[a handsome copy] The FolkLore of the Old Plantation. With Illustrations by Frederick S. Church and James H. Moser. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1881. 8 pp undated ads. Original green cloth pictorially decorated in black and gilt.
First Edition, first printing, of Joel Chandler Harris's first and most beloved book, featuring Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear (with occasional appearances by Brer Terrapin). In addition to 34 such "Legends of the Old Plantation" (including "The Tar-Baby"), the volume includes "Plantation Proverbs" plus Uncle Remus's "Songs" and "Sayings." At the time he wrote these, Harris (who was white) was on the staff of the Atlanta Constitution -- in which newspaper the tales had first begun appearing in 1879.
Uncle Remus is both typical and strongly individual, and his tales, based on native legends, are told with a simple humor and authentic dialect that is in perfect harmony with the thing said and the way of saying it" [OCAL].
Some of Harris's tales are today rather politically incorrect, as he portrays the life of a slave as hard but rewarding.
This copy is in the first of the "three states, probably printings" [Blanck], with "presumptive" (later changed to "presumptuous") in the last line of page 9, and with no mention of this book in the ads. The cloth color is green -- one of four or five colors used. This copy has the standard original butterfly-patterned endpapers, but they deserve particular mention -- for although these endpapers appear in any of three different colors, this is the first time we have seen a copy where the front and rear colors differ from each other. Blanck says the three colors are grey-blue, grey-olive and pink; neither of these is pink, but to our eyes the front appears to be pure grey while the rear has a green tint -- perhaps this was a test copy?
The volume's condition is close to fine -- absolutely fine save for a hint of wear at the spine ends: the cloth is clean, the gilt is bright, and those endpapers are clean and intact. Copies any better than this are scarce. Blanck 7100; one of the Grolier "100 Influential American Books printed before 1900"; one of Johnson's "High Spots of American Literature." Housed in a handsome morocco-backed slipcase with inner chemise. Item #14663