with 20 illustrations that were somewhat crude due to Munro's eagerness to be first in the marketplace. Sampson Low's authorized London edition was published the following month (December), at the end of which month Charles Scribner's Sons also published this authorized and fully-illustrated edition (dated 1879).~DICK SANDS was published by Scribner during the absolute hey-day of ornate American trade bindings -- similar in style to their very elaborate productions of Verne's MICHAEL STROGOFF and HECTOR SERVADAC. However Scribner's DICK SANDS is scarcer than these other two -- perhaps due to the share of market lost to Munro's simple hardbound volume.~This copy is in brown cloth; we have also had terra-cotta and green (no priority). It is in near-fine condition: the spine ends have very minor wear and the endpaper gutters are reinforced with archival tape (and there is a small "Merry Christmas" sticker on the front endpaper), but the pictorial binding remains bright and sharp. This is only the third copy of the elusive Scribner DICK SANDS that we have seen in 35 years. See Taves & Michaluk V018 and Myers 15. Item #10589