Garden City: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1916. Hardcover. Small 4to. Quarter vellum spine and tan paper over boards with gilt lettering. 111pp. Top edge gilt. Very good. Internally tight and fine, with faint edgewear, rubbing and age toning to binding (only). Item #49456
Attractive first edition, with colophon limiting to 125 numbered copies (this #22). North Carolinian Coleman (1868-1959) met up again with a childhood sweetheart decades later and became his second wife in 1907. That beau was Willlam Sidney Porter (1862-1910), better known as the writer "O. Henry." She left him after two years and they divorced in 1909. This novella is her syrupy, idealized version of their time together, incorporating actual letters that he wrote her. Bizarrely and inexplicably, the front flyleaf bears a huge inscription and signature from a notorious figure whose connection to this book is unknown: "Sincerely Yours / Harry Dayton Sickles / March / 28th / 1917." Sickles was a disreputable Chicago "bookseller" who hooked up with Eugene "Pinny" Field II (son of the famed Chicago poet) and in the teens and '20s became one half of a forgery scandal in which the dastardly duo offered for sale hundreds of books, pamphlets and ephemera bearing forged signatures of Eugene Field the poet, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Frederic Remington and other literary and historical figures. Why Sickles would be inscribing a copy of this book to which he bears no apparent connection is a mystery -- perhaps he was simply giving it as a present to someone. An intriguing copy of a scarce title, in any case. (See William L. Butts, "Absolutely, Mister Sickles? Positively, Mister Field! New Light on the Eugene: Pinny Field II And Harry Dayton Sickles Forgery Case.") BAL 16300.