[Vincent Starrett's copy] containing All the Melodies the Old Lady Ever Wrote. Edited by Dame Goslin. Embellished with an exact likeness of the veritable Mother Goose, and Numerous Engravings from Original Designs. New York: Leavitt & Allen, n.d. [1854?]. Original blind-stamped dark green cloth with gilt-decorated spine.
This is one of the more sought-after editions of MOTHER GOOSE (which tales are believed to have originated in the 1600s). Each page carries one or more Mother Goose verses, many of them well-known, underneath a pertinent woodcut illustration. The book is "edited by Dame Goslin," and carries a one-page Preface in which the editor claims to be a direct lineal descendant from Mother Goose -- and claims that the heretofore-unpublished illustrations, by a contemporary of Mother Goose, were found in a bureau drawer. (Not!)~The covers are blind-stamped with "Uncle George's Juveniles" -- in honor of George Ayres Leavitt (1822-1888), who in the 1840s, after graduating from Phillips Andover Academy, joined the publishing firm which his father Jonathan had created in the 1920s with his brother-in-law Daniel Appleton; after Jonathan's death in 1851, son George formed a partnership with his Andover classmate John Allen -- placing the date of this book around 1852-1855 (though the book has a copyright date of 1850).~This copy is in dark green cloth; we have also heard of similar copies in blue or red cloth (incidentally, we have heard of no copy that has "an exact likeness of the veritable Mother Goose" referred to on the title page).~Condition is bright and near-fine (a little erosion at each spine end but otherwise the volume is fine -- quite remarkable for a book intended for children, 160+ years old). Scarce in this condition. Provenance: at the top of the front free endpaper is the signature of the noted collector (and bibliophile/author) Vincent Starrett. Item #13737