Alice Liddell, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Cheshire Cat, Cyril Bathurst Judge, fairy tales, George MacDonald, gift inscription, gilt, Greg Thompson, Henry Kingsley, John Tenniel, Lewis Carroll, Michael R. Thompson Rare Books, Michael Sharpe, pictorial cloth bindings, preliminary blank, Punch
First editions of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There (1872) join the Rare Books Division, Special Collections. The anonymous donation was facilitated by Michael Thompson of Michael R. Thompson Rare Books, Los Angeles, California. We are thankful for the generosity of the donor and indebted to Michael Thompson for his friendship.
“This is an important and very welcomed addition to the J. Willard Marriott Library,” said Greg Thompson, Associate Dean of Special Collections. The value of the books is estimated at $30,000.
The books are in their original gilt pictorial cloth bindings. The inside front boards bear two bookplates, one of Harvard scholar Cyril Bathurst Judge (b. 1888), the other of book collector Michael Sharpe. A gift inscription on the preliminary blank of Through the Looking Glass is dated December 25, 1871, one month before official publication.
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s now-famous Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was intended solely for Alice Liddell and her two sisters. Dodgson made the story up to engage the bored children during a series of outings. Alice asked Dodgson to write the story down. Dodgson presented his manuscript to Alice as a Christmas gift in 1864.
Friend and novelist Henry Kingsley saw the manuscript and encouraged Dodgson to publish the book. Dodgson consulted another friend, George MacDonald. Macdonald, a popular writer of fairy tales and fantasy, read the story to his children, who thoroughly approved of it. Macdonald’s six-year-old son is said to have declared that he “wished there were 60,000 copies of it.”
Dodgson prepared the manuscript for publication, expanding the 18,000 word original to 35,000 words and adding, among other characters and scenes, the Cheshire Cat and “A Mad-Tea Party.” The first published edition included illustrations by John Tenniel, a cartoonist for the magazine, Punch. The edition of 4,000 copies was released, under the pseudonym “Lewis Carroll,” in time for Christmas in December of 1865, carrying 1866 as the publication date.
By 1884, 100, 000 copies had been printed.
Dodgson began writing Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There in 1869. The first edition was of 9000 copies. It was bound in the same red cloth, a color requested by Dodgson, as Alice’s Adventures.