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Wright, Dare, her copies)

Two Little Rivers; Keineth. (2 books)


[Wright, Dare]. Abbott, Jan.  Keineth.  Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1918.
8vo.; color frontispiece; decorative mustard boards; stamped in forest green; spine loosened; ephemera held loosely.
First edition.  Name and address of Dare Wright on first free endpaper.  Small pictures drawn by Wright at bottom of several pages.  Notes in pencil on last free endpaper.  Handmade puzzle held loosely.
Author Jane Abbot's coming-of-age story, Keineth fits the pattern of spirited adventurer who overcomes adversity against the backdrop of the First World War.  Abbott is known for her plucky heroines, who provided a realistic template of behavior for pre-adolescent girls living in America in the 1920's.  This unique copy contains fanciful additions in the hand of Dare Wright.  Held loosely are two handmade puzzles, entitled, respectively, "Mouse Puzzle" and "Scissor Puzzle."  In addition, Wright has added to figural sketches in pencil to the bottom of multiple pages.  These whimsical stick figures are shown engaged in various actions, such as throwing a ball and climbing the stairs.  The single composition forms are laid out on consecutive pages, and serve as a type of flip book: the action progresses as the pages are turned.  The young heroine of Keineth leads to the assumption that Wright was of a similar age when she read this copy. Wright's imaginative diversions offer a glimpse into the private world of the girl who would later become the immensely talented, yet famously reclusive, children's book author.
Together with:
Van Dyke, Henry. Little Rivers: A Book of Essays in Profitable Idleness.  New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920.
8vo.; illustrated throughout in black and white; decorative black boards; stamped in gilt, green and white; spine sunned.
Signed on dedication page: From M.L./September 1923.  Ephemera held loosely including locks of hair of Dare's, a floral needlepoint, and a child's letter to his mother, written in the hand of Dare's brother Blaine.  The letter is written in pencil: A HAPPY EASTER TO MOTHER/AND TIDINGS GLAD/FOR WHEN GOD GAVE ME YOU/HE GAVE ME THE BEST HE HAD.  This is one of the sole examples of loving words exchanged between Blaine and his mother, who had a bitter lifelong relationship.  In the summer of 1917, Edie and the children's father, Ivan separated and Blaine went to live with his father, while Dare remained with her mother.  In 1920, Edie cut off all contact with her son.  Blaine and Dare spent their formative years mourning their relationship cut short.  When they were united again in 1940, Blaine refused a relationship with his mother.  Throughout his life, he blamed Edie for his shortcomings, and the suffocating control she had over his sister.  This letter, which offers a rare glimpse into the life of the Wright family in happier times, is a young boy's proclamation of love to the woman who would be the first, and possibly only, to break his heart.  Blaine, like his sister, never allowed admirers to come close enough to ever develop a close relationship with him.
Little Rivers is a collection of essays about life, the natural world, and its enjoyments. Henry van Dyke waxes rhapsodic on the glories of idly contemplating nature. Van Dyke, an American clergyman and avid fisherman, often spoke of the wonders of nature in his sermons, and Little Rivers enjoyed wide circulation.  As President Wilson's ambassador to the Netherlands from 1913, Van Dyke was a first-hand witness to the outbreak of World War I and its progress, and was a key player in the President's diplomatic efforts to keep the U.S. out of the conflict.

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