Withington, Elizabeth R. Hard Cover. Boston: L.C. Page, and Company, 1926. Very Good.
Later printing (originally published February 1908) of the first book in the author's Avonlea series. Illustrated by Elizabeth R. Withington. Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper: "Second edition from / new plates, made in 1925: / the old plates of the original / edition in 1908, being worn / out. With new illustrations. / L. M. Montgomery Macdonald / April / 1926 / [cat illustration]". Bound in the publisher's ribbed light teal cloth, with gilt lettering to the front board and spine, illustration of a woman's profile to the front board, publisher's advertisements at the rear of the text. A very good copy, with wear and light rubbing to the extremities, bright spine, spine cracked between the half-title and the frontispiece, otherwise intact spine, small piece of tape to the rear pastedown. Additionally inscribed with a former owner's provenance note to the front pastedown: "This book, autographed by the / author, was presented in 1948 to / Sister Mary Kathleen, then superintendent / of nurses, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, / by the author's son, Dr. Stuart / Macdonald, member of the / Staff of Obstetrics and Gynaecology [sic] / St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Canada. / To Franie / Affectionately / Aunt Amy / Dec. 13, 1977". Overall, a clean and attractive copy with strong provenance. The only signed Anne of Green Gables we have seen. After inscribing the book, the author bequeathed this copy to her son, Dr. Stuart Macdonald, who presented this volume to the nursing superintendent at the Toronto hospital where he worked. In turn, the nurse gave this copy to "Aunt Amy," who chronicled the book's ownership history in her inscription. Aunt Amy gifted this book, and additionally inscribed it, to Franie. Franie passed the book down to the step-mother of the most recent owner. The personal nature of this volume's provenance emphasizes the rareness of a signed copy of this title. The author's inscription relates to Elizabeth Withington's eight illustrated plates, including one frontispiece. The earliest editions of Anne of Green Gables contain illustrations by W. A. J. and M. A. Claus. All three artists were painters working with a variety of mediums, meaning their works had to be copied by printers for mass reproduction. By 1925, the printer's plates of Claus' work had been used to the point that they were no longer producing clear images. Rather than making new plates from the original Claus illustrations, Withington created new original illustrations for the subsequent printings. Although the choice of illustrator was likely made by the publisher, Montgomery's inscription, which is accompanied with a small cat silhouette illustration, implies she was rather fond of Withington's artwork. Anne of Green Gables is a story about a young orphan girl, Anne Shirley, who is sent to live on a farm on Prince Edward Island with a family who had intended to adopt a boy. Montgomery drew much of the novel's setting from her own childhood experiences living with her grandparents on the eastern coast of the island. Like her readers, the author was quite taken with the jovial character she had created and wrote multiple sequels to this first installment of what would become a beloved children's series.