Illustrated by John McLenan. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1860. 2 preliminary pp ads dated Aug 1860 plus 4 terminal pp undated ads. Original blind-stamped terra-cotta cloth, with (tarnished) silver woman on spine.
First American Edition (possibly preceding the English three-decker by a few days, though Gasson observes that it was probably Collins's intention that both come out simultaneously). First published serially in Dickens's "All The Year Round," this is Collins's famous mystery containing many elements of detective fiction (though without the involvement of an acknowledged "detective"); in any case it "is generally regarded as the first sensation novel" [Gasson]. As Gasson further points ouit, this novel was so "sensation"-al in England that there were "Woman in White" cloaks and bonnets, "Woman in White" perfumes, and even "Woman in White" waltzes and quadrilles.
This copy is bound in terra-cotta morocco-grain cloth (whereas most we have seen are in black or dark brown); the woman on the spine was once silver, but is now a tarnished dark grey (on some copies she was merely blind-stamped). The first of the two ad leaves advertises on its recto eleven titles by "Miss Mulock", and on its verso works by Thackeray: according to Gasson this is the third of the three states (we have never seen the first, which has the misspelling "Muloch").
This is a near-fine copy: there is just a bit of shelf-wear at the spine ends (less than is usually the case), but the volume is otherwise crisp and tight -- no cracking of the endpapers and no foxing, both common problems for this book. Gasson pp 158-160; Parrish & Miller pp 40-41; Sadleir 605; Wolff 1377b. Item #14577