1811. Item #87679
[GODWIN, William]. FABLES, ANCIENT AND MODERN. Adapted for the use of children. By Edward Baldwin, Esq. [pseud.] Adorned with seventy-three cuts. First American Edition. Philadelphia: Published by Johnson and Warner, no. 147, Market Street. William Brown printer, Church-alley, 1811. Despite the edition statement on the t.p., this is actually the second American edition - but it is the first complete American edition. It was preceded by an 1807 New Haven edition comprised of 38 fables, whereas this edition has all of the 71 prose fables from the English edition. [iii-v] vi-xi, , 273 pp. 12mo., contemporary mottled leather with a gilt-lettered morocco label and gilt double-rules on spine. Contemporary ink ownerships on ffep. and first fly-leaf of Miss Elizabeth Salisbury and D. W. Salisbury of Boston. Binding is lightly scuffed, with a sliver of loss at heel, and fore-corners gently rounded. Lacks the half-title leaf which presumably had an illustration, as there are only 72 cuts in this copy. Text leaves are lightly age toned and show occasional light foxing and a bit of spotting. The first two leaves of text have some damage and loss: B1 has a tear resulting in loss to the illustration on one page and parts of five lines of text on verso; B2 has a smaller hole resulting in similar but smaller loss to illustration and two lines of text on verso. A bit of old paper adhesion in the blank space on p. 82. The rear free endpaper is torn with loss at the bottom. Nevertheless it is a solid copy of a rare book. OCLC lists only 3 copies of the New Haven edition and 7 of this edition, and it has appeared at auction only once in the last 35 years. (Welch, Bibl. of American Children's Books 456.2; Shaw & Shoemaker 22921). William Godwin (1756-1836), the famous political philosopher, author of "Political Justice" and other works, and father of Mary Shelley, wrote several children's books under the pseudonym of Edward Baldwin. In his preface to this book, Godwin explains his objective in compiling it and how it differs from other collections of fables.