[an association copy] Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1897. Original olive green cloth decorated in gilt.
First American Edition, consisting of 1,500 copies, issued about a week after Heinemann's London edition. This is James's short novel in which one spineless man and the contents ("spoils") of his estate are pulled in opposite directions by two conniving women: Owen Gereth's mother does not approve of his choice of a fiancée, and so moves out of the family manor along with its most prized contents -- causing his fiancée to reevaluate whether to marry him or not...
This copy is in olive green cloth (others are in brown -- no priority); it is in close-to-fine condition (very lightly rubbed at some corners). Supino 48.7.0; Edel & Laurence A48b. Housed in a morocco-backed slipcase with inner chemise.
Provenance: the front paste-down bears the armorial bookplate of "Mr. Pierre de Chaignon la Rose" (1871-1940: allegedly his parents had altered his name from Peter Ross, "to better represent their French heritage" [Radjabova]). He graduated from Harvard in 1895, and never really left -- teaching there, then becoming "a man of letters," and ultimately dying there. He attracted acclaim as a heraldic artist (perhaps he created the design on this bookplate?); he designed the armorial bearings for Harvard's graduate schools, for Notre Dame University, and for numerous Catholic dioceses and bishops. La Rose and Henry James were acquainted -- a 1943 centenary HJ exhibition included a letter from James to la Rose [see E&L C86]; furthermore, it was la Rose who provided the Preface for James's posthumous collection NOTES AND REVIEWS [see E&L A87] -- though that may well have had more to do with la Rose's connections with the Cambridge Mass. publisher than with HJ.
But here is an interesting additional connection: the front flyleaf is inscribed in ink, " For Pierre la Rose | With the compliments not of the Publisher but of one of their slaves. | February 1897 [the month of publication]." Who this was we do not know -- perhaps one of la Rose's Harvard classmates, newly employed at Houghton Mifflin just 20 months after graduation? It is interesting, in any event, that someone chose to connect la Rose and Henry James, a full 24 years before the former would write a Preface for the latter's works. Item #14364