[monthly issues in wrappers] Family Story-Teller; consisting of Tales, Essays, and Sketches of Character, Original and Selected. London: Chapman and Hall, n.d. . Six issues (including everything Dickens contributed) of the original fourteen, in original printed wrappers.
First Appearances of two of Dickens's very earliest stories. Dickens contributed only these two sketches (by "Boz") to this monthly literary periodical. The first issue, undated but April 1836, included his "The Tuggs's at Ramsgate"; also included are two plates by Robert Seymour illustrating this story. The third issue, two months later, included his "A Little Talk about Spring, and the Sweeps"; one of the two plates in this issue, by R.W. Buss, relates to this story. (In mid-1837 all fourteen of the monthly issues would be published as the two-volume anthology titled THE LIBRARY OF FICTION.)
These were the only two "sketches by Boz" that appeared in this periodical, but many others appeared in half a dozen other periodicals. In February 1836, Dickens's first book, the two-volume SKETCHES BY BOZ, was published by John Macrone -- containing 37 "Sketches" but not, of course, these two (as they had not yet appeared). In December 1836, the "Second Series" of SKETCHES BY BOZ was published in one volume, 21 more which included "A Little Talk about Spring, and the Sweeps" but re-titled "The First of May." With the book publication of both Series of SKETCHES BY BOZ, all of Dickens's periodical appearances had been published -- with the sole exception of "The Tuggs's at Ramsgate." SKETCHES BY BOZ was issued in monthly parts after book publication, at which time this oversight was corrected -- as "The Tuggs's at Ramsgate" was added in (Parts XV-XVI).
This is actually a group of six of the fourteen original issues -- the first four, plus the sixth and eighth ("Boz" is represented in only the first and third; other writers include G.P.R. James, Edward Mayhew and Douglas Jerrold). As an aside, the monthly issues of THE LIBRARY OF FICTION started up the same month as the serialization of Dickens's next book, PICKWICK PAPERS -- so the rear covers of these LIBRARY issues advertise that book, with its two initial illustrators Seymour and Buss (Seymour would soon be dead and Buss would soon be fired -- opening the door for Hablot K. Browne a.k.a. "Phiz").
Speaking of "Phiz," accompanying a Mayhew tale in the sixth monthly issue is his depiction of "that notorious and daring burglar, by name John Smith": Phiz's depiction of Smith, dressed in a striped waistcoat, has been identified as the visual prototype of the character about to join the cast of PICKWICK PAPERS -- Tony Weller -- who overnight would turn that serial from a dismal failure into a huge success (see Kitton, Dickens and His Illustrators, p. 62).
Condition is very good to near-fine (minor edge-wear, spines slightly rolled, but the wrappers are clean and whole, and the plates -- two per issue -- are sharp and bright). Although the two-volume THE LIBRARY OF FICTION is not overly scarce, especially rebound, these individual wrappered issues are not just scarce but rare. Podeschi E121; see Smith I p. 15; Eckel pp 137-139 (who noted in 1932 "the excessive scarcity of a complete run of the original fourteen parts is well known"). This is the Sherwood / Davies / Drizen copy, housed in a handsome morocco-backed clamshell case with inner chemise, by The Chelsea Bindery. Item #14416