The Edwardian era began with Queen Victoria’s death in 1901 and stretched until 1910 when Edward VII died. A mere nine years hardly constitutes anything worthwhile but it was a period of immense change and memorable literature.
First editions from this era are plentiful and easy to find. First editions, complete with dust jackets, from this era are scarce and more expensive.
One of the dominant books of this time was Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1902) by Kate Douglas Wiggin. H.G. Wells published 11 books during these years including The First Men in the Moon (1901) and The History of Mr Polly (1910). Jack London was in his pomp and published 12 novels, including The Call of the Wild (1903), The Sea-Wolf (1904) and White Fang (1906), in the Edwardian years.
Zane Grey and a number of other writers started to popularise the Western novel. Book-buyers had a vast appetite for adventure following the real-life exploits of explorers, pioneers and colonists during the Victorian age. Rudyard Kipling and Beatrix Potter were also producing books that sold in vast numbers. Art Nouveau can be seen in cover designs and the printing technology itself was also improving.
The Edwardian period is still viewed with some nostalgia and authors can be held partly responsible for that. It was the time before Europe sent nine million people to their deaths in World War I. It was the last period of upper class dominance in British politics and Britain’s Empire appeared vast and strong.
As you browse these books look out for copies with jackets and don’t miss the illustrated jackets of Harrison Fisher.
First Editions from the Edwardian Era
Lake and Forest As I Have Known Them
by Captain FC Barker (1903)
Contains 16 full page early photographs of camps and woodland scenes.
by Harrison Fisher (1909)
21 full page colour illustrations. Fisher was a famous magazine and newspaper illustrator.
by Jack London (1907)
Macmillan editions embossed with footprints. One of London’s forgotten books.
The Humming Bird
by Owen Johnson (1910)
A rare baseball story with a comical cover illustration of a dizzy pitcher.
The Two Vanrevels
by Booth Tarkington (1902)
Tarkington’s third book. Olive green boards. Illustrated by Henry Hutt
The Ghost Kings
by H Rider Haggard (1908)
Eight illustrations by A.C. Michael. A novel set in Zululand written in collaboration with Rudyard Kipling.
by Mary Austen (1905)
Four colour plates by illustrator Eric Pape. Austin’s third book was a California mission novel.
Diary of a Forty-Niner
edited by Chauncey Canfield (1906)
Gold mining diary - 2,000 copies published but only 800 survived 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
The Oriental Rug
by W.D. Ellwanger (1903)
All about rugs - eight colour plates each with tissue overlay.
by Neil Munro (1910)
Very scarce with jacket. A novel set on a Scottish estate with some fantasy elements.
Book of Princes and Princesses
by Mr & Mrs Andrew Lang (1908)
Illustrations by H.J. Ford. Eight colour plates, 34 illustrations in text.
The Chase of the Golden Meteor
by Jules Verne (1909)
A meteor and its effects on the citizens of a Virginia town
Bird Hunting Through Wild Europe
by R.B. Lodge (1908)
Illustrated with 124 photos of birds, eggs, nests, scenery. Observations on terrain and people.
The Lost Explorers: A Story of the Trackless Desert
by Alexander MacDonald (1906)
Illustrated by Arthur H. Buckland. Juvenile story based on author’s Australian experiences.
The Mirror of the Sea
by Joseph Conrad (1906)
One of Conrad's most autobiographical works, episodic memoirs of several sea voyages.
by George Barr McCutcheon (1902)
The first book edition of the 1899 stage play, includes photos of the original cast.
A Child of Nature
by Hamilton Wright Mabie (1901)
Art Nouveau-style gold embossed wings & torch on cover. A nature-themed novel.
Wanted: A Chaperon
by Paul Leicester Ford (1902)
Romance where a bride becomes a Christmas present. Art Nouveau motif on cover.
by Owen Wister (1902)
Eight full page illustrations by Arthur Keller. This Western novel was reprinted 9 times in 1902.
The Lady of the Lake
by Walter Scott (1910)
Illustrated by Howard Chandler Christy. 13 colour plates
The Bill Toppers
by Andre Castaigne (1909)
A novel of circus life and danger – look out for copies with a Harrison Fisher dust jacket.
The Heritage of the Desert
by Zane Grey (1910)
Grey’s first Western and a huge commercial success. Action and romance in the West.
Let Me Feel Your Pulse
by O. Henry (1910)
Illustrations by W.W. Fawcett. Written near the end of Henry’s life as he battled alcoholism.
Cassell’s Illustrated History of the Boer War 1899-1901
by Richard Danes (1901)
Green cloth pictorial boards. The war ended in 1902.
The Little Brown Jug at Kildare
by Meredith Nicholson (1908)
Mystery. James Montgomery Flagg provided 5 full page b&w plates. Binding by Earl Stetson Crawford.