[Twain's first book] And other Sketches. Edited by John Paul. New-York: C.H. Webb, 1867. Original brown cloth, beveled, with gilt frog in lower left corner of front cover (and in blind on rear cover).
First Edition, second printing, of Mark Twain's first book -- a collection of anecdotes and sketches that features the title story, a highly-anthologized milestone in American humor. The "editor," "John Paul," was actually the publisher Charles Henry Webb.
Around this title still clings the romance of the great author and world-figure that was to be; the actual jump of the frog was to be measured in inches -- the leap of its historian was to be measured not merely on physical earth, but in spirit, fame and whatever we credit as the essence of human achievement [Johnson].
The first printing (1000 copies) is identifiable primarily by the presence of a preliminary ad leaf, here absent; there are also several instances where type is unbroken in the first issue but is broken in the second (this second printing of 552 more copies came just twenty days after the first). Copies were issued in seven different colors, without known precedence -- blue, brown, green, lavender, plum, red, and terra-cotta; also, on some copies the gilt frog is in the center, rather than the lower left corner, of the front cover ("The frog has a peculiar habit of jumping in various positions but it invariably faces the fore-edge" - Johnson).
This copy, in brown cloth, is bright and near-fine, with only light wear at the binding extremities; atypically, the original chocolate-brown endpapers remain firm and uncracked. Copies in this condition but with the ad leaf now demand a five-figure price. Blanck 3310; McBride p. 2; Johnson pp 3-9; Zamarano 80 #17;. Item #14391