Lot 1008: PETERSON, ROGER TORY. "A FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDS", Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1934. First edition, first issue.

Sloans & Kenyon

April 22, 2018
Chevy Chase, MD, US

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Description: PETERSON, ROGER TORY. "A FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDS", Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1934. First edition, first issue. [With the following points determining this issue priority -- the date "1934" appears on the recto of the title page (this is dropped from later printings, as was Houghton Miffin's long-standing custom). The "Bob-pumper" misprint is present in the index (p. 155) -- later corrected to "Bog-pumper." The Whistling Swan and White Egret illustrations on the group plates opposite p. 12 (egrets) and p. 18 (Whistling Swan) have "dirty"(shaded) gray plumages. The word "loose" is present in un-broken type on page 67]. Two thousand copies are recorded as having been printed of this first edition, which was reportedly sold out within a week of publication. Nothing of its kind and handy format had previously appeared, and it made a reputation for Roger Tory Peterson (1908-1996). Most surviving copies show heavy wear and damage, since the format is perfectly adapted for birders to carry and use in the field. This copy lacks the rare dust jacket, but has an early presentation inscription signed around the time of original publication -- by Peterson. Biologist and conservationist Paul R. Ehrlich, assessed Peterson's long and productive career as follows: "In this century, no one has done more to promote an interest in living creatures than Roger Tory Peterson, the inventor of the modern field guide."
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