John James Audubon
Boston, Small, Maynard, 1902. One of 350 copies printed on large paper, this being the presumed dedication copy: inscribed by Burroughs "To Dr. Clara Barrus/ whose kind surgery and skillful midwifery helped bring this little Life into the world/ John Burroughs/ Aug. 29th 1902." Barrus met Burroughs in 1901 when she was a practicing physician and, though nearly half his age, for two decades she was his friend, secretary, traveling companion, (presumed mistress), and later his biographer and literary executor. John James Audubon is dedicated "To C.B.," the use of initials being the type of thing one does when married to someone else. Both the inscription, the dedication, and the fact that the Clara Barrus archives at Vassar include Barrus's notes and criticisms on this volume support the idea that Barrus played some part in producing this work. That role is made a bit amorphous by an asterisk in the inscription at "midwifery" that has been appended as "houghmangie" (this in an unknown hand). The word "houghmangie" is unknown to us, but "houghmagandie" is Scottish slang for sexual intercourse, usually outside of marriage. Two penciled corrections in text, apparently in Barrus' hand. Two facing pages with offsetting, several paper clip shadows, and one maple leaf laid in. Inscription page loose; spine label worn; still a very good copy, lacking a dust jacket. Burroughs on Audubon -- two of the giants of American natural history -- and perhaps the best possible copy. [#031667] SOLD
All books are first printings of first editions or first American editions unless otherwise noted.