The First 'Obtainable' Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
CARROLL, Lewis. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. With Forty-Two Illustrations by John Tenniel. New York: D. Appleton, 1866.
First American edition, first issue, from the sheets of the true first English (suppressed) edition of 1865 and preceding the 1866 (second) English edition; to wit: the second issue of the first edition-first printing, and the first obtainable edition. Small quarto (7 9/16 x 5 in; 192 x 125 mm). x, 192 pp.
Original red cloth with gilt vignettes to upper and lower boards. All edges gilt. Original dark green coated endpapers. Expertly and almost invisibly rebacked with the original spine laid down. Minimal wear to corners. Tiny (4mm) red stain at fore-edge of page 87. Chemised within a full, gilt decorated purple morocco solander case. An excellent copy.
"This ['first'] issue consisted of 1,000 copies, bound in England, with the new tipped-in title-page printed at the Clarendon Press, Oxford. The ledger notes that Dodgson was charged 13s. 6d. on 26 May 1866, for '1000 Titles to Alice, American Edition'. Dodgson authorized the sale to America (after consulting Tenniel) on 10 Apr. 1866 (see Diaries)." Denis Crutch. The Lewis Carroll Handbook. A revised edition of Williams, Madan, Green. #44 (page 33).
The 'second' issue of the first American edition consisted of the remaining 952 [unbound] copies, which were shipped in sheets to New York and bound up there with a new title-page [and half-title] printed in America.
"The first edition, familiarly known to book-collectors as ‘the 1865 Alice', was printed at the Oxford University Press. This edition was at the last moment cancelled by the author, for whom Macmillan's were publishing ‘on commission' (i.e. as agent, not sponsors) because of what was considered the poor printing of Sir John Tenniel's almost equally famous illustrations. The few early copies sent out were recalled; seemingly with fair success, since less than a score are known to survive today. The book was then reprinted, by Clay, with the title-page re-dated 1866, and this constitutes the first regularly published edition. Dodgson thriftily sold 500 copies of the suppressed 1865 printing for publication, with suitably altered title-page, by Appleton's of New York in 1866" (Printing and the Mind of Man).
"On the suppression of the first (1865) edition, Messrs. Macmillan were left with a number of unbound sheets on their hands. These, one would have thought, would have been destroyed, but, from motives of economy perhaps, or may be because the defects in the illustrations were only apparent to the author, they were not destroyed… It is known that these sheets were sold to Messrs. Appleton of New York …[who] removed the Macmillan title page and substituted one with their own imprint, had the sheets bound in London, probably in the covers intended for the original edition, and then issued them in New York… the suppressed edition of 1865 and that issued by Appleton in New York in 1866 are identical" (Williams).
"At first it was agreed to sell the condemned printing as waste-paper, but eventually there came an opportunity for the original unbound sheets to be sold off to an overseas publishing house who had requested to buy up two thousand copies for distribution in America. Both Tenniel and Dodgson gave their consent to this proposal, and thus 1,952 copies (of the original 2,000 copy print run) were sold to the firm David Appleton & Co.; the title pages were redone with a New York imprint dated 1866, the sheets were machine-folded and put into cloth bindings with Appleton's name on the lower spine and the new title page substituted on a stub for the earlier one; the fore-edges were then gilt and they were sent off to the unsuspecting colonies" (Schiller, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,  p. 10-11).
Of the forty-eight copies of the initial printing that were bound up before the suppression, only twenty-two are known to have survived.
The two-leaf quire [b] occurs, like the title-page, in two settings printed in the same form and issued concurrently. The present copy has the article "a" in lowercase in the dedicatory poem on p. [ix], line 7, and the words "Rabbit-Hole" hyphenated in the contents list on p. [xi]. On the title-page, the the "B" in the first "By" appears above and slightly to the left of the the "C" in "Carroll," and the "B" in the second "By" directly above the "T" in Tenniel.
Lovett and Lovett 2. Printing and the Mind of Man 354 (the 1865 first issue). Williams 9.
(To order this item, or for more information, please call 818-222-4103)