RHYMES WITH REASON AND WITHOUT. Signed. Benjamin P. Shillaber.


Boston: Abel Tompkins And B. B. Mussey And Co., 1853.

1st Edition. Inscribed Presentation copy of the Author's Rare first book [of poetic humour]. Sabin 80480. 8vo. Gilt lettered blind stamped brown cloth, rebacked at an early date, preserving the original gilt title lettering. Inscribed on the second fe: 'To H.M. Stephen with Regards of her friend, the Author'. & who has penned a later presentation on the top of the frontispiece portrait of Shillaber, thus: '. Partington - one of the best men God ever made and a dear friend of mine. H.M.S. to Mother'. the significance of the inscription can be explained by the fact that this rare volume of (humorous) ditties contains the first appearance in book form of Mrs. Partington & though Mrs. Partington had acquired some regional notoriety because of Shillaber's weekly rambles, she was about to become a true American celebrity with the publication of his second volume in 1854, the best selling "LIFE AND SAYINGS OF MRS. PARTINGTON". Shillaber, like Twain, began his career setting type for a newspaper & he founded & edited the humorous weekly CARPET BAG [1851-1853], where the clever monologues of his famous character, Mrs. Partington, originally appeared, & where he chose to publish the very first work of the 17 year old Samuel Clemens, who inspired by the style of Shillaber & Mrs. Partington & this immerging new school of American humour, wrote `The Dandy Frightening the Squatter' (a sketch of life in Hannibal), this fully 11 years before he adopted the name Mark Twain & 13 years before the publication of "The Celebrated Jumping Frog" [sketch]. This volume (in part) was the first of Shillaber's many books about the mythical Mrs. Partington who became a national figure. She was the model for Aunt Polly in TOM SAWYER, & the illustration at p. 274 of that work is nearly identical to the frontispiece portrait of Mrs. Partington in the LIFE AND SAYINGS OF MRS. PARTINGTON. The more than two hundred short sketches that comprise the LIFE AND SAYINGS OF MRS. PARTINGTON cover the sa me subjects as many of Twain's early works making it a scarce Twain source book [if not the very first, then one of the earliest], and an important book in the history of American humour. (BAL 17540). "Rhymes With Reason And Without" gave book birth to Mrs. Partington. Perhaps Shillaber deserves a bigger bite of history. A very important copy of a RARE book.

Item #32948    Price: US$1,600.00