The Story of Doctor Dolittle.

First Edition of Hugh Lofting's The Story of Doctor Dolittle; Inscribed by Him

The Story of Doctor Dolittle.



Item Number: 112336

New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1923.

First edition of the first book in the Doctor Dolittle series. Octavo, original cloth, illustrated endpapers, illustrated. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the half-title page, “To Alan Edward Block with the Author’s Sincere regards H.L. New York Feb. 1921.” In very good condition, with some small segment missing from the signature page. First editions are rare signed and inscribed.

Author Hugh Lofting was "creator of the most famous vet of all time (pace James Herriot)—and what a wonderfully sane loony Dr. Dolittle is. The books are absolutely irresistible and deathless—as well as being immensely stylish… Very much collected, as is right and proper" (Connolly, Children's Modern First Editions, 189). Asked about the genesis of Doctor Dolittle, Lofting stated that he came up with the idea during World War I. He recalled: "It was during the Great War and my children at home wanted letters from me—and they wanted them with illustrations rather than without. There seemed to be very little of interest to write to youngsters from the Front: the news was either too horrible or too dull… One thing, however, that kept forcing itself more and more on my attention was the very considerable part the animals were playing in the World War" (Firsts). After being injured in the war, Lofting used his letters to compile a book. With the help of fellow writer Cecil Roberts, whom Lofting met on a trip home to the United States, Hugh Lofting secured publication at Frederick A. Stokes in New York. Soon after, he became one of the most celebrated children's authors of all time. Peter Parley to Penrod, 138.

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