Jun 01, 2023 - Sale 2639

Sale 2639 - Lot 3

Price Realized: $ 13,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 6,000 - $ 8,000
Austen, Jane (1775-1817)
Pride and Prejudice.

London: Printed [by C. Roworth] for T. Egerton, 1817.

Third edition, two 12mo volumes, half-titles present in each volume; ex libris Supreme Court Justice and early supporter of Austen, Joseph Story (1779-1845), with his signature in several places, a handwritten note on page 70 (volume one) mentions a trip to Worcester, Massachusetts on May 8, 1841, the year Justice Story wrote the landmark Amistad decision; bound in neat antique-style half red morocco, spines tooled in gilt and stamped in an illegible gilt stamped signature by the binder inside the back bottom turn-in of each volume, marbled paper boards, very nicely preserved and unsophisticated; one opening with a stain, two or three blank corners diagonally torn away without loss; later signature of Dora Taft Brigham on both ffeps; 6 7/8 x 4 1/8 in. (2)

In his 1851 Life and Letters of Joseph Story, Justice Story's son William wrote the following. "It is due to my father to say that he fully recognized the admirable genius of Miss Austen. Scarcely a year passed that he did not read more than one of them and with an interest which never flagged. I well remember in the year 1842 while I was engaged in finishing a bust of him in marble for which he gave me several sittings that Emma was read aloud at his request to beguile the time. With what relish he listened, his face lighting up with pleasure and interrupting my sister continually to comment on the naturalness and vivacity of the dialogue or the delicate discrimination of character."

We may conclude that as of 1826 Story was unaware of Austen's works. He compiled a list of admirable female authors for an address delivered to members of Phi Beta Kappa in that year and failed to include Austen. This omission was quickly pointed out to Story by Chief Justice John Marshall, another Austen fan. At this time, the only Austen novel published in the United States was Emma, and so her American fans were obliged to seek out London editions of her other works. The first American edition of Pride and Prejudice was not published until 1832.