New York: Charles L. Webster and Company, 1885.
First edition of Mark Twain’s masterpiece. Octavo, original publisher’s decorated green cloth, with 174 illustrations by Edward W. Kemble. Author Zane Grey’s copy, with his blindstamp to the front free endpaper and first blank. “Less than two weeks before publication, [the publisher] Webster announced that he was binding 20,000 copies in cloth, another 2,500 in sheep, and 500 copies in three-quarter leather. The remaining 7000 copies of the first printing were probably bound up in similar proportions. Leather copies dried out, cracked apart, and have survived in even fewer numbers than the original production numbers would promise” (MacDonnell, 35). Copies were assembled haphazardly by the printer and there is yet to be agreement among bibliographers as to the priority of many first edition issue points, however, the present volume contains the three commonly identified first issue points for the clothbound book: p. 9 Chapter VI. “Huck Decided to Leave” (corrected to “Huck Decides to Leave” in second printing); p. 13 “Him and another Man” p. 88 (corrected to p. 87 in second printing); and p. 57 11th line from bottom: “with the was” (corrected to “with the saw”). Also with the additional points of bibliographical interest with debated priority: the frontispiece portrait without cloth table cover under the bust bearing the Heliotype Printing Co. imprint; p. 143 Co. Grangerford (corrected to Col. Grangerford) and broken ‘b’ in body on line 7; p. 155 with the broken final ‘5’ (Johnson, 43-50; MacDonnell, 29-35; BAL 3415; McBride, 93). As to issue points resulting from damaged plates (e.g. the dropped “5” on p 155), MacDonnell concludes, “they are of no significance in determining the sequence of the printing of the sheets. All of these occur at random in relation to each other within copies of the first printing, a strong indicator of the use of multiple plates, and possibly mixed sheets within the collating process” (“Huck Finn” Firsts Magazine). A nice association copy linking these two great American writers. Housed in a full morocco clamshell case.
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