New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1866. Item #04049
The First 'Obtainable' Edition of
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 New York edition, 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. x, 192 pp.
Publisher's red cloth with gilt vignettes within triple gilt borders on upper and lower boards. Spine decoratively lettered in gilt, dark blue coated end-papers, all edges gilt. A few very minor stains on half-title, verso of frontispiece and tissue guard. Some very small chips to spine extremities, small, one half inch area of wear (through the cloth) on rear joint, minimal rubbing to lower corners, some very minor staining to covers, still one of the best copies that we have seen - entirely untouched, the inner hinges absolutely sound. Chemised within a quarter red morocco clamshell case.
This is one of the 1,952 sets of sheets of the original suppressed 1865 print run, that were sent to Appleton in New York for machine-folding and binding-up with a substituted New York title-page. The last example of the original 48 copies (see detailed note below) of the 1865 Alice to appear at auction was the Montagu-Rosenbach-Johnson-Kettaneh-Schiller copy. That copy was rebound in Morocco by Rivière for L.S. Montagu and had with it ten of the original drawings by John Tenniel. It fetched $1.4 million at Christie's New York in December 1998.
It is extremely unusual to find a copy of this book that has never been touched, repaired or strengthened in some way.
In over fifty years I cannot recall seeing more than a handful of 'untouched' copies - this is actually an 1865 Alice but with a New York title-page (DJB).
“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.