London: C. Arthur Pearson Ltd., 1908.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 8vo - over 7¾ - 9¾" tall. Near Fine. Item #002789
8vo (195 x 128 mm). xii, 288 pp., including frontispiece and several illustrations in text. Bound in fine contemporary dark-purple-blue morocco, boards with gilt embossed floral decoration and ruling, spine has 5 raised bands with gilt-lettering and floral decoration in compartments, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers (minor rubbing to extremities, spine somewhat sunned, mild spotting of boards). Text with minor browning mainly in blank margins, but generally crisp and clean. Provenance: Presentation copy to unknown recipient, inscribed and signed on first blank "With best wishes / from / Rss Baden-Powell / May 1908". Alltogether a very remarkable, attractive copy in a nice binding and with the rare author's signature. ----
PMM / Printing and the Mind of Man 399. - FIRST EDITION in bookform, exceptionally rare, of Baden-Powell's classics. Scouting for Boys was originally issued in six fortnightly instalments of approximately 70 pages each, from January to March 1908. They were produced by Pearson's printer, Horace Cox. The book was largely based on Baden-Powell's military service in Africa, particularly at the Siege of Mafeking. It was so popular that on 1st May 1908 a complete edition containing a slightly revised text and with illustrations by Baden-Powell appeared in both hardback and paperback editions. This revised edition as well as the first printing by Cox are (surprisingly) of exceptional rarity. We can trace only two copies that have appeared at auction in the past 20 years, both being of the first printing by Cox.
Scouting for Boys was Baden-Powell's rewrite of his earlier book Aids to Scouting (1899). Although it strongly influenced this book, Scouting for Boys presents Scouting from the perspective of outdoorsmen and explorers rather than military men, and it adds the Scout Oath, Scout Law, honours and games for youth. The book was revised and an enormous variety of editions were published. Many of these editions were edited by others and, far beyond mere editing, whole sections were written by authors other than Baden-Powell. The book was a best seller upon release, and, in its various editions, is claimed to have become one of the best-selling books in history. Scouting for Boys has been translated into many languages. In 1948, editions of the book were still selling 50,000 copies annually. Only in 1967 was a decline noted by the publisher and in the last decades of the 20th century the book came to be seen as a period curiosity even by the Scout Movement. It is claimed to be the fourth bestselling book of the 20th century. A realistic estimate is that approximately 4 million copies of the UK edition have been sold. Extrapolating this to 87 different language editions worldwide, historic world sales of Scouting for Boys can be estimated at 100 to 150 million copies since 1908 (Wikisource). - Visit our website for additional images and information.
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