Philadelphia: H.C. Peck & Theodore Bliss, 1855. Early edition. Apparent third edition, following those of 1845 and 1850, with all three fairly scarce institutionally. Original red publisher's cloth binding stamped in blind with gilt to spine. Buff endpapers. Measuring 95 x 110mm and complete in 96 pages. A pleasing, square copy with a bit of loss to crown of spine. Early ownership signature of Jane Brewster to front endpaper above bookseller's stamp; monogram bookplate of Albert A. Howard to rear pastedown. Internally unmarked and fresh. A pleasing copy of a delicate book.
A charming example of Peck & Bliss' 19th century books designed to introduce juvenile readers to Puritan teachings. The Little Pilgrim's Progress was designed for small hands and small readers; and the Preface suggests this was no accident, as the text was designed to be read by them with little assistance. "This most excellent work was written nearly two hundred years ago by a very celebrated and good man, John Bunyan. Probably most of my little readers have heard of him -- but they may perhaps not know that in the early part of his life, and until he was nearly thirty years of age, he was a very wicked man. But having been led by the grace of God to see the error of his ways, he forsook his evil habits...and devoted the rest of his life to better purposes." Indeed, the brief Preface accomplishes a great deal. Addressing young readers as serious, and acknowledging their basic awareness of a major Puritan figure, it uses Bunyan's story to introduce the notion of grace to establish the inspiration for his allegory. It also urges young readers to see themselves in Bunyan -- to see that in the face of their mistakes, as in his or in Christian's, they can find grace. (Item #4600)