The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, Second American Edition with Original Dust Jacket, 1908-1912

Potter, Beatrix, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Philadelphia: Henry Altemus Company, 1908-1912. Second American edition, second state, original dust jacket and custom clamshell.

Presented is the second American edition of Beatrix Potter’s children’s book The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The book is presented in its original boards and dust jacket in good condition for its age. It features thirty-one color illustrations throughout. This rare second American edition, second state is sometimes referred to as the Pirate Edition.

Potter’s Peter Rabbit tells the tale of a mischievous and troublesome young rabbit as he is chased around the personal garden of Mr. McGregor on a wild adventure. The story was written in 1893 for Noel Moore, the five-year-old son of Potter's former governess Annie Carter Moore. Potter privately printed the children’s story in 1901 after many publishers rejected the book. In 1902, the story was published more commercially by Frederick Warne & Co. and it became a success, leading to many more reprints and over 45 million copies sold to date.

After Potter failed to meet the deadline for securing the copyright to The Tale of Peter Rabbit in America, Henry Altemus Company seized the opportunity to publish the book. In 1904, Henry Altemus published the pirated first American edition as a part of their "Wee Books for Wee Folks" line of children's books. Between 1904 and 1917, they published three editions of the book, of which this is the second, though the copyright page remain unchanged throughout. Despite the printed date of 1904, this second edition in its second state (with the light pictorial boards,) was actually published between 1908-1912. Since this copy lacks decorative endpapers, it was likely one of the earliest of the edition.

Pagination: Interleaved--each of the 31 full-page illustrations is opposite a page of text, followed by two blank pages.

Overall good condition for age, with some light staining and foxing on a few interior pages. The book is presented in its original light green cloth boards with the original brown dust jacket with cover illustration. Beautifully housed in a custom clamshell with three-quarter blue Moroccan leather and blue cloth boards. The clamshell features a red interior, blue and red spine, and raised bands and gilt tooling on the spine. The front board of the clamshell features a print of a color illustration in the center.

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