As long as I can remember I have always loved to do research. There just something about googling facts and stumbling across something unexpected that makes my day. I’m really into genealogy and all that good stuff but I love researching books which is a good thing that it’s a part of my job. If I got paid all day to research books my life would be made but, alas, I still have to do edits on those pesky C’s. This afternoon started with this little book. It’s an adaptation of some of Charles Dicken’s works but in play form. It looks innocent enough except that there’s no publishing or copyright date. Well that’s ok, it happens all the time and there’s a nice notice on the advertisements about it being the “season 1925.”
Then I’m talking to my supervisor about whether I should put a new record in and BAM we find this:
Volume 1? What is this volume 1 business? Well it appears that this is volume 2 (maybe?) of a set of dialogues with Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield and Nicholas Nicklby all in volume 1. So to the internet I go! I always check Publisher’s Weekly first. Thank goodness for Google Books and the Internet Archive that have these things digitized and text searchable. It makes life a million times easier.
So I came across this in the October 8, 1904 Publisher’s Weekly:
Not the right date but it’s getting me close to what I need to know. According the the preface there were up to 3 editions (possibly more) of this set and this advertisement *could* be from one for the earlier edition. It pairs this volume with comic dialogues. So I search OCLC for comic dialogues from Dickens and I find this note in the record: “Contains 35 only of the 45 dialogues originally published in 1870 by Lee and Shepherd as: Dialogues from Dickens.” hmmm so originally published by Lee and Shepard maybe? Luckily, the record also has this 510 reference, Podeschi, J.B. Dickens, D150! Sweet! I love it when people site where they got their information.
So since we don’t own this book (it’s Dickens and Dickensiana : a catalogue of the Richard Gimbel Collection in the Yale University Library by John B Podeschi for all those who want to know what the reference means) I’ll have to ILL it. ILL is interlibrary loan in case you didn’t know. Basically, if you library doesn’t hold a certain book they can request it from another library and you can check it out a few days later just like it came from your own library. I ILL stuff all the time, especially children’s books for my son to read.
So while I’m waiting for that to come in, I scour the internet for more information on the series (Baker’s entertainment series) and the arranger (W. Eliot Fette). The series turned up nothing, no one single, little, itty-bitty hint of anything.
The arrangers name brought up at little more information.
From The annual list of new and important books added to the public library of the city of Boston : selected monthly bulletin 1902-1903 (found here: http://books.google.com/books?id=puEQAAAAIAAJ&lpg=RA1-PA118&ots=8mMV1AB-bG&dq=%22W.%20eliot%20fette%22&pg=RA1-PA118#v=onepage&q=%22W.%20eliot%20fette%22&f=false)
So now I know that the third edition really was the one put out in 1903 so this 1925 might just be a reprint but only time will tell. It also looks like there was a third dialogues –Humorous dialogues that could be volume 1 instead. Could this be a 3 volume set?
I also stumbled across this Dialogues from Dickens *SECOND SERIES* (so now we are going to throw in a second series with the volume set, huh? Just make life more complicated why dontcha?) digitized by the Haiti Trust (http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.hn3r9w;view=1up;seq=7) The preface is word for word what I have in my minus the date at the end of October 2, 1971. It’s looking more and more like a reprint from the Lee and Shepard editions. BUT, our content page is half the amount AND we don’t have second series written anywhere (including the one on page 11 of the Haiti Trust one) on our copy. Also, the index at the back is exactly the same sans pagination (our index has been stripped of pagination). Definitely looking like this is a cheap knockoff but only time will tell….