OVER THE HOOKAH: THE TALES OF A TALKATIVE DOCTOR ... Author's Edition. Chicago: Fred. Klein Company, 1896. Octavo, pp. [i-xv] xvi-xix [xx-xxiv]  26-618 [619-620: blank] [note: last leaf is a blank], fly leaves at front and rear, over a hundred illustrations by C. Everett Johnson, plus an inserted plate with a photographic portrait of the author, original decorated bevel-edged maroon leather, front and spine panels stamped in gold, a.e.g., white coated moire patterned endpapers, cloth inner hinges. First edition, first issue. The author was a physician (a specialist in uro-genital disease and surgery) as well as a criminal anthropologist. Though divided into about a dozen sections, the present volume is best thought of as a single digressive potpourri, eccentric and sui generis, and almost certainly author-financed. (The only other title from Fred Klein that can be located is THE NORTH END CLUB COOK BOOK , which sounds like another vanity production.) This is a handsome, oversized and elaborately produced book that sold for $4 when it was first issued (at a time when clothbound fiction generally sold for around $1), with the present leather-bound issue offered for $5. The fantastic motifs, verbal and visual, include a talking skull, a bibulous cat and turtle, an airborne gondola. The writing is prolix and tedious in anything but small doses, but the artwork is professional, the subjects emphasizing skulls, skeletons, and other fantastic motifs; the tone is congenial throughout and the overall effect very charming. Includes a lost race novella set in Africa. Several stories are set in the American West, "The Passing of Major Merriwether," is set in au unnamed mining region of California. Teitler (2013) 784. Wright (III) 3440. Penciled gift inscription dated 26 November 1896 on front flyleaf. Leather lightly rubbed at spine ends, corner tips and along outer joints, spine panel just a bit darkened, a very good, much-better-than-average copy of this handsome book. (#149504).
No statement of printing.