San Francisco: The Unknown Publisher, 1903. First edition. Original green publisher's cloth binding with bright gilt to front board. 130 pages with frontis portrait of the author. The present copy was signed and inscribed on the dedication page by Kellogg to a theater colleague of her husband's: "For Mr. James L. Carhart. With the best sentiments of the Author. Eugenia Kellogg (Mrs. E. B. Holmes) June 2nd 1918 San Francisco." In pencil below the author's inscription, Carhart has added a note in pencil: "Note: Mrs. E. B. Holmes is the widow of Mr. Edwin B. Holmes, a fellow actor with me in the celebrated American comedian John E. Owens' company, which played at the Vanity Theater, New Orleans, LA the season of 1874-5." Carhart has additionally inserted a second loose frontis of the author, with his note on the verso: "E. B. Holmes was a member of John E. Owens' Company which played at the Vanity Theater, New Orleans LA the season of 1874-5. Mr. Holmes played old men and character parts -- same as I did." Scarce at institutions and in the trade, OCLC lists no copies at libraries outside of California; and the present is the only copy on the market.
The author of two books -- Adolpho Sutro and The Awakening of Poccalito -- little else is known of author Eugenia Kellogg. A resident of San Francisco, Kellogg centered her writing on the history and stories of the west. In the current work, Kellogg presents the reader with six short stories that take place in California, Mexico, and Alaska; and both the narratives and their characters reflect the cultural diversity and exchanges happening across these regions. The poverty and heroism of Poccalito takes center stage in the first story, while traditions of the matadores and bullfights are the focus of A Mexican Holiday. Throughout, Kellogg scatters details about these cultures' foods and traditions, using dialect and slang to create a sense of authenticity. The result is a research-rich text that, to date, has been little studied or taught.
This presentation copy gives hints into Kellogg's identity and personal life, drawing focus to her marriage to a comedic actor and a relationship with his colleagues who toured with him in the south; and her dedication provides additional insight into her relationship with a key woman in her life. "To My Mother Sarah Ann Destrange Kellogg. 'The depth and dream of my desire , The bitter paths wherein I stray -- Thou knowest.'" In addition to revealing that Kellogg publishes under her maiden name rather than her married name of Holmes (keeping this connection with her mother), the dedication drawn from the Envoi of Rudyard Kipling's Life's Handicap suggests deep admiration and respect. After all, the poem is the author's acknowledgement that God has prepared him to produce meaningful writing, and his apology for any shortcoming or flaw of his own that sullies execution. Kellogg reveals gratitude to her mother, suggesting Sarah Ann's influential role in Kellogg's life and work. Fine (Item #2800)