THE AUTOCRAT OF THE BREAKFAST TABLE (inscribed to Sarah Josepha Hale)
The large paper printing. Octavo, original brown bevel edge cloth, sides with decorative border in blind. Spine gilt lettered (AUTOCRAT/OF THE/BREAKFAST TABLE/ [rule] / HOLMES). All edges gilt. Grey endpapers. Letterpress title page in red and black. pp , viii, 373,  (including an Index) + 8 plates by Augustus Hoppin, with tissue guards. Recased, with backstrip laid down but only loss is about 1/8 inch across the foot; horizontal split at centre of spine scarcely noticeable; front inner hinge cracked but firm; short and very shallow chip to middle fore edge of second blank at front; otherwise a VG or better clean, tight and unworn copy, no owner names, spine gilt bright. BAL 9093. State A, with the plates present (Holmes didn't like them and had them removed from some copies). Blanck notes three binding states, but not this one, which lacks any spine imprint (but is otherwise like state A). The 1858 first edition (at least two printings, also with no author on the title page) was issued in mid-November. BAL notes copies of this large paper printing inscribed for Christmas by Holmes. INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR TO SARAH JOSEPHA HALE (on the second blank, in ink) "Miss Sarah J. Hale from her old friend and fellow-border O.W. Holmes". Sarah Josepha (Buell) Hale (1788-1879), from Newport, New Hampshire, was an influential American editor, poet, and novelist who penned the famous nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb". Her popular novel NORTHWOOD advocated the removal of the slaves to Liberia. From 1828-36 she edited the Ladies' Magazine from Boston, and from 1837-77, Godey's Lady's Book. Hale was the first woman editor in America and it was she who made Godey's Lady's Book the forerunner of the modern women's magazines. She was mostly responsible for the adoption of Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday as well as being a staunch advocate for higher education for women, being one of the founders of Vassar College. She was also one of the earlier proponents of the publication of American literature, instead of British imports, in popular periodicals . When Hale was brought to Boston by the Rev. John Lauris Blake, she stayed at the same boardinghouse as Holmes, along with her youngest son. Dr Holmes, important physician, professor and author, moved into the boardinghouse in 1830 to study medicine at Harvard. During this time he wrote two essays about life as seen from the boardinghouse breakfast table, which were published in 1831 and 1832. They were the seed of this collection of essays, his most famous book, and its two sequels. Hale herself was the model for one of the boarders seated at the breakfast table and has been identified as "The Lady in Black Bombazine." A terrific American association copy of one of the great classics of 19th century American literature. Grolier Club American 100.