[still in the original muslin] A Tale. By the Author of "The Last of the Mohicans," "The Pathfinder," "The Pioneers" and "The Prairie." In Two Volumes. Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 1841. Original purple muslin with paper spine labels.
First Edition, published eleven days before Bentley's English edition. THE DEERSLAYER was the last of the five "Leather-Stocking Tales" to be written and published, but it is the first in the chronology of Natty Bumppo's life. Taking place during the French and Indian Wars of the late 17th Century, the tale shows him as a young man ("called "Deerslayer" by the Delawares) undergoing his initiation as a wilderness hunter among the unfriendly Iroquois, in what is now northern New York State.
As with the copyright deposit copy cited by Blanck, both volumes' copyright pages bear the imprints of the stereotyper J. Fagan and of the printer I. Ashmead.
This set, still in the original purple muslin with printed spine labels, is remarkably in very good-plus, perhaps near-fine condition. There is light wear at the spine ends, the purple spines have (as always) aged to tan, and there is some erosion of the spine labels (mainly just at the bottom of Vol I's). The volumes are tight, the endpapers are original and uncracked, and there is very little foxing compared to what is typically encountered; most importantly, neither volume has in any way been restored or "improved." These fragile Cooper volumes, now about 180 years old, seldom survive in their original state in better condition. Spiller & Blackburn 32; Blanck 3895; Virginia 19a. Provenance: tipped onto each front paste-down is the bookplate of the noted bookseller and auctioneer Arthur Swann (1875-1959); the Vol I free endpaper also bears a 1981 signature. Item #14250