[a handsome copy] Illustrated by M.A. & W.A.J. Claus. Boston: L.C. Page & Company, 1908. 4+4 pp undated ads. Original pale brown cloth with front cover pictorial onlay.
First Edition of one of the best-selling books for young readers of all time -- which to date has sold over fifty million copies, in twenty or so languages. It is sited on Lucy Maud Montgomery's beloved Prince Edward Island, where today Anne is everywhere. The story is by now well-known: an aging brother and sister decide to adopt a boy to help out on their farm, but instead they receive from the orphanage an eleven-year-old girl -- bright, colorful, outspoken, imaginative red-headed Anne Shirley.~As an aside, today Japanese tourists throng to P.E.I. to visit the Cavendish ("Avonlea") area, and in fact many Japanese marriages are performed there. A Canadian missionary to Japan introduced the book to Japan just before World War II, and after the war the book (AKAGE NO AN -- Red-Haired Anne) became extremely popular with young Japanese girls (many of whom had become orphans, like Anne). The girls particularly appreciated, and envied, Anne's readiness to speak out -- something Japanese girls were trained not to do.~ANNE OF GREEN GABLES was Lucy Montgomery's first book; she went on to write many more, some continuing Anne's life (beginning with ANNE OF AVONLEA in 1909). The portrait on the front cover of this book is rumored to be that of the free-spirit (and ultimately notorious) artist's model Evelyn Nesbit; it is said that Lucy Montgomery had clipped this portrait from a New York magazine and had pasted it on the wall of her bedroom, using it as the model for the face of (the older) Anne Shirley -- though perhaps this is more myth than fact?~This copy is in pale brown cloth (other colors include a light green and a chocolate brown -- no known priority among the colors). Like all standard American copies of the first printing, this one reads "First Impression, April, 1908" on the copyright page, reads "Page | Boston" at the foot of the spine, and has Page ads at the rear. As for condition, the external condition of the book is essentially FINE: there is no cover soil despite the lightness of the cloth; there is no wear other than light bumps to a couple of the fore-tips; the front cover applied illustration is not rubbed, as is often the case; and the gilt lettering, on both front cover and spine, remains remarkably bright. The only defect is that the endpaper gutters have had a little glue applied.~The front free endpaper bears a Christmas 1908 presentation inscription "To Julia from Jimmy." Loosely inserted is Page's little four-page booklet, a miniature version of this book promoting this book. Peter Parley to Penrod p. 124; Grolier Children's Hundred #58. Housed in a morocco-backed slipcase with inner chemise. Item #13944