THE HEATHEN CHINEE ... Illustrated by Joseph Hull ... [envelope title]. Chicago: The Western News Company, 121 & 123 State St., 1870. Small quarto, nine lithographed cards enclosed in an original elaborately lithographed envelope. First printing of the first separate edition. Harte's poem first appeared as "Plain Language from Truthful James" in the September 1870 issue of the OVERLAND MONTHLY, an influential early California literary magazine edited by Harte. Born in Albany, N. Y., Francis Brett Harte (1838-1902), preeminently a man of the East, arrived in California in 1854 to join his widowed Mother who had moved there with a party of relatives and friends in 1853. In 1864, after a succession of jobs in Northern California: apothecary's assistant, teacher, private tutor, express messenger and typesetter, he moved to San Francisco where he "was connected with the GOLDEN ERA, first as a typesetter and later as an editor and contributor. In 1862 he was married. Two years later he was appointed Secretary of the California Mint, an office that allowed him abundant time for literary work. He was connected with Webb's brilliant and short-lived CALIFORNIAN, first as contributor and later as editor, and in 1868, when the OVERLAND MONTHLY, which was to be the ATLANTIC of Western America, was founded, he was made the editor. "The Luck of Roaring Camp" in the second number and "Plain Language from Truthful James" in the September, 1870, number, brought him a popularity that in suddenness and extent had had no precedent in America, save in the case of Mrs. Stowe and UNCLE TOM'S CABIN. The enormous applause intoxicated him; California became too narrow and provincial; and in 1871 he left it, joyous as one who is returning home after a long exile." - Pattee, A History of American Literature Since 1870, p. 67. BAL 7248 (printing 1). Merle Johnson, You Know These Lines!, pp. 71-75. First card a bit foxed, several cards cut slightly off center (as is usually the case; the cards were printed on a large sheet and then cut apart). The envelope is worn, foxed, missing its flap, and open on three sides. This set of cards is accompanied by another set of first printing cards, most of which are a bit tanned, which lacks the envelope. The set of cards with envelope is enclosed in a cloth folder and green crushed morocco slipcase which is worn at edges and has a faded spine panel. A classic of Western American literature. (#160995).
No statement of printing.