FLOWER FABLES. Louisa May Alcott.


[first book, written at age 16] Boston: George W. Briggs & Co., 1855. Original blind-stamped medium-brown cloth with front cover pictorial vignette in gilt.

First Edition of Louisa May Alcott's first book, actually published at the end of 1854. Illustrated with a total of six plates (including frontispiece), this is a collection of eight fairy tales plus seven poems that she had written six years earlier (at the age of 16), to tell to her neighbor Ellen Emerson -- dedicatee of this book, and daughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson. 1600 copies were printed, and it sold quite well; the author received a lump sum of $32.00 for it -- considerably less than she was then earning (at age 22) as a schoolteacher or as a seamstress. Her next book (HOSPITAL SKETCHES) would not be published until 1863, during the Civil War when Alcott was a nurse at the Union Hospital in Georgetown DC; LITTLE WOMEN did not come along until 1868-1869.

In the copy of FLOWER FABLES that the author presented to her mother, she wrote that she hoped

... you will accept it with all its faults and look upon it merely as an earnest of what I may yet do; for with so much to cheer me on, I hope to pass in time from fairies and fables to men and realties [quoted in Worthington].

This copy is in medium-brown cloth, one of at least four colors used without priority. It is in very good-plus condition (some wear at the foot of the spine). We seldom see her first book in any better condition. Blanck 142. Provenance: early signature of "Edwin Snow | Yarmouth Port, Mass.", as well as some endpaper writing dated July 1865 by his [daughters?] Mabel, Amelia and Isabel. Item #14461

Price: $1,950.00