1868. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1868, 1869, 1871.
3 vols. Sm. 8vo, 341, (6, ads); iv, 359, (8, ads); viii (incl. ads), 376 pp. 4 plates in each. Quarter blue morocco, light blue boards, gilt decorated backstrips with raised bands, top edges, gilt; original cloth backstrips tipped into the rear of each volume. Bindings lightly rubbed, marginal staining and creasing in vol. one and occasionally in the other two vols.; handsomely bound, a beautiful set.
§ First editions of Louisa May Alcott's three classic children's books. First printing of Little Women (without note on p.341 regarding Part Second); second state of Little Women, Part Second; first American edition of Little Men (published simultaneously in London). BAL 158, 159, 167.
A milestone in children's literature, based on Alcott's own childhood. On the eve of publication she wrote, "Not a bit sensational, but simple and true, for we really lived most of it; and if it succeeds that will be the reason of it" (Grolier 100 Children's Books: 38). "With these books the naturalness of healthy childhood replaced stuffy moral precepts" (Grolier, 100 American Books: 74). "[O]ne of the bestsellers of all time. Within four years it had sold 82,000 copies... Through fresh and honest observation, Alcott re-creates female adolescent experience that we recognize as authentic even today" (ANB).
This copy was displayed in the exhibition "One Hundred Books Famous in Children's Literature," held at the Grolier Club, New York, December 10, 2014 to February 7, 2015. Item #124650