Thursday, December 11, 2014

Craig's Bookshelf: The Magical Monarch of Mo (Part Two)

From left to right: Bobbs Merrill 1st printing, Donohue 3rd printing, & Variant B of Donohue 2nd printing
The first printing of the first edition of The Magical Monarch of Mo is apparently one of those books that is genuinely rare. Fortunately for collectors, it's also virtually indistinguishable from the other four printings, which means that owning a second through fifth printing may be a perfectly satisfactory solution for all but the most obsessive-compulsive collectors.

1st printing - Serified type, Upper- and lower-case letters
According to Paul Bienvenue's Book Collector's Guide to L. Frank Baum and Oz, the key to distinguishing between the first five printings is to look at the typography of the printer's imprint, which is at the bottom of the copyright page. The publisher's imprint on the first printing is in serified type with upper- and lower-case letters.

2nd printing - Serified type, All-capital letters
The publisher's imprint on the second printing is in serified type with all capital letters. The publisher's imprint on the third through fifth printings is in three different configurations of san-serif type. I highly recommend Bienvenue's book to anyone who wishes to correctly identify their copy of this book since it reproduces all five imprints and tells you exactly what to look for. (See page 209.)

Color plate opposite page 6 of Mo.
I have not (yet) reached the point of obsessive compulsiveness where I feel the need to own all five printings of the first edition. I own copies of the first and second printings. I have the latter simply because for a long time I didn't know whether I ever would find a first printing. I would, however, like to acquire a fourth or fifth printing in order to add yet another variant to my collection. Instead of blue or green illustrated endpapers showing characters from Mo, these last two printings of the first edition have the orange and black endpapers designed by Fanny Y. Cory that were originally used as endpapers for The Enchanted Island of Yew. Interestingly, some early printings of Yew have the endpapers that were supposed to go with Mo. Both mix-ups can probably be explained by the fact that both books were first published around the same time in 1903; there probably was a supply of Yew endpapers on hand when Mo was being printed, and vice versa.

Starting in 1913, M.A. Donohue & Co. began printing low-priced editions of The Magical Monarch of Mo. The first Donohue printing is bound in light blue cloth and looks much like the first Bobbs-Merrill edition, however the title page imprint reads, "M.A. Donohue & Co."

The second Donohue printing has only eight color plates, and it comes in two variant bindings. Variant A uses the familiar light blue cloth, however Variant B is bound in green cloth. I am particularly pleased to own a copy of Variant B in the rare dust jacket.
Variant B of the Donohue 2nd printing, with & without dust jacket
Finally, there is a Donohue third printing; it is bound in the familiar light blue cloth, however the spine and front cover lettering is stamped in red. (This book is pictured at the top of this blog; it's the middle book in a row of three.)

In the early 1920s, Bobbs-Merrill reissued The Wizard of Oz and several other Baum books, including The Magical Monarch of Mo. These books are uniform with each other and feature new front cover color paper labels. The company reissued Mo again in 1947 in a completely new edition with illustrations by Evelyn Copelman. This is the only Baum book other than Wizard that Copelman illustrated. My copy of the Copelman Mo is in the original dust jacket. I recently acquired another Copelman Mo in a library binding.
From left to right: 1920s Bobbs Merrill, 1947 Copelman, Copelman library binding
Special thanks to Paul Bienvenue, author of The Book Collector's Guide to L. Frank Baum and Oz and proprietor of March Hare Books. Without his help I would be completely clueless when it comes to identifying L. Frank Baum's non-Oz books.

1 comment:

Paul Bienvenue said...

Thanks for the great plug, Craig! Your jacketed Donohue Mo is amazing... I have always liked the green cloth variant, but to see it in such stunning condition is a real treat.