London: Methuen, 1924. First edition. Publisher's blue gilt-stamped cloth, housed in a chemise and morocco-backed slipcase. A Fine copy of the book with the spine gently rolled and slight bubbling at the paste-downs, otherwise in excellent condition (lacking the dust jacket). First issue with no roman numeral "ix" on the contents page and with plain end papers. Inscribed by Milne to his literary agent: "For Curtis Brown in return for all the the trouble he has saved me-- and is going to save me-- and the money he has made for me-- and is going to make for me--IN SHORT in return for the blessed feeling of saying 'Don't bother me. Go to - Brown' this book (which he bought himself--that sort of man) from A.A. Milne."
Albert Curtis Brown, an American journalist who founded a press syndication agency in London, became famous for representing some of the most important American and British authors of the post-WWI world. Among them was A. A. Milne, who had already established himself as a successful essayist and playwright. But it was with the present work, When We Were Very Young, that Milne found his true voice and launched what remains a cornerstone children's series. Comprised of poetry written for his young son, When We Were Very Young contains the very first appearance of "the Best Bear in All the World" -- who, two years later, would be known to adults and children by name as Winnie the Pooh. While illustrator Ernest Shepard would work with Milne to bring to life this Bear (and a widening cast of characters including Christopher Robin, a stand-in for Milne's son), it was Brown and his agency who helped transform Winnie the Pooh into an international phenomenon. The Milne estate, to this day, remains under the charge of the Curtis Brown Agency.
From the Library of Duncan (and Karol) Cranford. Fine (Item #3974)