Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J. M. Barrie, Illustrated by Rackham, Circa 1907

Barrie, J. M., Illustrated by Arthur Rackam, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1907. First American edition, Signed by Barrie.

This is a first American edition of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J. M. Barrie, signed by the author. Published originally in 1906 by Hodder & Stoughton in London, this first American edition was published in New York by Charles Scribner’s Sons. The book has the original illustrations by Arthur Rackham and has been stunningly rebound in full leather.

J. M. Barrie was a Scottish born writer who later moved to London where in 1902 he wrote The Little White Bird featuring his character Peter Pan. In 1904, Barrie wrote a play version of Peter Pan featuring a slightly different version of the young boy going on adventures and battling the infamous Captain Hook. Barrie did not publish the play until 1929. His infant character from the earlier novel obtained enough popularity to warrant the character’s own children’s book titled Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.

In Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, the seven-day old Peter leaves his parents’ house and escapes to Kensington Gardens. There he meets fantastical characters and embarks on learning adventures. Peter returns home only to find that his mother has had another child while he was gone and he finally chooses to stay in the gardens. The infant eventually meets Maime, who is said to be an early version of Wendy, plays games with mis-interpreted human toys, and creates and decorates graves for the children who perished in the gardens. In 1911, the Peter Pan and Wendy story was published that later became the framework for the Disney adaptation.


Overall this book is in very good, age appropriate condition. The author's signature on the third endpage is clear, dark, and written on gilt-bordered cardstock. The book has been beautifully rebound in full leather with gilt embossed stamps made specially for this binding. The spine features raised bands and gilt title information. The front board features a gilt embossed fairy design as well as hand-tooled details along the border. The original internal pages are clean and bright. Only the protective glassine pages have notable foxing. Some edgeware along the bottom and side of pages. The book is housed in a custom archival slipcase decorated with one of Rackam’s depictions from the novel.

Dimensions: 10 ½” H x 7 ⅞” W x 2 ¼” D (with slipcase)

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