Friday, November 16, 2012

Before He Was Anybody

A Beatrix Potter illustration of a rabbit tucked into bed so that only ears and paws are visible, while a larger rabbit in a dress and apron leans over the bed with a cup.
Peter Rabbit is one of the most famous characters in the world of children's literature. But he wasn't always that well known. In fact, as with almost every other author, Beatrix Potter was initially unable to find a publisher for her story due to the usual rejections and her own insistence on a specific format and quality. Instead of compromising her vision, she decided to have a small run of the story privately printed.

A cover for "The Tale of Peter Rabbit."
The first private edition ran to 250 copies and was printed by Strangeway's in London in December 1901. A second run of private printings was completed in February of 1902. Finally, later that year, the first commercial edition was published by Frederick Warne & Co. The Tale of Peter Rabbit quickly became a commercial success and paved the way for numerous additional tales set in the same world.

Rauner holds one of the original first printings from the 1901 private edition.  Ask for Val 827P849 X to see Peter before he was famous and read about his misadventures.

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