New York: John Lane Company, . Hardcover. Small 4to. Dark green and light green cloth with gilt lettering and decoration. 288pp. Frontispiece and illustrations by the author. Very good overall. Tight and fairly nice, marred only by water stain at upper margin of front preliminary leaves and most pages; front pastedown bears interesting unsigned "From the Library of" bookplate showing a pressman pulling the screw on an old-fashioned hand press with caption "Ben Franklin / Print Shop / Colonial Village Century of Progress." Item #47233
First edition of this charming author-illustrated description of the dune country around the corner from Chicago in Indiana. As he often did, Reed has added a delightful small pencil sketch dune scene at lower right of the title page, below which he inscribes it "Drawn For Miss HL Ekrall / at request of her friend Mrs EJ Piggott / Nov 29-16 / Earl H. Reed." The homely water stain at upper left of many opening leaves is unfortunate but not terribly disfiguring. Interestingly, laid in is an Autograph Letter Signed dated 23 December 1916 from the original purchaser (Frieda Schmer) to the intended recipient in which she breathlessly explains this damage and a comedy of errors regarding the author inscription -- in part: "While meandering through Fields and examining the wonderful Reed etchings of The Dunes I met the artist and as you are aware he offered to put a sketch in one of his books should I care to purchase one. I went up in the book department but they were entirely sold out having sold in all 400 copies. I then went back saw Mr. Reed who offered to procure a copy of 'The Dune Country' for me, putting in his sketch & then mailing it to me. I was very grateful for the offer, gave my order and told him to mail the book to Mrs. Piggott. This I did knowing she was acquainted in our apartment on 62nd St. whereas I was not. No doubt Mr. Reed thought I was Mrs. Piggott for when the book arrived a few days later much to my disappointment found the cover had become slightly damaged in the mail and lo and behold when I gazed with eager eyes at his sketch, he had 'For Mrs. Piggott' inscribed in your book. To say I was disappointed is putting it mildly. I could have cried, I felt so badly about it. Fortunately Mr. Reed had his address on the outer wrapper. I called him up post haste and was fortunate enough to find him home. This, however, occurred after I made a hurried trip to Fields and found his etchings were not on exhibit any more so left your book with a Mr. McDonald who has charge of that department and told him I would get in touch with Mr. Reed. So as previously stated got Mr. Reed on the phone, told him I had no idea he would put Mrs Piggotts name in the book for it was not intended for Mrs. Piggott but for a friend of mine for Christmas and asked whether he could not rectify the mistake by erasing Mrs. Piggotts name and inserting yours, also change the date. He said no for the paper was glazed and it would be hard to erase. So now you will see when you open your book your name is inserted and Mrs. Piggotts is still in evidence. Isn't this perfectly dreadful? I had no idea he would put any other name in his book but his own autograph.... Wishing you a Merry Christmas...." Also laid in is a small 4to 4-page promotional leaflet for Reed, "Extracts from Press Comment Related to the Etched Work of Earl H. Reed." Reed (1863-1931) was a noted Chicago-area artist and etcher who authored several titles about the area. An interesting copy with a strange story behind it.