Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1875. Original terra-cotta cloth, beveled.
First Edition of Henry James's first book, which consisted of only 1,500 copies. This is a collection of six tales that had appeared in American periodicals (mostly the Atlantic Monthly) over the preceding years. In 1873 James's father wrote him to say that he had had discussions with Osgood about publication of some of the son's tales, but Henry Jr. replied (to his mother, not his father), "I value none of my early tales enough to bring them forth again, and if I did, should absolutely need to give them an amount of verbal retouching...". He added that he wished to issue instead a volume "of tales on the theme of American adventurers in Europe, leading off with the Passionate Pilgrim." [E&L] There was no equivalent English edition, though half of these tales would appear in the 1879 two-volume London collection titled THE MADONNA OF THE FUTURE.
This copy is in the first of the four American binding states, with "J.R. Osgood & Co" at the foot of the spine. It is estimated that about 1,100 of the 1,500 copies were either bound in this primary binding, or were sent to England where their title pages received a Trübner ink-stamp. The other 400 were not bound up until 1878 or later, either in the second binding (with Houghton Osgood at the foot of the spine), or in the third binding (with Houghton Mifflin), or in the fourth (Houghton Mifflin but in the decorative binding introduced in 1881 for THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY).
This copy is in terra-cotta cloth, one of three colors used without precedence, and is in very good-plus condition, with minor wear at the spine ends but otherwise clean and unworn. Supino 1.3.0; Edel & Laurence A1a. Item #14324