Illustrated by F.O.C. Darley and Thomas Nast. New York: James O'Kane, 1866. 2 pp undated ads. Original green cloth, beveled.
First Edition of this children's classic. Hans and his sister Gretel want to win the annual ice-skating race on the canals of Holland, but cannot afford proper skates -- and must also find the money for an operation for their father, who is an invalid... Also, as a tale-within-a-tale, this book includes the story of the little boy who puts his finger in a hole in a leaking dike and keeps it there all through the cold night, until adults arrive in the morning to make the necessary repairs.
Mary Elizabeth Mapes Dodge became a widow at the age of 27 when her husband died in 1858, and turned to the field of literature to support herself and their two young sons.
Mrs. Dodge was recognized for many years as the foremost American writer of juvenile stories of her time. Her greatest success was with her story of Dutch children, HANS BRINKER, published in 1865 [but dated 1866], the same year as ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Though she had never visited Holland, she put so much research into this book that it was accepted as authentic by the Dutch themselves. Like all her books, it is distinguished by keen humor, originality, and a quality which is not so much sympathy with the child mind as identification with it... HANS BRINKER has become a standard children's classic, almost to the same degree as has Louisa May Alcott's LITTLE WOMEN (which it preceded by two years). [K&H]
This copy has one leaf of ads (some copies have two), and is in green cloth (one of five colors); neither "point" has any known priority.
There are four plates -- a frontispiece by F.O.C. Darley and three others by Thomas Nast -- who would later achieve fame as a political caricaturist, especially acerbic against the political machine of Boss Tweed. As in all copies we have seen, Nast's three plates are not at the pages indicated on the Contents leaf, but instead the binder appears to have distributed them evenly throughout the volume (and in this case, he inserted an extra copy of one of Nast's plates).
The volume is in near-fine condition (the slightest of wear at the extremities, a few small marks, but overall, very little wear or soil). Blanck 4753; Peter Parley to Penrod p. 25. Housed in a cloth clamshell case with leather labels.
Provenance: bookplate of Henry H[untly]. Haight (1825-1878) -- who was raised in upstate New York and graduated from Yale, but went to California after the discovery of gold there. In 1859 he chaired the California Republican Party and helped Lincoln get elected the following year, but then became a Democrat after the Emancipation Proclamation, and campaigned against Lincoln in 1864. He went on to become California's tenth governor, 1867-1871. Item #14714