By L. Frank Baum, illustrated by Mary Cowles Clark
First edition, first printing of one of Baum's earliest books, featuring stories of Santa's youth, first trip with the reindeer, interactions with Jack Frost, and more.
THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF SANTA CLAUS
"Thus did this man, through very goodness, conquer the hearts of all; and it is no wonder he was ever merry and gay, for there was no home in the wide world where he was not welcomed more royally than any king."
By the earl 1900s, the iconography of Santa Claus had largely cohered into the figure we know today – but Baum's take expanded the character's story into a full-length book, rather than the single songs, poems, and images that were more common. According to Baum bibliographer Paul R. Bienvenue, Baum's established publisher George M. Hill planned this book to be "the biggest sensation known to the juvenile book world since the publication of 'Alice in Wonderland'" (198) – but then declared bankruptcy only a couple months later, before this book's publication. The publisher of Baum's 1901 book THE MASTER KEY, Bowen-Merrill, stepped into the gap and issued it for the Christmas season.
Read more: Bienvenue, The Book Collector's Guide to L. Frank Baum, 201.
Indianapolis: The Bowen-Merrill Company, 1902. 9'' x 6.5''. Original red pictorial cloth elaborately stamped in white, pink, green, and black with Santa going down a chimney. Color pictorial endpapers. Illustrated by Clark with 14 two-color full-page images and six in full color (including title page). Copyright stamp, "1902, The Bowen-Merrill Company" at bottom of title page. , 206 pages. Ink inscription backdated 1899 on front fly leaf. Front hinge expertly repaired. Spine somewhat sunned, with a bit of fraying at ends and the white fields on front board rather rubbed.
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