New York: McLoughlin Brothers, 1905. Item #02473
Unrecorded Wain Discovered
[WAIN, Louis. COX, Palmer. COGGER, Edward P., artists]. When The Cat's Away The Mice Will Play. New York: McLoughlin Brothers, 1905.
First edition, New Chimney Corner series No. 37 1/2. Octavo.  pp. Black and white illustrations throughout including ten full-page by Louis Wain (of which two are signed), and a title-page vignette by Palmer Cox.
Unrecorded by Dale.
Full color glazed pictorial wrappers. Pale gift inscription to upper wrapper. Transparent tape repairs to spine and the fore-edge to a few leaves. A scarce and attractive survivor to children's enthusiastic hands.
At the end of the last century, Louis Wain (1860-1939), the Edwardian cat artist who went mad, became a household name as an illustrator of cats, whom he depicted in all sorts of activities, from skating and playing cricket to driving motor cars, attending dances, and playing musical instruments. “He invented a cat style, a cat society, a whole cat world. English cats that do not look like Louis Wain cats are ashamed of themselves” (H.G. Wells).
“From 1883, Wain began to draw cats as they had never been drawn before, cats in humorous guises, in human situations, but always beautifully handled…[a]lthough he was sometimes forced to draw dogs before he became well-known!” (Houfe, The Dictionary of British Book Illustrators and Caricaturists 1800-1914).
“At the age of 40 [Palmer Cox (1840-1924)] began to illustrate stories for the magazine St Nicholas, and also contributed his own poems, with illustrations. Looking for a theme for a series, he hit upon Brownies, remembering Scottish fairy tales heard in childhood. The stories that resulted were told in rhyming couplets, and were vigorously illustrated. They were afterwards published in book form. The first of the 13 books, The Brownies: Their Book (1887), sold over a million copies in Cox’s lifetime…Later Brownie adventures were in effect travelogue storybooks, taking the Brownies to such places as Flodden Field, Killarney, Mount Vesuvius, and the Philippines, not to mention the length and breadth of the United States. Palmer Cox’s Brownies (1895), a three-act stage entertainment, ran for nearly five years” (The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature). The Brownies: Their Book is a Peter Parley to Penrod title (p. 84).
McLoughlin Bros. was a New York publishing firm active between 1828 and 1920, pioneers in color printing technologies for children's books. By 1886, the firm published a wide range of items, including cheap chapbooks, large folio picture books, linen books, puzzles, games and paper dolls. Many of the earliest and most valuable board games in America were produced by McLoughlin Brothers. In 1920 the corporation was sold to Milton Bradley & Company.