Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1896-1903. First Thus. Autograph Edition. Limited to 350 numbered copies, signed by the author and dated “Septem. 1896.” Nineteen octavo volumes (8 3/8 x 5 5/8 inches; 213 x 142 mm). Contemporary full dark blue levant morocco. Covers elaborately paneled in gilt within a double gilt fillet border, spines decoratively paneled in gilt, turn-ins ruled in gilt, red crushed levant morocco doublures ruled in gilt and with gilt cornerpieces, red watered silk liners, top edge gilt, others uncut. Minimal fading to spines. Photogravure frontispieces, vignette titles, and plates after drawings and paintings by Frederic Remington, James Montgomery Flagg, Alice Barber Stephens, W.L. Taylor, E. Boyd Smith, B. West Clinedinst, Mary Hallock Foote, and others, all on India paper mounted. Descriptive tissue guards. Each volume with at least one plate signed by the illustrator (the frontispiece of Volume V signed by Frederic Remington). A wonderful set.
Bret Harte (1836-1902) was an influential “American writer who helped create the local-color school in American fiction. In 1854 Harte left New York for California and went into mining country on a brief trip that legend has expanded into a lengthy participation in, and intimate knowledge of, camp life. In 1857 he was employed by the Northern Californian, a weekly paper. In about 1860 he moved to San Francisco and began to write for the Golden Era, which published the first of his Condensed Novels, brilliant parodies of James Fenimore Cooper, Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, and others. He edited the periodical Californian, for which he engaged Mark Twain to write weekly articles. In 1868… Harte was named editor of the Overland Monthly. For it he wrote The Luck of Roaring Camp and The Outcasts of Poker Flat. Following The Luck of Roaring Camp, and Other Sketches (1870), he found himself world famous. He furthered his reputation with the poem Plain Language from Truthful James (1870), On it he based his best play, Ah Sin (1877), a collaboration with Twain” (Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature).
A twentieth volume Stories and Poems, was published twelve years after the first nineteen volumes, in 1915 (see BAL 7408). (Item #3667)